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, March 7, 2016

Revisiting Heart of a Zulu

While awaiting the edits of Second Chance, and Heart of a Zulu, I'm revisiting some of the elements in Heart of a Zulu, because there are some things I think I should polish up. One is the use of a telescopic rifle sight. John Dunn, in his notes, never said he used one. But he was known as the best shot in South Africa, and the best hunter, so in my book, he is able to hit targets from great distances. So far in fact, that I think I'd better have him using a scope, otherwise, the shots he makes may not be believable.

So I added a part where he gets a scope as a gift from a British officer in Durban. It's true that Dunn had many friends in the British military, especially the officers who went hunting often with Dunn as their guide. There is one event, relayed by Dunn in his notes, where a Captain Watson was mauled by a lion, and Dunn saved his life by killing the lion and tending to the captain's wounds. I figured that would be a good opportunity for Watson to express his gratitude by giving Dunn a scope, which was invented about a dozen years earlier by a British colonel in the Crimean War.

Another element in the story I added was the fact that Theophilus Shepstone was actually knighted by Queen Victoria in 1876. I did have Shepstone referred to as Sir Theophilus, but I didn't have the moment specified when he was knighted. Now I do.

Little things like that make a novel better. It's good to have the details and it's good to have how, where, and when the details came about. Now, my John Dunn book has all of that. Can't wait for it to be published. It's better than ever.

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