#LoveBooksGroupTours: Character Spotlight with @kaplanhow #TheSpysGamble


"Kaplan is...without peer in his grasp of the delicate and explosive relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This is a thriller in the best tradition of the genre." -Los Angeles Times

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 Russians 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.

Character Spotlight:

Who is your protagonist?

Shai Shaham a longtime Mossad field agent now assistant director of operations a desk job in Jerusalem though he still likes to get out into the field even if he has to sneak out

 The inspiration for your protagonist

I have a close friend, an educator in Jerusalem, who is an out of the box thinker

 The creation of your protagonist
I wanted an agent who was staunchly Zionist but who saw and understood Palestinians as people, their struggle their lives. So Shai is a great humanist, the type of guy who extends himself and is incredibly nice unless the other side behaves badly.  Then he’s tough as nails.

 About your protagonist’s character

Shai is a man with huge appetites. He loves deeply but only in a committed relationship.  He’s overweight a former smoker and drinker who won’t touch either now. For a long time he carried an open pack of cigarettes in his pocket as a challenge to not smoke them

Does she have any similarities to someone ‘real’? If so, tell us more!

It’s fun to base a character on a real person.  My friend lectures to Israeli army groups as part of their educational training, so I had him wander into the Arab marketplace in Hebron after giving a lecture there in the West Bank.  He seems some rather inhumane behavior by the Israeli settlers there so I called him up and asked what would you say. What he told me was better than what I could have created as it was real. 

What do you like most of your protagonist?

Great humanism, the capacity for deep connections both with friends and with family.

What do you dislike about your protagonist?

Really nothing.  I dislike a lot of things about myself, maybe in particular some compulsive worrying and replaying problems in my head but I love Shai’s human frailties.

Would you and your protagonist be friends in ‘real’ life?

I’d be honored.

What’s next?

I have a new novel coming out later this year, maybe October called TO DESTOY JERUSALEM. Shai’s also the main character there but it’s a prequel when he’s still a field agent and working with another Palestinian agent, Ramzy Awwad trying to trust each other.

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