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, March 19, 2014

Black Sails-Another Hit Show

The STARZ channel on premium TV is on a roll. I enjoyed the Spartacus series, and now I'm watching Black Sails. And I like it. It's a pirate show. But it's nothing like Pirates of the Caribbean. It's not a silly comedy, with goofy characters. It's a heavy drama with an interesting story line.

One of the things that make me like a show is the casting. Do the actors fit their roles? Do they make you believe they can do the things that they are doing on screen? And are the characters themselves believable? Do you even care about them? (And I'm always on the look out for actors and actresses who might be perfect for the roles in my books, Killer of Killers and The Vase!)

In Black Sails, the answer is yes to all of the above.

Black Sails really doesn't focus on just one or even two characters. It has several main characters, and perhaps the two top ones are the two pirate captains, Flint and Vane. And both are played by actors who make them believable.

Captain Flint, played by Toby Stephens, is a ruthless captain, but he is highly intelligent, a former British naval officer, who fell from grace in British High Society, and is now a pirate captain. All believable. A captain of a ship must be sea-wise, must know how to navigate, and how to control a crew. Being a former British Navy man, Flint qualifies in all of those categories.

And Toby Stephens looks the part. He is tall and strong looking, and he looks like a highly intelligent man. His eyes are sharp, his delivery crisp, and his persona exudes "captain" from every pore. Toby Stephens could play the role of a captain on any ship, be it a pirate ship, a British or American Naval warship, or even a starship in a sci-fi show!

Zach McGowan

And the other captain? Captain Vane seems to be the opposite of Flint. In the first season, which just wrapped up, (unfortunately, only 8 episodes) we haven't learned quite so much about Vane. In tidbits we've learned that he's risen up from a childhood captivity, some kind of island controlled by a former pirate captain, to become a captain himself. But it doesn't explain how he learned all of his sea-worthy skills, like we learned about with Flint.

Nevertheless, the actor who plays Captain Vane, Zach McGowan, is perfect for the part. That's because he also exudes the look of a pirate captain, or any captain on any ship. And there's something about his persona that sets him apart from everyone else. Some kind of internal thing, which I don't think I can describe. Zach McGowan just has it, whatever that is. I'm thinking he could even rival Dustin Clare for the role of Trent Smith in my book Killer of Killers.

Hannah New

And if he could play Trent Smith, what about Samantha Jones, the beautiful blond police detective? Well Black Sails has a beautiful blond actress in it that could rival Amber Heard for the part. Her name is Hannah New, and in Black Sails she plays Eleanor Guthrie, the daughter of the pirate island kingpin. She could very well handle the role of Samantha Jones.

But I'll hold off on that one. I'll wait for season 2, and with great anticipation. Don't know when that will be, but when it comes out, I'll be watching.

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