cover image Thunder from Jerusalem

Thunder from Jerusalem

Bodie Thoene / Author, Brock Thoene / Joint Author Viking Book

In this pulpy sequel to Jerusalem Vigil, the Thoenes provide a bit more intrigue and a bit less bathos, but continue to serve up the same jaw-dropping anti-Arab, pro-Israeli bias as before. This novel picks up when the first ended--in May 1948 Jerusalem, as Arab Muslims from varioius nations attempt to reclaim nascent Israel by way of several bloody yet unsuccessful offensives. Characters from the first novel return to fight for Jerusalem's Old City, and while they remain one-dimensional, the suspense builds as multiple cliff-hangers keep readers guessing about what they will do next and whether they will survive. A heroic Old City defender named Jacob, for example, cheats death repeatedly, though each of his action sequences seems like it could be his last. The Thoenes portray these Jewish-Arab battles, however, as an extension of the Nazi Holocaust; the Arabs here lust after Jewish blood while the Jews are morally above reproach and regularly protected by God and his angels. All other characters fit into one of these categories, depending on which side has their allegiance. A historical novel that takes a position is understandable, but one that canonizes the good guys and demonizes the bad guys as uniformly as this one does is heavy-handed in the extreme. These twin stereotypes, though, are the beating heart of the Thoenes' Jerusalem. Readers should look elsewhere for fiction that acknowledges and explores the gray, complicated areas of history. 100,000 first printing; 6-city author tour. (Oct.)