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.
“Terry Fallis writes with a light touch and fine sense of the inherent humanity of humour, while still addressing one of the biggest questions we all have to face: Who are you? Who are you really?” –Will Ferguson, author of 419, Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize
“Born of a cheerful mood and a clever mind, Terry Fallis’s No Relation is an endearing book with a big heart.” –Trevor Cole, author of Practical Jean
“Fallis employs an easygoing yet compelling writing style … So what’s in a name? When it’s Terry Fallis, you know it means a good book.” —National Post
McClelland & Stewart/Random House Canada 2014
Winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour
Terry Fallis was forced to self-publish his first novel in 2007 by publishers (and agents—moi) and their certainty that comic novels “don’t sell.” But Terry defied the odds. He received accolades, won literary prizes, and his three novels have become major bestsellers!
In No Relation, the hero Hem is having a very bad day. Within 24 hours, he loses his wallet, his job, and his live-in girlfriend. He also loses his sanity (almost) when he tries to establish his identity for a new driver’s license at the DMV.
As his psychiatrist notes, the 40 year-old ad agency copywriter has a fat severance check, a wonderful Manhattan apartment, and time to write the novel burning inside him, if he can overcome his writer’s block.
But Hem carries the burdens of his birth. His father, CEO of The Hemmingwear Company, insists that his son honor tradition and return to Chicago to take over the celebrated family underwear empire. For three generations, every first-born son embraced this family duty but Hem has other dreams.
Like his father and grandfather, Hem is named for the founding patriarch of Hemmingwear, saddling him his official name: Earnest Hemmingway, spelled with an extra “a” and “m.” It is especially onerous for a man who aspires to write a great novel.
As Hem deals with his new situation, Terry Fallis’s extraordinary gifts are on display: a lovable hero and a fast-paced plot where Hem allies with his sister to expose traitors in the company and to secure the CEO post for her. And there are looping comic scenes involving Hem’s support group for those burdened by famous names—scenes that flirt with farce and then are deftly reined in, leaving the echo of laughter. There is also the serious heart of the novel, which is Hem’s confrontation with his father, and the weight of paternal expectations.
Terry recently received .W. Shemilt Distinguished Alumni Award from the department of Engineering at his Alma Mater, McMaster University: