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 15, 2014

Ci Ke--Chinese Ninjas--Nanking Holocaust

When I came up with the Killers Guild in my upcoming book Killer Eyes, I decided that it wouldn't be just a group of specialized assassins, but a group of specialized assassins that use ninjas. But they're not ninjas, because ninjas are Japanese. And since the Killers Guild is based in China, I had to use what would essentially be Chinese ninjas. But ninjas are Japanese. From researching this, I found that the Chinese equivalent are Ci Ke. That pretty much just means assassins in Mandarin. So that's what I call them.

And these Ci Ke assassins are trained in China, recruited from the vast population for which China is well known. Which means there is no shortage of them. But it all has a history beginning with Nanking. As I was talking about yesterday, Nanking was the Asian holocaust that took place during World War II. Japanese troops murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians there. And to this day, it stands as one of history's worst massacres of a civilian population.

I wrote a subplot in Killer Eyes that directly relates to that. This Killers Guild, for example. They started out as Ci Ke, who were used during WWII to fight Japanese occupation in the Chinese mainland. They evolved to The Killers Guild after the war. They hunted down the Japanese soldiers who took part in that holocaust. But many of them fled to other countries, so the Killers Guild evolved into a group of international assassins who hunted them down. Sounds like Jewish Nazi hunters, right? Well, yeah. But my argument is if Jews can do it, why can't the Chinese? Answer: They can, and they do.

But what happens when they've killed them all? Then what? They are professional killers. So they keep on killing. They become killers for hire. And in Killer Eyes, the person they are hired to kill just happens to be Trent Smith, perhaps the most skilled killer in existence. Do they find themselves outmatched? I'd say so. Except one of them. Their leader, Ming Sang. Oh, but I can't give away too much. Maybe I have already. Look for Killer Eyes soon. But you'll have to read Killer of Killers first. It's Part One of the story after all. Get your copy today.

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