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.



Monday, June 9, 2014

Killer Eyes--A lot of Swordplay

My debut novel, Killer of Killers features the world's greatest martial artist. If you've ever taken a martial arts class, it's likely that you learned to use more than just your bare hands. Yes, martial arts classes are self-defense classes that train you how to defend yourself without weapons. And that's as it should be. For Trent Smith, empty hands is his preferred method of fighting.

Martial arts classes, however, also teach you how to use the traditional weapons used in Asian fighting. And there's a lot of them. But one of the more popular weapons of that sort, at least in Japan, is the katana, also known as the Samurai sword. And the katana is still popular today. Mostly in movies, I suppose, since people don't go around carrying katanas much.

In Killer of Killers, not once does Trent Smith use a katana or any other weapon, In fact, he refers to guns and knives as "weapons of cowards." But when confronted by dozens of ninja like warriors, and all of them carrying katanas, your empty hands put you at a disadvantage. So Trent is forced to use a katana to defend himself against the sword carrying villains.

And as I continue to revise Killer Eyes, which I was doing a lot over the weekend, I see Trent using a katana quite a bit in that story. Which is a stark contrast to the first story, where he never used a sword or any other kind of weapon at all. I deliberately refrain from calling the swords katanas, however. And that's because the horde of swordsmen using them are not Japanese. They are the Chinese equivalent. My research has divulged the Chinese equivalent to Ninjas are the Ci Ke. In Chinese, that simply means assassins. (That's essentially what ninjas are, so it makes sense.)

But there's a lot more to the story than a bunch of ninja-like warriors out to get Trent Smith. There's that pesky wonder drug that centered the first story, there's the titanic bodyguards who protect the reclusive billionaire who funded its invention, and there's that slippery antagonist Karl Manoukian again. Yep, it's a fast paced thrill ride that picks up right where Killer of Killers left off. Killer Eyes will be published soon. I'll keep you advised.

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