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Silver Travel Book Club - Book of the Month - July 2018

Andrew mentions the Shatila stories, I interweave history and fiction meaning I move fictional characters through real events and you’ll find my rendering of the Sabra and Shatila massacres in my novel, BULLETS OF PALESTINE, available on Amazon and everywhere eBooks pop up.

Los Angeles

HI, maybe this will be of interest. When my American publisher bought The Damascus Cover, which ultimately Hodder and Stoughton bought for the UK release, he handed me a novel called Harry’s Game by a British author, Gerald Seymour. it was about the sites and smells and locales of Northern Ireland. He said, “Do this with Damascus.” So I greatly endeavored too, wrote the Syrian Ministry of tourism, they sent me a huge map which I hung on my wall and then because the English seem to have gone everywhere and written memoirs about it, I searched for books on Damascus and learned the city, as I’d been there but only briefly. Here are a few reviews in that regard.

Los Angeles Times
“In the best tradition of the new espionage novel. Kaplan’s grasp of history and scene creates a genuine reality. He seems to know every back alley of Damascus and Cyprus.”

Chattanooga Times
“Stunning…A novel that adds a new dimension to modern spy stories.”

American Library Association (starred review)
“A mission inside Syria, a last love affair, and the unfolding of a plot within a plot are handled by the author with skill and a sure sense of the dramatic.”

BBC News
“The plotting is beautiful.”

Chicago Daily News
“Exceedingly rich in color about the Syrian capital.”

Hope you enjoy and feel free to ask any questions, I’ll check in every few days.

Los Angeles

Thanks @Cruzeroqueen1 and @Sologirl for your evocative memories of Middle East travel experiences.

@NedtheRed – what a fascinating story about your time in this perennially volatile region. It sounds like The Damascus Cover is right up your adventurous street!

And huge thanks to the author @HowardK for posting that link to a frankly scary story about your run-in with the KGB.

Middle Eastern stamps are sadly lacking on my own passport. But apart from The Damascus Cover, I’m also reading the remarkable Shatila Stories https://www.peirenepress.com/shop/books/shatila-stories/ at the moment, written by nine refugees who have fled conflicts and ended up in the notorious Shatila Camp in Beirut. Both books are inspiring me to understand more about the area, and to travel there.


Los Angeles
Los Angeles

1982, Falklands War is over and we are heading home on a large grey assault ship. Redirected just north of Ascension Island to head east rather than north and home for Christmas. Situation, yet another crisis in the Middle East, my fourth. We were based, mostly, close to the coast of Cyprus but ready to, and indeed it became necessary to, extract both British and American Marines from the Levant, notably The Lebanon. I was tasked with investigating and reporting upon the very many factions fighting in the Bak’ka Valley. Interesting assignment although perhaps not quite the perfect way to explore the Middle East especially as due to earlier tours of duty in the area my passport had stamps and visa entries for Tel Aviv, Bandar Abbas (Iran) and Cape Town!

I am dead keen to read another adventurer’s exploits in my old stomping ground

Last Edited by NedtheRed at 06 Jul 16:24

Thanks @HowardK for posting that link – what a great insight into how the film of your book The Damascus Cover evolved, and when the great Sir John Hurt climbed on board. Really looking forward to reading the book along with the Silver Travel Book Club readers, and to seeing the movie – released on 3rd August in the UK.


Many years ago, a trip to Israel and Jordan was key in making my husband get his British passport and stop using his South African one (his grandparents were from UK but he was born in SA and then moved to UK where we met.)
We were with a group of church ministers on a bus tour heading for Jordan and when we got to the border crossing all of our group went through without a problem, apart from us.
Where was David born? What was his father’s first name? Did he have permission to return to the UK?
Sorry, our whole group would have to wait until they checked with the British Embassy whether David’s UK paperwork was valid. Oh, and by the way, there was a beautiful air conditioned restaurant newly opened nearby where the rest of the party would be welcome to go for lunch while this was sorted out.
No way, the others said, we will wait on the bus.
And both our passports were stamped, allowing us to return to the bus and continue on our journey…..

How did I get John Hurt to star in the film of my novel


Los Angeles

Trailer for the film looks good

Essex UK
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