Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Character: Udi Zahavi

The first of an occasional series of blogs, from the point of view of characters in the work in progress:


There's a passage from Proverbs that defines my purpose: "Without guidance do a people fall, and deliverance is in a multitude of counsellors." You might be thinking that makes me a man of the faith, but that's not the case. That passage is the mission statement of my agency. I'm the director of Mossad.

I was born in Israel to a life of duty. My father's father came here when our people were marginalized, when we had no country of our own. My mother came after the War. After the Shoah. Her entire family was wiped out in the Holocaust, one small fragment of so many others killed at the whim of the Nazis. She survived only because she was hidden. I've lived all my life with the stories of what happens when we become a target of those who hate us. I've grown up with the sensation of living under siege.

For most of my life, my country has had to deal with tense relations with its neighbors. At one point or another, we've fought them, and fought them well. We've dealt with violence in our own borders, from people who'd like nothing more then to see us wiped off the face of the earth. We've lived with being threatened since we founded the nation. Since long before that.

My faith, whatever it might be, is in my duty to my country. I've risen through the ranks of the Mossad to the top. It's meant doing whatever it takes to protect my country, my people. That's my calling. If that means a certain ruthlessness, so be it. Living with suicide bombers and mullahs who'd like to annihilate us sometimes requires a degree of ruthlessness.

Which is why it's a strange thing for a man like me to trust a Palestinian president. The old fool who once ran the PLO could only be trusted to be a source of constant trouble. Even towards the end of his life, he was still at it. Yousuf Touqan is another matter altogether. He wanted peace. He wanted us all to live as neighbors, in peace and prosperity. A two state solution. He could have made it work.

Now he's dead.

He was gunned down while in England last night. A terrorist group I know of all too well has claimed responsibility. They call themselves the Covenant. For eight years, they've been causing no end of trouble for my agency, for my country. And for people beyond our borders. They strike at Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs alike. They're like ghosts, hitting us from the shadows and slipping back into the darkness.

I can feel the unrest building up already. Plenty of people in the West Bank will be blaming us for the assassination. There'll be hell to pay... that's certain. I'm sending one of my agents to England to coordinate with the investigation there. I can only hope they find a lead. These bastards have to be stopped. God knows what they have in mind next....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Anarchist

"Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." -Alfred, The Dark Knight

Very fitting words for today. There's a character who's slowly been building up in my mind as of late, a character who would like nothing more then to watch the world burn. This particular individual can be described as ruthless, sadistic, malevolent, nefarious, relentless, and vile.

No, not him.

Not him either. I'm not referring to a crazy cult member with a big ego.

No! This character's not an idiot!

Okay, slightly smarter then the last one, but like I said... not an idiot.

I said vile and malevolent, not desperate, clingy, and needing attention from paparazzi.

Okay, that's much closer, but not quite right yet....

Will you start taking this seriously?

Not him either!


Okay, now that I've got that out of the way.... it's not any of them.

One of the good things about writing in a series is laying the groundwork for future books. I've introduced the terrorist Cain Reilly that way. He'll turn up again in book three. I've also brought in my version of the Iranian President, who like his real life counterpart is a real piece of work, and down the line as I go along will continue to stir up trouble. And I'm planning on introducing a pope as the Very Bad Thing leads to a lot of Very Bad Trouble (trademark pending) in the Middle East. Unlike his real life counterpart, my fictional pope will be progressive and forward thinking. Pope Benny would find that offensive. My Pope, however, will come back again in future works.

The character who's been gradually forming in my mind as of late is an anarchist. I don't have a name, or a codename. I don't even know if this one will be a man or a woman. I think that he or she should be eastern European, perhaps Yugoslavian. It would give me an excuse to explore Croatia, which from what I've seen has an incredible beauty to it.

Anarchy continues to thrive around us. Some days ago, an anarchist group was credited with the bombings in Italy. In its classic meaning, a group that seeks the removal of any government system can be a very nasty wild card in the world that I write in. And that's the character currently in formation. He wants to watch the world burn.

Obviously I can't really fit him into Heaven & Hell, what with not even having a name or a final decision on gender as of yet. The most I can do is make reference to an act committed by the anarchist, even just a line or two. And then I can gradually develop him over time, have him appear from the shadows from time to time in future books, until I can place him into the role of primary antagonist.

One thing's for sure: I won't have to worry about writing him sympathetically.