A deeply political novel that tackles the long history of struggle in Israel.

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Hiramic Brotherhood of the Third Temple

A debut work that dramatizes the state of Israel and the plight of the Palestinians.

Hanna’s complex, densely written novel puts a light layer of fiction over what’s essentially an extended history of the modern state of Israel and a condemnation of that country’s government. The book presents readers with characters such as Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist Michal Zeldin, who tries to stand against what he calls Israel’s “unethical use of archeology,” reiterating the novel’s frequent claims that Israel has no documented historical claim to any of the territory it occupies; and investigative journalist David Reisner, who’s looking into the titular Hiramic Brotherhood, a secret society within the ranks of Israel’s Masonic community. The Brotherhood seeks to illegally tunnel beneath East Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, in order to build a Third Temple on one of Islam’s holiest sites. Along the way, characters talk about the Illuminati and the Freemasons, and there are tantalizing feints at a thriller-style plot. As the novel goes on, Hanna also details the long, complicated history of the Zionist cause, especially its present form in the 20th century. He takes his readers through two world wars and many other national disruptions. But the book’s main emphasis is on facts, not fiction: Hanna is intent on laying out a case against Israel, against the powerful special interest lobby called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and against a media which is “serving the interests of the Anglo-Zionist Political Corporate Military Industrial Empire.” Indeed, the book’s final 100 pages comprise detailed accounts of the region from 2009 to 2013. As a result, the thriller elements likely won’t be the reason why readers keep turning pages. They’ll more likely be interested in the book’s dissection of Israeli policies, and what the author sees as a continuous annulment of Palestinian civil rights. Some of the book’s contempt for current politicians and world leaders can be off-puttingly raw (such as a reference to “Barack ‘Uncle Tom’ Obama”). However, the bulk of the book makes a readable argument.

A deeply political novel that tackles the long history of struggle in Israel.

Pub Date: May 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1909425910

Page Count: 504

Publisher: Spiffing Covers

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2014

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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