'The story of how Palestine became Israel
'‘Rishou Hass'an had decided it was impossible to pick apples all day with a permanent erection …’
'Palestine, 1933. The centuries old rhythms of sleepy Rab’allah have been disturbed by the building of a Jewish kibbutz on the swamp in the valley below the village. The Jews are the future, the twentieth century. The Jews are the enemy. The Jews are their new neighbors.
'The Jews, in the shape of Sarah Landauer are also beautiful, tempting - and a direct challenge to the way the men of Rab’allah have always lived.
'Zayyad Hass’an, Rishou’s father and muktar of the village, can see the future and it fills him with dread. On one side the Jews; on the other, the Britishers and the Arab muftis in Jerusalem, who don’t give a damn about them either. His son, Wagil wants to rise up and fight for Islam. But what is Islam? What is Palestine? And where will the fighting lead them?
'Far away in Europe, another father faces the same impossible dilemmas as Zayyad. Josef Rosenberg has been a respected, even beloved, man in Ravenswald. But he is also Jewish.
'As the Nazis take a hold in his homeland, he watches with despair as his only son falls in love with a German girl. Once he would have objected that his son was finding a match beneath him; now it is his son who battles prejudice of quite another kind.
'Two fathers; two sons; two very different women. A world about to convulse into war. How can they protect all they know and love from the cataclysm to come?
'From the snow-hushed winter streets of Nazi Bavaria, to the burned hills of Palestine, from the Alte Post to the Al-Aqsa, the Dome of the Rock, romance and terror collide in a novel of forbidden loves and ancient hatreds.
'This is the first book in the Jerusalem series, tracing the roots of the Jewish-Arab conflict in the Middle East, from the exodus from Nazi Germany to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. It is the story behind the scenes that you see every night on the evening news. ' (Publication summary)