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.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Popular Stories Abound

When considering what's become a hit in the novel, TV, and movie world, it seems the genres are quite diverse. Often the story becomes popular as a book, and then adapted into a movie or TV show. Even if the writing is suspect, as Stephen King suggested about Twilight, the story was popular enough as a book to become a series of movies. Ditto with Harry Potter, Maze Runner and now Hunger Games.

Interestingly, those novels were MG/YA. But one story was not MG/YA and became movies that even I liked a lot. I'm talking about the Jason Bourne franchise. They started as novels, became movies, and they were terrific. Heck, even the iconic James Bond movies had their start as novels back in the day.

But what does it take to become so popular? You would think the vampire genre was tired by now. What with all the Dracula movies and countless vampire spinoffs, like Dark Shadows, etc. but no. Twilight found an audience somehow, and so did the movies. Who would have guessed a boy wizard at a wizard school playing a type of wizard football game would be so popular? But it was. And what a cash cow it became for the author. I understand she's a billionaire now.

A movie about kids killing other kids, you would think would be a despicable concept. But no. Hunger Games became popular and now it's a movie chain, too. Really? A game where kids go kill other kids, with a video audience following the events. A rather degenerate idea, if you think about it.

But the Jason Bourne franchise--I'm on board with that one. A secret government organization training assassins to do the government's dirty work. No kids killing anyone. No kids getting killed. That's better. Kids should not be killing anyone, let alone other kids.

To me, it's always been about a great character. First and foremost. Then, of course a great story in which that great character can display his/her greatness. That's what made stories great. To me. James Bond was a great character. So was Conan. Captain Kirk. Then of course you have the superheroes, Bat Man, Superman, Spider-man, etc. Great characters in great stories.

Enter Trent Smith. Influenced, perhaps by the likes of Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, etc. A great martial artist in a great story. Read Killer of Killers. You'll see.

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