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, February 23, 2017

The Preface to John Dunn Heart of a Zulu

As I said I would do in yesterday's blog post, I have cut and pasted the Preface to my soon to be released book John Dunn Heart of a Zulu. A Preface is supposed to pique curiosity in a potential reader. I hope it succeeds. I think it will be a couple months before the book comes out. I'll have a better idea on that when my publisher sends the new publishing schedule on Monday. So without further ado, here it is, the Preface to my upcoming book, John Dunn; Heart of a Zulu:


Preface
      It was a 1990’s documentary about the Anglo-Zulu War in which I first heard of John Dunn. I was intrigued to learn about a white man who was born in Africa, lived with the natives, and advised a Zulu king. And the more I learned, the more his fantastic story struck me like an African version of an epic tale from the American West.
      Fictitious stories of a white man living with Native Americans have been featured in Hollywood movies for years. Little Big Man, A Man Called Horse, and Dances with Wolves come to mind. Although John Dunn: Heart of a Zulu is a work of historical fiction, most of the events in the story are true, and I believe the overall storyline captures the essence of who John Dunn was and what he experienced in the years between 1856 and 1879.
      During that time period there were two Ondini kraals in Zululand. The original Ondini kraal was located near the coast at Hlalangubo. The royal kraal at Ulundi, which Cetshwayo built after his coronation, was also called Ondini. It was located within sight of Nodwengo on the Mhlabatini Plain. Because portions of the story take place in each—and to distinguish one from the other—I opted to retain the Ondini name for the original Ondini kraal near the coast and use the name Ulundi for the royal kraal on the Mhlabatini Plain.
      I used Zulu words frequently in the story, which brings me to the issue of spelling. During my research, I discovered that different literary sources contained different spelling of Zulu words and Zulu names. In fact, almost every Zulu word and Zulu name I encountered had been spelled differently in different texts, books, and online material. For this reason I included a glossary in which I listed the isiZulu nouns used in the story. I did not include proper nouns on this list. I did, however, include a separate list of the historical characters—British, Zulus, and colonists—who play important roles in the story.
      As the primary source in the writing of this story, I used John Dunn’s autobiography John Dunn, Cetywayo, and the Three Generals as edited by D. C. F. Moodie. As a secondary source, I used Cetshwayo’s notes from A Zulu King Speaks as edited by C. de B. Webb and J. B. Wright. I also referenced Zulu Rising; The Epic Story of iSandlwana and Rorke’s Drift by Ian Knight, Who’s Who in the Anglo-Zulu War 1879 Volume 1: The British and Volume 2: Colonials and Zulus by Adrian Greaves and Ian Knight, The Washing of the Spears by Donald R. Morris, Like Lions They Fought by Robert B. Edgerton, The Zulu War by Angus McBride, and Charles Ballard’s thesis on John Dunn, (courtesy of the local History Museum, Durban.)
      My objective in the writing of this book is singular: to entertain the reader. Thus, this work should not be used for research purposes or as source material for any historical information on the period or the people included therein.

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