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February 17 , 2010




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Vientiane, 1960. Laos is a sleepy post-colonial backwater, run by generals and at war with the communist Pathet Lao in the north. Corsican gangsters, left behind after the French departure five years before, run the opium trade, flying raw opium out of the mountains to Bangkok and Saigon.The most celebrated of the milieu is Rocco Bonaventure,…

The story of how Palestine became Israel



And Rishou Hass’an thought: How many more sons must I bury?

Every father on both sides of the divide are now thinking the same thing; the United Nations votes for partition, giving the Jews their own state for the first time since the time of the Romans. But in reality it just means all out war, with the armies of Egypt And Syria and Jordan mass on the borders just waiting for the British to leave.

But even now, nothing is simple, as Jew turns against Jew and Arab turns against Arab. As the Jews prepare to defend the Old City they have to war with the Hassidim who just want them to leave; in Rab’allah old Zayyad Hass’an finds one of the Arab mercenary commanders raping his wife.

Some men still speak for peace; men like Rishou Hass’an. But how can you speak for peace when the Jews raze your village and you come home to find your wife and your children in bloody tatters in the ruins of your house?

And so the apocalypse looms, with the fight for the ancient shrines of Jerusalem the final battleground. Rishou’s Jewish lover huddles behind the rubble of a synagogue, prepared to fight to the death; so does Netanel Rosenberg, hoping for a noble to death to release him from the memories of all he did to survive Auschwitz.

In the end we all become what we hate. As Jerusalem falls and the battle for Israel enters its final days, both sides fight for a peace that may never come. But still they hope to find hope for the future in a land soaked by the blood of the past.

Israel is the last book in the Jerusalem series, telling the story of the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948. It is told from the points of view of the Arabs and the Jews, the scenes behind the acts of fury you see every night on the evening news.


Colin Falconer is the best selling author of ANASTASIA and the OPIUM series and fifteen other best selling novels. His books have been translated into eighteen languages.

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