It was 2003 and I had a big New York agent representing a work of fiction I’d written, a long novel about living in the age of global terrorism. It was supposed to be my debut. But you could sense the fear of the publishing establishment. Why take a risk on a first-time novelist writing about a future attack on an American city—at precisely the moment when the country was preparing for an endless war? And who the hell is John Tessitore?