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, October 14, 2014

Dracula Untold-a Different Take

Took my sons to see Dracula Untold last weekend, and we liked it well enough. It was a different kind of Dracula movie, the kind that I wanted to see, too. It dealt with Dracula's origin, back in the Vlad the Impaler days. Don't remember the years, exactly, but it was when the Ottoman Empire was at its height, and was threatening Eastern Europe. Of course, as we all know, the Ottoman advance was stopped at Vienna, and the Turks were never able to conquer Europe. Kudos to Europe.

Dracula Untold focused on Vlad's story, but of course, fictionalized to include the vampire element. In Dracula Untold, the Romanians, being a smaller and weaker European country, and being in close proximity to Turkey, were subject to paying tribute to the Turks, and even providing the Turks with boys to be trained as soldiers to fight for the Turks. And this is the crux of the story. When one of those boys was Vlad's own son, that was when he drew the line.

Now from what I know of history, Vlad the Impaler got his nickname from impaling Turks. I read a story of how the Turks were marching on Vlad's domain, but when they came across a "forest" of their impaled countrymen, they were so grossed out, they changed their minds and turned around. In this movie, it was Vlad's vampire powers, that won the day. I don't mind the fictionalized account. It's a movie. A vampire movie. So what do you expect? Vampires, of course.

But it was a unique angle on the vampire myth, and even though this angle, (going back to the Vlad the Impaler days) was touched on before with Gary Oldman in the lead role, this movie focused on that period for the entire story, (until the last couple minutes, anyway.) Which was fine by me. I would like to see a historically accurate movie based on Vlad the Impaler. Without the vampire element I mean. That would be a cool historical drama, no?

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