She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nearly killed in Seattle during a jihadist bombing, Ashley recognizes the synagogue bomber and is later stalked by a hired Muslim hit man in Israel. There she reacquaints with Najid, the Christian Palestinian scholar she had met at the University of Washington. She falls in love with him, putting her at odds with her Zionist pro-Israeli convictions.
On the run, Ashley sees the beautiful rock churches and shrines. But the living stones, the people of the Holy Land intrigue her. She meets Jews and Palestinians, Rabbis for and against Israeli settlement expansion. Gentle Palestinians like Najid’s family, and those in the West Bank suffering under military occupation. Both Muslims and Christians living peacefully together.
Najid and Ashley find the bomber in Seattle despite the FBI dragnet put out to arrest him.. Living Stones is the story of an American woman coming to terms with the truth of the Middle East, and the lies she had been fed. Will she survive the forces that threaten to tear her apart?
PURCHASE KINDLE VERSION
The Inspiration for Writing Living Stones by Lloyd Johnson
They asked us to tell their stories in America. Some of them heartbreaking. Because they knew we in the U.S. know little of daily life there. Christians included.
We lived with the “living stones,” experiencing the people of the Holy Land during the summer of 2012, in Bethlehem. Deprived of water, imprisoned behind a 40’ wall, homes demolished by bulldozers, evicted from their farms. These things happen every day in the West Bank. Residents turned back at checkpoints, are unable to travel into Jerusalem five miles away, or to the sea, thirty miles—except by “special permission” granted occasionally. Most have never seen the ocean.
Palestinians are excluded from green spaces for children to play by high walls and highways prohibited for their travel. They’re “needed” by over 500,000 immigrant settlers. Most males have been imprisoned during their lives for peaceful demonstrations against 46 years of military occupation. Many children are in jail now for throwing stones at a tank, or for nothing. Terrified by soldiers breaking in at night. Committed to non-violent resistance, we found our Christian brothers and sisters, as well as Muslims, a gentle and hospitable people.
Jesus spoke of loving our neighbor, as in the Good Samaritan story—even our enemies. “Welcoming the stranger” fills the Old Testament. Whatever one’s theology about the Holy Land and the future, Jesus does not advocate ethnic cleansing of those outside a particular tribe. His invitation to the kingdom in the “New Covenant” is inclusive, world-wide, no barriers of ethnicity or religion.
Many excellent books relate the “Nakba” (catastrophe) in the Holy Land beginning in 1948 with both killing and displacement of 750,000— to refugee camps. Many Jewish authors also document the cruel military occupation of the West Bank since 1967. Almost all these books are non-fiction, read only by those interested in the Middle East.
Fiction can appeal to a wide variety of people who love a good story. So I’ve tried to write one, with adventure, action and a bit of romance. An American graduate student’s life is turned upside down by a jihadist bombing and abduction in Jerusalem. But even more as she encounters the “living stones” in the Holy Land and falls in love with a Palestinian Christian.
With special interest in the current Middle East, retired surgeon Dr. Lloyd Johnson turned to fiction writing, putting out two books, with a sequel in the works. He is a member of Seattle writing group, and blogs regularly on Israel/Palestine subjects. Johnson is a Clinical Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington in the Department of Surgery. He is Fellow in the American College of Surgeons, and past president of the Seattle Surgical Society. He authored 26 scientific articles in peer reviewed journals/texts. He has worked and traveled extensively overseas, including Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and served for six years as volunteer executive director and board member of a humanitarian NGO in Central Asia. The author lives in Edmonds, Washington.
Visit the author online at http://lloydjohnson.org/