All authors of genre novels have play-fair pacts with their readers. Whodunits give readers the necessary clues to enable them to solve the central crime. Travel writers give precise pictures of physical locations. Romantic novelists create obstacles between lovers that have to be overcome before the coming together.
The pact historical novelists make with their readers is to describe historical facts accurately. Unfortunately absolute accuracy in a work of fiction is a contradiction in terms. Inserting fictional characters into the already woven web of history breaks the threads of reality. Every job a fictional character undertakes replaces the role of a real person. Every building they live in ousts the real occupants. The closer the historical period is to the present the more known threads have to be broken, but, despite this, authors must not alter the flow of what is considered 'real' history. All historical authors have to make compromises but, in the spirit of fair play, they have to let their readers know how much of their work is fiction and how much fact.
So here are the compromises I have made in the Series 'Land of Broken Promises'.
I have made up two locations and possibly a third.
Bereisheet, in the Sharon Valley, does not exist. I have placed it roughly on top of real life Karkur but have based its layout on Nahalal, a real moshav in the Jezreel Valley.
Zamzum, in the Negev, does not exist, nor does the side wadi, I describe. However a real pioneer outpost and experimental desert farm was set up in that region in 1943 but the occupants did not live in caves.
Magog is the mystery location. Is its existence fact or fiction. I have had exciting news this week. Can't wait to find out.
I have also made up a religious institution. There is, so far as I know, no fundamentalist Christian sect known as the Second Chosen although there were several very similar sects in Palestine during the British Mandate. Some of the less believable incidents are based on my own childhood experiences in one such sect but I have made an effort to tone them down so they become believable.
The active characters in the plots of the series 'Land of Broken Promises' are all fictional although I have allowed them to undertake the activities and suffer the fates of real people, but if their characters , as depicted in the novels, resemble in anyway, those of the people whose roles they usurp, that is purely coincidental.
The people who most take over the roles of real people are Mick Murphy and his family who were created long before I thought of writing about the siege of Ramat Gan. In the scenes in all three novels that relate to that siege and the subsequent trial of Dov Gruener I have put the Murphys into the shoes of the Denley family, relying heavily on the memoirs of Inspector John Denley which I read before he donated them to Tel Aviv University.
The incidents depicted in the escalation of violence in Palestine, all happened and in the chronological order described. I emphasise that last statement as sometimes writers of even so called non-fiction books on Palestine have obfuscated the order of events for propaganda purposes.
I have placed Tim Craine in the shoes of the police inspector whose memoir described the siege f Givat Hayim
One incident in the series is pure fiction - the mystery of Tim Craine's walking stick. There is obviously a parallel with the real life incident of Major Farrel's hat that occurred at a later date. Indeed, the reolution to the mystery of Tim Craine's walking stick is similar to the rumours I heard about Major Farrel's Hat, but the people who whispered the rumours to me are long dead . When researching the Farrel story it is useful to take into account that all documents of the time were written in the knowledge that agents of Haganah and the Irgun would have copies of even the most top secret documents almost as soon as they were typed.
The Bari mustard gas poisoning was kept secret in Britain long after it was acknowledged in America and I found most British veterans of the war in Italy were unaware of the mustard gas even in the 21st century. .