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.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Break from Killer Eyes

I am not going to pull the trigger yet on sending Killer Eyes to my publisher. I am waiting for a beta reader to read it through, and then I will read it through one more time myself. That's for the best, because every time I've submitted a manuscript in the past, I've found something in it I wanted to change, and that becomes annoying, both to me, and to the publisher.

Meanwhile, I'm finally back to work on my long John Dunn novel. It's over 120,000 words, and by far the longest book I've written. The hassle is that I wrote it before I learned all about the 3rd person limited POV, and like Killer of Killers, The Vase, and Killer Eyes, I have to go over the whole thing and make sure that all of those POV issues are fixed.

It wasn't so bad in the first three books, mainly because they weren't so long. Killer of Killers clocked in at about 89,000 words, The Vase is about 88,000 words, and Killer Eyes, after revisions, turned out to be about 95,000 words. So a 120,000 plus word manuscript is somewhat more challenging. And especially since there are a bunch of characters in it.

That is one of my traits in writing books--I have a lot of characters in them. To me, it makes the story more interesting. And the John Dunn story sure has a lot of characters! There's John Dunn, the main character, his wife Catherine Pierce, Theophilus Shepstone, the Natal Secretary for Native Affairs, who is the main antagonist in the story, there's Captain Joshua Walmsley, John's mentor, Captain Walmsley's wife, Maria, Sir Henry Francis Fynn, who knew the legendary Zulu king Shaka Zulu, and Anglican Bishop William Colenso.
Of course there's the story's current Zulu King Cetshwayo, his father King Mpande, his brother Dabulamanzi, and his half brother, Mbulazi, who he kills in the Zulu Civil War, other brothers of Cetshwayo, and a whole lot of other characters, including more white colonists, and more African natives, like Xegwana, John Dunn's head servant.

Many of the white characters include the British military men, such as Lord Chelmsford who led the British forces in the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879. And I include most of the major battles from that war in the story. So you've got the British soldiers, officers, and of course the Zulus who commanded the Zulu forces. Yes, it's a long story, and it's very in depth about that period. But mainly, it's about John Dunn and his experiences between the years 1853 and 1879. Back to work.

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