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

THE VASE

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, April 30, 2014

Good Writing in Game of Thrones

I didn't start watching Game of Thrones when it first came out, but I started watching soon after, and I'm caught up by now. Like many people, I was angry over the death of Ned Stark in season one, even angrier over the so-called Red Wedding episode, and thought that the way Jon Snow's romance with Igret the Wildling turned out was ill planned.

But things do happen in real life that make you angry, so I can't say any of it was bad writing. Not at all. Not like DaVinc's Demons, which I maintain is very bad writing. No, it's good writing. But I also maintain that I don't want to watch a show that makes me feel lousy, and those maddening episodes did just that. But the story line is a good one. The show is remarkably well produced, and the characters are  interesting, so much so that you want to see what happens next, and that's good writing.

And that will keep me watching. It's refreshing to see a character that doestn' fit any of the stereotypes be such a great character like the dwarf Tyrion.  He has become a fan favorite and with good reason. He's not tall, not particularly handsome, and is hated by his own father and sister. Only his brother Jamie seems to appreciate him, and Jamie is another interesting character. At first he was a hated villain. But after the crippling loss of his right hand, his sword hand, he is slowly becoming a character with whom the audience can empathize. In other words, he is becoming a good guy. And that's good writing. Because people evolve. People do change, and when a character can change from bad to good, there is believability there.

I know it's not the first time characters have changed from bad to good, but it's refreshing to me to see it when it happens. And it's happening in Game of Thrones. And the way it happens is good writing. And I'll keep watching. It's an epic story. And a good one.

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