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.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Rogers' Rangers and the French & Indian War

Yesterday I mentioned a book cover that I saw when I was an eight-year-old boy, but it was a cover to a book that I couldn't remember the title. I only remembered that at the time I thought it was a great cover, so much so, that I remembered it even today more than forty years later. I also remembered that it had something to do with the French and Indian War, and I even thought it might have been The Last of the Mohicans, probably because that's the most famous novel that takes place during the French and Indian War.

So out of curiosity, I googled all book covers that were used for The Last of the Mohicans. None of the covers were the one that I remembered, but when I googled all novels that had anything to do with the French and Indian War, I found it! I recognized it immediately. It turned out to be the cover to a book called Rogers' Rangers and the French & Indian War, by Bradford Smith.

So who would remember that? Not an eight-year-old boy. But the cover? I never forgot it. Here it is, and as you can see, it's just as I described it, and I hadn't seen it for over forty years. There's the Frenchman, not dressed in a military uniform, just as I remembered him, and there's the Indian, and sure enough, he's the kind of Indian that could be Mohawk Indian, (the telling Mohawk hairdo is plainly depicted,) and it sure is a battle scene, and those two featured figures sure are attacking each other, just as I described.
Painting by John C. Wonsetler
The ONLY thing that is different from my description is that I said the Frenchman had a knife, and the Indian had a tomahawk. But as we can see now, it's the Indian with the knife and the Frenchman with the tomahawk. I don't blame myself for getting that wrong, as I think the error is understandable, since the tomahawk was supposed to be an Indian's weapon, and the knife, especially the one shown here is a European-made knife, but whatever.

Btw, let me say that since I didn't read the book, I realized that the guy I keep calling the Frenchman might actually be an Englishman, or maybe even an American. So I just googled Rogers' Rangers and found out that the men in Roger's Rangers were indeed Americans. According to Wikipedia, Roger's Rangers was "...a provincial company from the colony of New Hampshire, attached to the British Army."

But whatever. The bottom line is that this was a cover that made an impression. So much of an impression that it stood out in my memory, lasting the course of forty plus years. Now that's an impression. And most importantly, it made me pick it up off the shelves and take it home. I remember that I didn't get it read, but I loved the cover, and I still do.

The point is that making a lasting impression is what a book cover should do, and it's what I believe Killer of Killers does, and even The Vase. For Killer Eyes, I would like to see a similar cover to Killer of Killers, since it's the sequel, and for John Dunn, I'm thinking a painting influenced by this Roger's Rangers cover would be appropriate. Of course, instead of a Mohawk Indian, it will be a Zulu Impi, and instead of the Rogers' Ranger American, it would be John Dunn, who fought in, not just one, but two Zulu wars.

One thing that will be the same is the British soldiers. Just as it was the British fighting in the French and Indian War, it was the British fighting the Zulus, too. The Union Jack flag is plain in this painting, and I'll make it plain in the John Dunn cover, too, just like the red-coated soldiers.

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