Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?


A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart? The brilliant professor from Bethel University? Or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Heroes or No Heroes

I made a reference yesterday to my MC in my second novel, THE VASE. I said he wasn't really a hero. Well, maybe he is a hero in that story. What makes a hero? Does he have to fight insurmountable odds and achieve something that no one else had achieved? Or does he have to give his/her life for a cause that makes everything better for everyone else? Surely, those are things that define a hero.

But there's more to it, right? A hero might be something else. Maybe, like, a different kind of hero. Isn't a father who works his butt off to support his family through thick and thin, despite constant setbacks, and recurring disasters, also a hero? I think he is. A father who doesn't give up and throw in the towel when life deals him repeated bad cards? A father who provides for his son no matter what else happens?

This is a hero, imo. And that's the kind of hero my protagonist, Muhsin Muhabi is in THE VASE. He is a Palestinian, living in Israel, and he is a Ceramic Potter. It's a hard job, really. He depends on tourism to get by. That means he has to sell his vases, his pots, cisterns, and anything else he can spin on his throwing wheel.

But throughout his life, he has to deal with recurring wars, rebellions, uprisings, fanaticism, demonstrations, extremism, and all on both fronts...from the Israelis to the Palestinians, to the religious fundamentalists on both sides. And through it all...all he wants to do is support his family.

His eldest son is killed in one rebellion. His wife leaves him shortly thereafter, and he is a single father trying to make a life for himself and his younger son, who is now fourteen. The problem is that his first son was fourteen when he got involved with extremists and killed by the IDF. Will it happen again?

Yes, a father who is committed to his family...to his children, to his livelihood...this is a hero. Maybe not to you...or to me, personally. Maybe not to his country. But to the people who depend on him, he is a hero. And that applies to all fathers...and mothers...who stick by their kids...through thick and thin....no matter the circumstances...to be there...for keeps.

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