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.



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fiction is Great, but Real Life has Plenty of Drama

I've been a fan of fiction novels, TV shows, and movies for a long time. Make no mistake, I enjoy fiction of all kinds. But I think I enjoy stories based in real life a little more. Like the movie, The Devil and the Darkness, about the two lions in Africa killing hundreds of people. And stories set in real historical times like the classic Last of the Mohicans, etc.

But you know what? We're living in some real history right now. ISIS or ISIL, or whatever you want to call it, is on the warpath, and it's been going on for a long time now. America and Russia, longtime rivals, have become allies to fight them. It's some heavy duty stuff going on.

It makes all the fictitious stuff insignificant. Yeah, I love my books, movies, and the stories on TV, but it's all fictitious and altogether insignificant. Well, wait a minute. One of my books is largely not fictitious. That would be my soon-to-be-published John Dunn book.

John Dunn was a real historical figure. He lived an adventurous life in South Africa during a really adventurous time. Back when the Zulus were still an independent nation, and when the colonies in Africa were still in their infancy.

John Dunn lived with the Zulus, and he married Zulu women, and had half Zulu children. He was a white Zulu. A Zulu chief, even, and the top advisor to the Zulu king, King Cetshwayo. They had attained a close friendship, so much so that Cetshwayo refused to go to his own coronation if John Dunn wasn't with him.

It so happened that Dunn's son was ill at the time, and Dunn chose instead to be with his son rather than go with Cetshwayo to his coronation. Cetshwayo understood the priority of being with a dying son, but without Dunn he would not go to his coronation. Think of the scale of this. Cetshwayo was going to be crowned KING! And he would not go without Dunn. Instead, he sent his best witchdoctor to Dunn's residence, and believe it or not, the Zulu witchdoctor managed to cure Dunn's son.

And this is all true. Cetshwayo was finally able to get crowned king with Dunn at his side. Again, it's all true and it's all in my book, John Dunn - Heart of a Zulu. Of course, there's a whole lot more. Like a Zulu civil war, which is where the book begins, and then the Anglo-Zulu War.

The book ends shortly after the conclusion of the Anglo-Zulu War, but that doesn't mean the adventures of John Dunn concluded. There was a lot of action after that, particularly another Zulu civil war. And then the rest, as they say, is history.

Yeah, that's one exciting story. A couple books have been written about it. Oliver Walker, 75 years ago, wrote two historical novels featuring the John Dunn story. I bought and read one of them. But it read like it was written 75 years ago. The prose is not as fluid as mine is, and I'm not trying to brag or put Walker down. It's just an older book, that's all, and out of print, too, btw.

I instilled a little more fiction in my John Dunn story than Walker did. For instance, I gave Catherine Pierce a larger role in my book. She was Dunn's first wife, his "great wife" but Dunn wrote next to nothing about her in his autobiography, which I own, and read cover to cover several times. But I made her a strong willed woman in my book, which I hope female readers can appreciate. Even though the side story with Catherine Pierce is fictitious, I made sure it didn't conflict with any of the real history that took place in that time.

For that, (the real history,) I used Dunn's autobiography as my main source, but I used the writings of Ian Knight and Donald Morris, too. Enthusiasts of the period know those names. And I'm pretty confident AZW enthusiasts can appreciate the book I've written. It will come out in 2016, and time is moving fast. Can't wait for the editing process to begin.

Stay tuned.

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