While the book DOES feature an android built to be a Predator drone with arms, legs and an assault rifle who claims to be "inhabited" by Jesus of Nazareth, author Brandon Messerschmidt is quick to point out that the true nature of the machine is never revealed in his story.
"Yes, the prototype Darius does invoke the name Jesus Christ in my book," he explains. "But I've encountered plenty of whacky individuals in my life who have claimed to be everyone from Michael Jackson to The Pope himself -- claiming to be something doesn't count for much, does it?"
Still, the mere suggestion that The Christ returns to Earth in the form of a sentient robot bent on the judgment of mankind has not been taken lightly by those who live by The Word. Angrier yet at Messerschmidt are Muslim Imams, highly offended by the suggestion that a prophesized spiritual leader, whom they refer to as The Mahdi, rises out of a Holy Shrine in Mecca in the form of a well-known Jihadist.
"It wasn't very wise," Imam Zahi Beydoun explains. "We've seen what writings such as this did for Salman Rushdie... it's a wonder that someone would take such a chance in this day and age."
Salman Rushdie, of course, is the author who drew the ire of the Muslim world through his publication of "Satanic Verses" in 1989.
"There is a vast difference between what happens in my book and the incendiary words in Rushdie's work." Messerschmidt suggests. "Rushdie directly attacked many of the figures seen as sacred to Islam. He portrayed a brothel in which the prostitutes took the names of Muhammad’s wives, for example. That's a pretty sharp assault -- there's nothing anywhere near as offensive as that in Unholy Advent. Similar to the robot claiming to be Christ, there is nothing at all in my book that attempts to qualify the man who calls himself The Mahdi as a truly anointed figure. He believes he's been called upon to fulfill that role, and he manufactures the means through which to convince others of that fact."
Messerschmidt is also quick to point out that, while much of the conflict that arises in Unholy Advent centers on seizing control of the Temple Mount, the characters in his novel never cross certain forbidden lines. For example, at no time in his book does a non-Muslim set foot in The Dome Of The Rock.
"There is a fine line between telling a story and being entirely disrespectful."
Despite his assertions, the e-mail boxes of the author and his publisher, Valhalla Earthrise, have already started to fill with angry rhetoric and threats from those who believe Unholy Advent has gone too far. Some have called for the novel to be banned, others for sabotage of Smashwords.com and other websites who dare to pedal it.
"Well," Messerschmidt observed while reading through some of the hostile messages. "At least there won't be a book burning -- can't see anyone hurling their iPads into raging inferno!"
Unholy Advent: Deception Of The Christ and other novels by Brandon Messerschmidt can be purchased at http://www.smashwords.com/