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

Whilst the book is well reviewed on Amazon the film has been panned by critics. Did the author have editorial input to the film? What has gone wrong [if anything] in converting the book to film?

Interesting article in the news this week about Damascus Cover that this was Sir John Hurt’s final film before he died of pancreatic cancer aged 77 and how he persuaded the Director Daniel Zelik Berk to change the original ending, giving Hurt a previously unscripted elegiac speech reflecting on the unwinnable nature of the spy game.

Wakefield, West Yorks.

Thank you Andrew, or whoever made the decision that my rather ancient story deserved to win. I will be sure to carefully see what has changed since I was last in the Middle East, which I visited on a number of different occasions as well as the one I described. Again thank you for considering me to be worthy of such an interesting prize.


Congratulations @Sologirl and @NedtheRed, you have both won a copy of the Silver Travel Book Club book of the month for July.

A copy of The Damascus Cover by Howard Kaplan is on its way to you, and we hope you enjoy reading this intriguing thriller set in the troubled Middle East.

Thanks @Silvertravellerfan – what a vivid picture you paint of your time in Petra and Jordan. How long ago were you there? I love the image of you swimming in the Dead Sea too, under-estimating the buoyancy of the water!

Silver Travellers following this month’s Book Club choice The Damascus Cover by author Howard Kaplan might also be interested to read this piece on Silver Travel partner TripFiction’s site, where @HowardK talks about his experiences in Israel and Palestine: https://www.tripfiction.com/howard-kaplan-israel-and-palestine-the-spys-gamble/

Thank you @AndrewMorris and @JennieSilver – my copy of “Roam Alone” has just arrived.

Albox, Costa Almeria, Spain

This book looks fascinating. One of my all time favourite places is Petra in Jordan. I could not believe the scale of the site. We visited in the evening with the site lit up by candles and again the next day during the daytime. That first glimpse of The Treasury is just so special. I also loved the TV programme “An Idiot Abroad” so of course we had to decide whether it would be better to live in the “wonder” with not such a good view of a cave opposite or whether it would be better to live in the cave opposite with a view of the “wonder.” My vote was for the second option. Despite the heat we walked up to The Monastery. What a view. The week we spent in Jordan was simply amazing…we even had snow in the desert! However I will never forget the experience of floating in the Dead Sea. Floating is not the issue. Everyone tells you that you can float in it very easily. The problem however is trying to get your legs back down! I found it impossible not to float. In the end I had to swim back to the shore and stand up in order to get back onto my two feet. No-one warns you about that issue!!!

Thanks @HowardK for the fascinating insight into the way you researched The Damascus Cover, and for your general approach to writing, by ‘interweaving history and fiction’.

I think this mechanism often works well, and I’m sure we can all summon up the names of other authors who have trodden this path.

Looking forward very much to seeing the movie adaptation of The Damascus Cover, this month’s interesting Silver Travel Book Club choice.

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
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