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.
“The Best Laid Plans is…amusing, enlightening— and Canadian, and it deftly explores the Machiavellian machinations of Ottawa’s political culture. Wicked political satire.”
—The Globe and Mail
“The High Road will surely make you laugh. There will be snickers, occasional snorting and hooting, and almost certainly rip-roaring belly laughs.”
— The Halifax Chronicle Herald
McClelland & Stewart 2013
Up and Down
Terry Fallis is a novelist who has done the impossible. He self-published his first novel The Best Laid Plans, a political satire set in Ottawa, and won the prestigious literary award, The Leacock Medal for Humor. The novel was subsequently re-released by McClelland & Stewart, capturing the hearts of the nation, and selling 75,000 copies in Canada. A six –part TV mini-series for CBC is in production.
Fallis then quickly followed with his bestselling sequel, The High Road.
Now, with his third comic novel Up and Down set against the background of NASA’s space program, Terry Fallis is poised to reach an international audience.
We catch the young hero David Stewart his first day on the job at the Toronto office of Turner King, an international public relations firm ruled from the towers of New York and Washington. David is assigned to the team charged with boosting flagging public interest in space exploration. His team leader, the chilly Amanda Burke is hostile to him and the Washington account exec is dismissive, Surprisingly, the NASA executive approves David’s suggestion—a lottery to find two ordinary citizens –a Canadian and an America –who are eager to strap themselves to a rocket headed to the space station for the trip of a lifetime.
The lottery for the American citizen astronaut goes swimmingly—a muscular, sheriff wins. But to everyone’s dismay, David’s draw for the Canadian space traveler yields a 72-year-old woman physician and bush pilot, who, as a lesbian, is politically incorrect. Nevertheless, according to strict lottery rules, if she passes the training, she can go.
Through a series of suspenseful hurdles, Fallis keeps ups rooting for David and the aged citizen astronaut Dr. Landon Percival. But it is the beautifully drawn portrayal of Landon and their touching relationship that stay with the reader long after the campaign has been won.A podcast of Up and Down is availble on the author’s website.