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.



Monday, February 8, 2016

Defense Wins Championships

I watched the super bowl yesterday, but I had no stake in it. I have no affiliation with either team. I've never liked the Denver Broncos, and I had no reason to like the Carolina Panthers. So it didn't matter to me who won. It was nice to see Peyton Manning win his final game, especially since that final game was a super bowl. But was it his final game? Many sportswriters are saying it should be. And I agree with them. If you want to go out on top, and I suppose most professional athletes do, then he has the opportunity to right now. Just as John Elway did.

But it wasn't a game in which Manning excelled. He didn't have an MVP game. The award went to Von Miller, and rightly so. Miller and the Denver defense proved that it's defense that wins championships. This has been proven over and over again. In fact, it's a repeated cliche by now. Defense wins championships. The Panthers had the league's top scoring offense this past season, and many people were on their boat. Even I was thinking that after a 15-1 regular season, the best record in the league, it was Carolina's year. But in the back of my mind, I was reminding myself that Denver did in fact have the league's no. 1 defense, and  the old cliche was ever present.

Two years ago, Denver and Peyton had a record setting offensive year. But Seattle had the league's best defense, and subsequently Seattle blew Denver out of the water. It wasn't even close. This year the best defense belonged to Denver, and so a Denver win was the result.

So the cliche is alive and well. Defense wins championships. And every team should know that by now. If anyone doubted it, they shouldn't anymore. Defense wins championships. Period.

And speaking of defense. The main character in my soon to be released football novel, Second Chance, just happens to play defense. And they win the championship. Watch for Second Chance coming this summer.

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