PUNCH LINE Secondary Title

In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.

But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.

Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.

Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.

The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.

Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.

The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.

A Punchline Korean book

“Finally! Joey Slinger has written his first novel–and it’s about damn time. Punch Line is a raucous tale, deftly told, of murder and its machinations, set in a nursing home peopled entirely with eccentrics. A terrific read.”
Will Ferguson

Joey Slinger lures you into an ominous geriatric world where you shudder and wince in those moments when you’re not laughing out loud.”
William Weintraub

“Slinger is the funniest writer in Canada.”
Michael Enright

Key Porter World Rights Fall 2005
Jakkajungsin Korea 2010


After the death of his wife, Ballantine has time on his hands. He needs a hobby, a purpose, a focus. What better way to assuage his aching loneliness and restore justice than to track down and murder the assholes who caused her to die?

It’s a modest idea, but it takes planning, and what with meals to make, pills to take and laundry to do, Ballantine is overworked. He needs a support system—the kind that only a retirement home can offer.

The Cloister is a typical retirement facility, populated by lawyers, druggists, computer buffs, electronics geeks, knitting ladies, discount stock promoters, self-proclaimed messiahs, money launderers, school principals, explosives experts and arms dealers. The 81-year-old Ballantine is their man of mystery, a force whose rusting mind and unreliable digestion galvanizes their hold over life and death.

Does it matter that Dixon, the all-powerful chief executive of The Cloister, and Borofsky, a cop at the tail end of his career, may be on to them? Yes and no. With a bunch of aging homicidal maniacs, even the death penalty is no deterrent.