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, December 3, 2015

More Shootings, More Guns

Another mass shooting yesterday. This is not a political blog, but I have come to a recent conclusion about my own beliefs regarding political topics. I hate guns. And even though I wrote the book Killer of Killers four years ago, it's interesting to me that the main character, Trent Smith, also hates guns.

Of course, being the world's greatest martial artist, a master of the world's deadliest art, Trent Smith doesn't need guns. He can kill anyone with a strike of his hand or fingers. He's an expert in the human nervous system and coronary system. He can kill, paralyze or disable anyone, or induce a slow death, whatever he chooses to do, which is usually what the person he's up against deserves.

You see, Trent Smith will only kill those who have been found guilty of murder, and then escaped justice. But those people will not escape Trent Smith.

I wonder if my own hatred of guns was a factor in making Trent Smith also hate guns. He will never use a gun. He will use a katana, however. In Book Two, Killer Eyes, Trent is up against countless Ci Ke killers who are armed with katanas, and Trent, being an expert in the use of a katana, has no qualms about picking up a katana and using it to defend himself against his katana-wielding adversaries. In fact, Trent is an expert with a variety of martial arts weapons used throughout the long and bloody history of Japan and China.

But never a gun. In the first book, Killer of Killers, Trent makes the statement, "Guns and knives, weapons of cowards." as he throws one of each out of a window. In Book Three, which I'm writing currently, Trent disarms another gun carrying villain, and while tossing the gun to the ground, he admits that he wishes guns had never been invented.

Well, I'm not saying that I wish that much, but I personally believe that either no one should be in possession of a gun, or everyone should be. Like in the days of the American West when every adult man walked around with a six-shooter on his hip. Did that prevent mass shootings? Not sure about that, because clearly there were a lot of shootings back then, what with Jesse James and the like running around. But at least people were able to shoot back. Unlike yesterday.

Look, I've got no solutions to the mass shooting epidemic here in America. I'll leave that to the politicians. That's their job. As for me? I'll keep on teaching art and writing books.

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