Harper, Associated Press
In this book cover image released by Harper, "The Mirage," by Matt Ruff, is shown.

"The Mirage" (Harper), by Matt Ruff: An alternate history of the events surrounding 9/11 creates a unique and compelling read in Matt Ruff's "The Mirage."

In this parallel world eerily similar to ours, Christian fundamentalists hijack four planes on Nov. 9, 2001, and crash two of them into the Tigris and Euphrates World Trade Towers. The United Arab States declares war on terror, and the first attack is on the Christian States of America.

Years later, Arab Homeland Security agent Mustafa al Baghdadi captures a suspected terrorist. The interrogation unveils a bizarre secret that Mustafa cannot believe: The world is nothing but a mirage, and he sees proof in a newspaper hidden away in the suspect's apartment.

The New York Times dated Sept. 12, 2001, shows planes hitting buildings in New York City, and the hijackers are from the Middle East.

The cast of characters is vast, and players known to almost everyone have key and rather surprising roles in Ruff's alternate scenario.

Even though the history isn't real or accurate, the juxtaposition of realities provides keen insight into the real world.

The reader will have many questions during and after the book is finished. Though Ruff doesn't provide all the answers, the journey is worth taking.

This mirage is almost too real.