Q: You risk portraying the Israeli government as the bad guy. Are you worried about backlash?

A: Sure. The Eighth Scroll is a book of reality-based fiction. Every quote from the Dead Sea Scrolls and from the Old and New Testaments is real. Israel might consider these scriptural quotations and some of the book’s challenges to be off-putting, but I couldn’t change that without compromising historical fact and the sanctity of scripture. I couldn’t flip history and scripture around, stand them on their heads, and turn the main antagonist of the novel into, say, a Bolivian drug cartel. It would be absurd, dishonest and, worse yet, sacrilegious. So sure, I’m concerned. Take a look around and you’ll find that virtually everybody who portrays Israel in a bad light hits a brick wall in the publishing industry. I don’t know if I’m blacklisted, but I’m beginning to think I am. Too many readers and reviewers have told me The Eighth Scroll is better than The Da Vinci Code, but for reasons only the literary agents and publishers know, nobody accepts to represent it. My first publicist, Willy Spizeman, is a Jew. We got along well, he seems like a really nice guy. He loved the book, and told me everybody in his office loved it as well. He didn’t think there was any problem with political-correctness. But you never know what will rub Israel wrong, or just how far they might go to strike back at someone they don’t like or, worse yet, consider to be a threat.

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