The parallels are striking - two young men pursuing a dream only to have it crushed by forces outside their power to change, neither of them with the strength of character to see beyond that failure. Both of them finding meaning in a cause - and not just meaning - a way to strike out. To strike back.
You can argue that Taha, the young jihadist of the novel, had more reason to strike back - he suffered more than mental torture. All the same, they both strike me as brothers more to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Columbine than to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed or Anwar al-Awlaki.
I didn't dream that comparison up all by myself, of course, but when I heard it broached, something that didn't make sense before suddenly did.
An important difference is that this time we have a survivor among the perpetrators. I hope we don't kill him. I hope he lives long enough to be interviewed in about 25 years. I want to hear the story he might have to tell then.