Today I am taking part in the blog tour for The Spy’s Gamble and have an extract for you. Many thanks to LoveBooksGroupTours for having me as part of this tour.
Blurb: When the Israeli Prime Minister boards a new stealth submarine in Norfolk, Virginia intending a celebratory ride and the sub vanishes, it sets in motion a suspenseful story that intertwines the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a story of what could be.
Shai Shaham—an Israeli intelligence officer—contacts old friend and adversary Ramzy Awwad—a former PLO intelligence officer and one of the great writers of his people—for help in locating the missing prime minister. But can they trust each other? Can their friendship withstand the turbulent political landscape?
Eli Bardin—an agent who is feeling the strain of being away from his wife and children for so long in the field—is also tasked to contact Ramzy for the help in finding the missing sub. It seems the Russian have great interest in the technology, and he must locate the prime minister…because losing him is a national calamity that threatens to upset a delicate political balance in the most terrifying ways.
Starkly depicting the excesses of both sides and moving through actual events, THE SPY’S GAMBLE relies on in-depth research to weave a thrilling tale of suspense of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
Khaled Fahmy sat at the far end of the bar in Washington, DC, listening to the two young men speaking Hebrew at the table behind him, wondering if they were soldiers. Though in civilian clothes they still looked military, maybe twenty, close-cropped hair, muscular beneath their short sleeved shirts despite the winter cold, two jackets casually tossed on an empty chair, one blonde, one dark haired. Fahmy had been born in 1992, the twenty-fifth year of the Israeli occupation of tFhe West Bank, not long before these Israeli boys, he guessed. He had known nothing other than heartache under Israeli military rule, a vice on the neck of their daily life. Next spring, June 10, 2017 would mark fifty years of the Israeli occupation.
“My Mashakit Tash got me a pass to go see my mother before we left,” the blonde Israeli said. “I’m completely crazy for her.”
Khaled knew each military unit had their own Mashakit tash, a girl social worker their age from the unit who underwent a few months training for the post. Each solider was assigned to one.
“She’s incredible,” the blond continued. “Those legs, tall. In tight, white Navy pants they go on forever, and you know exactly how they look when you pull off the pants.”
They dove into talking about girls. Khaled thought about his sister, Sumaya, dead at sixteen years old. Seeking the glory of martyrdom, she had thrust one of their mother’s old bent kitchen knives into a border guard at the Qalandia Checkpoint, a large crossing at the concrete and barbed wire topped Separation Wall between the West Bank and Jerusalem. Privately, Khaled thought she’d done it both for the cause and to escape the monotony and despair of the occupation.
Four hundred and forty miles long, the Separation Wall ran mostly along the Green Line, the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice border, but some Palestinian towns were nearly encircled, cut off from the rest of the Palestinian Territories. Called the “security fence” by Israelis, the wall went up in 2003 in response to three years of consistent suicide bombings. Widely touted as an impenetrable success, the Separation Wall kept few out. At night, even a few meters from Qalandia, Palestinians hoisted ladders, snipped the barbed wire at the crown and shimmied down ropes dropped twenty-five feet into Israel. They found work with corrupt Israeli builders who let them sleep on worksites and paid below minimum wages, still far better than the pervasive unemployment in the West Bank. The Israeli military did not even bother to repair the barbed wire, knowing how easily it would be cut again. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot estimated that fifty to sixty thousand West Bank Palestinians snuck into Israel each day. Fahmy believed the barrier was the long-persecuted Jews’ way of erasing their domination of the Palestinians; out of sight, out of mind.
The dark-haired Israeli was smiling at two college girls seated at the next table, both in towering high heel boots. The blonde with curls smiled back.
“It’s so free here,” the Israeli said in Hebrew to his mate. “Nobody checking bags at the door. Girls back home are so full of themselves, won’t even let you buy them a drink cause they know what you want.”
“It’s wonderful,” his friend said. “Same game but these American girls have fun playing it.”
The dark-haired soldier stood abruptly and walked over to the coeds’ table, his mate in tow. He stood over the curly blonde and spoke in heavily accented English. “Are you Jewish? Cause you is-raeli hot!”
She gave him half a smile. Across the table, her friend rolled her eyes. “I’ve heard about Israeli guys.”
“What did you hear of us?”
“That I should never do business with an Israeli.”
“Ah, maybe that is true but I promise you we are not in this bar for business.” Without asking, both noisily pulled out chairs, startling the curly blonde as they sat at their table.
The second Israeli called to the bartender. “We are buying these girls another what they’re drinking.” He turned to the girls. “My people invented circumcision; you’re welcome.”
Despite herself, the curly blonde laughed. Her friend lifted her half-full Scotch rocks and said, “Indeed, a very old procedure.” She drained her glass. “Which means I can see the results easily anywhere.”