The Rhythm Section
Mark Burnell
Contributed by Elene Blackwelder
Chapter 29

About ninety minutes after Petra boards Flight BA283 to New York, the plane is hijacked by Reza Mohammed and his accomplices. However, she has devised a plan to counteract the attack by using the information she gathered from Serra. After the plane is taken over, she speaks to Reza and asks him about his involvement in the plane crash that killed Stephanie’s parents and siblings. Mohammed confirms that he executed the plan that ultimately resulted in the plane crash. Thereafter, when Reza summons Petra to enquire about Yousef and Mirqas’s absence, she steals Serra’s hard disk from his coat pocket and finds out that Serra planned to kill four thousand people by crashing aircrafts in the middle of populated cities. Although the hijackers have taken control of BA283 in order to demand the release of their leader,Sheikh Abdul Kamal Qassam, they also fully intend on killing the four thousand people through separate flight bombings, as a sign of retaliation for his imprisonment.          


This chapter relays a suspenseful mood to the readers as they wonder whether Petra will succeed in halting the hijacking. Petra’s anxiety is also shown when she says “[t]hese people were her family, they were Martin Douglas, they were her”. This statement also emphasizes the fact that she must avenge the victims of the initial plane crash by preventing another attack from happening (Burnell, 264). This chapter shows that Reza’s intention for orchestrating the plane hijack are not entirely based around religion when he says, “If I die, it will not be in the name of Islam. It will not be for the glory of Allah the Avenger” (Burnell, 260). This was also highlighted by Alexander when he told Petra that terrorists were afraid of fitting into the modern world, and only commit their heinous acts out of spite and the need to create fear.

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