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


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.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fear the Walking Dead? I don't think so...

I had been enjoying the original Walking Dead series, and I was thinking the spinoff Fear the Walking Dead might be a good series to watch while waiting for the original to resume. But after seeing the first few episodes, I have concluded the writers must not be the same writers, since the plots of the episodes and the actions of the characters have been very poorly written by comparison.

Fear's main character, Travis, for example, beats someone to death, after it had been established that he was a kind and gentle soul, a high school English teacher, even, and a proponent of non-violence. Now, he's a berserker who beats a soldier to death with his bare hands. It took Rick, the main character in the original series, four years to reach that point, and Rick was a Deputy Sheriff who was involved in a shootout with criminals in the very first episode. And despite his constant and continuous confrontations with zombies and evil humans, it still took him near five years to reach the point that Travis reached by episode six of season one.

And the reason Travis beat the soldier to death with his bare hands was just as stupid. The soldier takes a shot at the daughter of a man who had tortured him, even though he had been romantically involved with the girl, and he had the man at gunpoint. In addition to that, the man had admitted to the soldier that he was a torturer in San Salvador, during the civil wars that occurred over there. So the soldier had every reason to shoot him. But instead he shoots the innocent daughter, who he had been kissing and hugging the episode before. But so as not to worry the audience it turns out he only winged the girl. She's only shot in the arm, so no real harm done, except for the fact that mild mannered Travis beats him to death with his bare hands. It made no sense.

Furthermore, the soldiers themselves are portrayed as cowardly, dastardly, and scummy, quick to abandon their duties and their posts, and quick to abandon each other. Still, I'll stick it out to the end, since the original resumes this coming Sunday. Here's to hoping the original will stay true to its original quality of character development and plots. We'll see.

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