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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reading as a Youth

Last night I was helping my eight year old son with a book report for his third grade class. It reminded me of when I was in school and all those book reports they made me do. Well, you know what? I didn't read any of those books. I laugh at it now. I had no interest in reading any of the books they made us read. And even the times when the books were ones that students could choose...I didn't choose any.

As I think back on it now, I didn't have any interest in the Hardy Boys or any of the Middle Grade books that targeted my age group when I was in elementary school, nor did I have any interest in the Young Adult books that targeted high school students. I confess now that I only completed the assigned book reports from reading the cover flap copy.

I think I only read one book that was assigned in my entire formal education. CHILDHOOD's END. And I really didn't even like that book. I don't know why I read the whole thing. Probably because it seemed interesting while I read it, but the end, to me, was so-so. No big deal. So the human race joined with some eternal god-like force of which the devil-looking aliens couldn't be a part. Big deal.

I guess you might say that about any book. It depends on the reader.

As a youth, I did read some books on my own that weren't required, but I didn't do book reports on them. The ones that I remember are the H. G. Wells books. You know, War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, The Time Machine. Some Edgar Rice Burroughs books. But only a couple Tarzans. I already talked about the Custer book. That's the first book I think I read cover to cover.

It wasn't until I read Howard that I really took off on reading books. It was Robert E. Howard, really, who got me into reading books. HIS books.

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