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, January 2, 2017

Finally Resubmitted John Dunn

Over the last three months I have dedicated most of my time to perfecting the John Dunn manuscript. I think I did a good job of it. I found some typos, but mostly I made corrections in continuity, regarding distances, and time it would take to travel those distances in the 19th century, and using proper wording relevant to the time.

For instance, I had been using the word Bantu for when the indigenous people of the South African region referred to each other, when from different tribes. I used that word because it was the word Donald Morris used in his book The Washing of the Spears. The natives of the area certainly didn't call themselves natives, or blacks, or Africans. Those were the words used by the Europeans or the colonists. Another word the colonists used was Kaffir. But that word was more of a demeaning word. Not as bad as the N word here in America, but still not a complimentary word. And the indigenous people didn't use that word to refer to other indigenous people.

With some research, I learned Bantu came from the word Ntu which meant man in the native African languages, and the prefix Ba was the way the word became plural. (Men.) But with further research I also learned that the South African blacks actually take offense to being called a Bantu. So I decided to go instead with the other word used to refer to the indigenous peoples of South Africa. Nguni. With research I learned that Nguni refers to all the peoples of all the different tribes in South Africa, and it had no negative connotation as did the word Bantu.

So there you go. I replaced all words Bantu with the word Nguni for that reason. Of course I changed a lot of other things, too. Mostly the prose. I made the prose better everywhere, which is a natural result when you reread a manuscript. And the map I illustrated is better than ever. It now has Stanger in there when it didn't before. I only mention Stanger twice in the manuscript, but since the map did have the area represented where Stanger is located, there was no reason not to include it.

So Dana of Knox Robinson, my publisher, will be back on the job tomorrow, as will I at my school, and I look forward to her editing and publishing the book. A lot of people are waiting on it, including some very important people who are authorities on the topic. And I have been fortunate enough to have acquired their endorsements. Can't wait for John Dunn to be published. Should be soon.

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