WRITING THE JERICHO TABLET
When I read a novel, be it Historical Fiction, or modern thriller (the two sorts of novels I read), I want to learn something at the same time that I'm being entertained. Consequently, when I write a novel, whether in Historical Fiction, or a modern thriller, my goals are the same, i.e. to inform the reader about many aspects of history, religion, and/or international affairs that they did not previously know. Therefore in THE JERICHO TABLET the reader will be introduced to a little ancient Near Eastern History, Religion, Linguistics, and Semitics, as well as modern spycraft (to an extent) and political intrigue, while hopefully being entertained.
A hundred years ago authors were expected to have an underlying "theme" to their novels, meaning that their story should have some sort of a "message" subliminal or otherwise, that underpinned the plot and/or story line. In other words, if you didn't have anything to say, then don't bother writing anything at all. Several decades ago the concept of "theme," or "message" became frowned up in literary culture (as well as in popular fiction). Particularly in popular fiction the purpose of writing a novel was strictly to entertain, to compete with Hollywood. If you could provide information on a "topic," while entertaining, then all to the good but no "preaching," or "messaging."
Recently, however, the line between "messaging," and "informing" has become blurred, and now reviewers in many quarters are giving extra points to authors whose works contain an underlying "message"--as long as that "message" fits the politically correct ideological leanings of reviewers and/or the "literary" crowd. In other words, its fine to "message" certain issues, but not so fine to "message" others.
While most novels I write are devoid of "message," I found it difficult to write this particular "political" thriller without being influenced by "politics." Thus, THE JERICHO TABLET goes against the grain of my usual offerings, while at the same time goes against the "politically correct" grain in that the underlying "themes" of the novel have to do with the dangers of totalitarianism, group-think, Socialism/Utopianism, political corruption, personality cult worship of political figures (no matter who they may be), and the corruption of the media and its Orwellian collusion with any and/or all of the above.
It is from that standpoint that the "moon god" cult described in this novel is actually a stand-in for the Utopian promises of Marxism and Socialism. In reality the ancient Near Eastern moon god religion was much more benign. I hereby offer my apologies to the ancient Babylonians and their Near Eastern colleagues for any distortions and/or liberties I have taken with their religious beliefs, but plotting necessities drove me to do it.
THE JERICHO TABLET is 332 pages long in its Trade Paperback edition published in August 2014. It is available through www.Amazon.com Kindle and Nook www.barnesandnoble.com versions are also available for $2.99