Tag Archives: The Assassins


                                                        THE ASSASSINS


Obviously, my novel is about the battle between good and evil.


Novelist have been struggling with this topic for centuries because it is one of the most basic fundamental issues effecting all of humanity. We read about the conflict because we have all been there. It’s our story, our experience. And we keep reading because we’re never sure which side is going to win.

The Assassins begins with a completely evil design. Vladimir Putin intends to have the top American leaders killed and sends out three henchmen to do them in. None of these men is particularly bright, but they all know about murder that they are quit willing to commit. Will evil triumph under these circumstances? The reader keeps turning the pages to find out.

Friedrich Nietzsche lived in the last half of the nineteenth century and was a major philosopher whose impact has not been diminished by time. He appears to have had a deep distrust of words in conveying and describing evil. Our time has seen so much mayhem and murder, I often wonder if we haven’t been moved existentially closer to Nietzsche’s point of view.  Not that we wrestle intellectually with the problem of evil, but that we have become so adjusted to assassination, revolutions, war, and the possibility of nuclear explosions that we no longer are able to find the words that convey the draconian nature of the ongoing situation with which we live.


Perhaps, a novel remains one of the best tools to walk us inside the terrors of human manipulation and deceit. The Assassins is of course fiction, but look at the parallels with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned in London. Litvenenko, a FSB agent (formerly called the KGB) got crossways with Vladimir Putin and fled the country to avoid being killed. In London, he remained a harsh critic of Putin’s role in encouraging corruption. A close friend of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, he knew she was investigating his charges against Putin. The female journalist was then shot to death in Moscow. Sound a little familiar?

Can words adequately convey the force of evil in such a situation? Friedrich Nietzsche said no.  The will to power remains too strong. His solution was to create an entirely new language. I’m afraid Nietzsche got too close to the edge, but he does press us to recognize how powerful evil is in the world around us.

Personally, I find novels by Daniel Silva do an adequate job of forcing anyone to recognize the reality of evil. Hopefully, The Assassins does the same thing. While such a story is fiction, by its very nature it forces us to look into the non-fiction world with greater perspective and a more adequate grasp of the power of evil.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, History, middle east, Peace, Prayer, Stories, World




“Robert, how can you get inspired to write about assassinations? Isn’t that a rather heinous subject?”

As I listened to the woman’s question, I wondered what she meant by the word inspiration. Her reply proved interesting.

“Why, I thought the word meant ‘God breathed,’ she said. “Isn’t inspiration something that the Holy Spirit brings?”

Well, yes and no. Certainly, we think of The Bible as being inspired and that definitely means the Holy Spirit was at work. I would like to think that my books are “God breathed,” but that’s more than a little presumptive. Generally, divine inspiration implies that a new or creative revelation has occured. Hey, I’m certainly not claiming such lofty status But actually, inspiration has a wider range of meaning than my friend related. We can be emotionally or intellectually inspired. A feeling may bubble up that touches us deeply.  Alex Haley’s Roots had such powerful emotionally inspiration. The last TV episode as he discovered his personal origins in Africa moved me to tears. The Imperial Presidency didn’t have such an  emotional push but it was an intellect assessment of the government.  Often, we are deeply moved by some such event and want to convince others only to find out they don’t care. Before you feel bad, remember that divine inspiration also gets the same reception in some quarters.

So, my book The Assassins doesn’t have to claim to be divinely inspired to have a quality of creative thought that some people might find to be moving. While I’d never put myself in a class with Fedyor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov definely touched on universal issues that are still studied in seminaries. I will argue Dostoevsky was definitely inspired, but not just because he wrestled with issues affecting the Roman Catholic Church. His focus was moral and concerned with the future of civilization.

My story is certainly not so lofty, but it seeks to explore the idea of what happens when a head of government is willing to commit murder to acheive the purposes of his government. Today we know such a goal is possible. My story suggests that those draconian purposes run afowl of ultimate values, including the value of human life.

When the Oklahoma City Murrah Building terrorist bombing occurred, I was the first clergyman on the scene and stood in the back of the building as the bodies were brought out. I will forever remember standing by those tarp covered remains of people killed by a man whose values were eschewed to the core. During those hours as more and more bodies were brought out, I wondered what will come next and shuttered.

And yet as the days, weeks, and years have gone by, the actions of good people have transformed those tragic deaths into monuments to eternal truth and the endurance of righteousness.  Decadence has been transformed into inspiration.

Inspiration often arises from unanticipated circumstances and humble origins. Even evil actions may unexpectedly give rise to redemptive expressions and results. We have to be ready for inspiration to come at the most unexpected moments.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, History, middle east, Peace, Prayer, Stories, World




I’m often ask about why writers become authors (or wantabe authors). Usually the question comes from someone who wants to see their name on a book cover. There are more wantabes than trees in the forest. I tell them to read a book a week… or if that’s too much … a book a month from the genre that interests them. I give them the names of profession magazines on writing they should read.  They don’t.

Decades ago, Jane White, a fine writer, told me about the necessity of reading. Like an amateur, I discounted her instruction. A decade later, I realize what a mistake I had made and got serous. Not only does reading other writers keep one current, reading nourishes the imagination. Sorry. You have to turn the TV off more often. Besides the rich benefits of exciting your mind, the imagination remains one of the finest tools you have insight and personal development. Reading puts a match to your thoughts and a blaze ignites in your mind. If you don’t want to read, don’t wast your time writing.

I’ve found amateurs don’t usually respond to anything I tell them as they’re not really interested in being a pro … just a person with their name on a book.  Of course, that’s more than a little irritating becuase their interest and concern is not in the same ball park with genuine authors. But the question of a writer’s motivation remains highly interesting.

In The Assassins, my personal interest centered around Vladimir Putin. I find him to be a truly scary guy. A former KGB agent, Putin knows the dark side of the political world as well as any assassin out there. Would he send three assassins to the USA on a mission like I describe in the book. Yeah. I think he would. And so the story begins.

To put my answer in a more didactic form, writers usually are motivated by some interest that has captivated their imagination. Sometimes , it is exploring motivation or it could be working through a personal problem or issue by allowing self-created characters to take one with them on their journeys. After all, your characters can do things that you’ve never done and allow you to experience adventures you’ve never had.

Books on writing always tell you write about what you have experienced, not issues you’ve never explored. Well, yes and no. Certainly that’s good advice, but you can research countries you’ve never visited and write on dragons you’ve never met. Think through what age and variety of audience you want to reach and take them on a trip with you to Shangi-la. Lost Horizons can become new horizons.

To become a true or better author, read widely. Go back in time to some book like A.J. Cron in’s Keys to The Kingdom of even Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Sure they’re old, but the style, the content, the description are extraordinary. I like Daniel Silva for contemporary action packed fiction. His books helped me develop ideas used in The Assassins.

Probably, we could identify a thousand legitimate reasons for writing (that’s a figure of speech) I’ve only touched the surface and more will follow next week. Just remember that it takes a strong constitution to sit quietly alone in a solitary room day after day. Well … maybe … it’s not so hard. You put your fingers on the computer keys and wait until large drops of blood form on your brow.

Leave a comment

Filed under middle east