Maybe it was Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. Maybe it was David Seltzer’s The Omen. All I know I had to have my own monastery. So I created one.
The small scene in Incognito took me quite a while to construct. I was not only writing the story, I was playing medieval architect.
Photo shows the Monte Cassino monastery in Italy. Reminds you of one of those virtual combat games like Counter Strike and Assassin’s Creed and whatever else that I am too old fashion to know.
Many of you know this, but I’ll just mention it anyway.They didn’t built monasteries thousands of feet above ground not for mystical reasons or in their attempt to reach God. They built them high to protect monks from marauders.
During my years in Cairo, Egypt, I discovered, from speaking to many people in the business of business — including policemen, military officers, and Bedouins in the Sinai area — about the intricate tunnels built by Hamas and other Palestinian groups.
Due to the siege and blockade, the tunnels serve as a means of livelihood. The smuggling of goods from food, cigarettes to military equipment is unbelievable. If you can’t picture it, imagine the underground world built by Mr. Toad’s critter friends in The Wind in the Willows.
In writing my novel, I created a tunnel route in which a messenger travels from Egypt to Palestine before connecting to Jerusalem. This is one of my favorite scenes where I tried to invoke the sinister and tense atmosphere to give the reader an exact feel of what it would be like to be a Palestinian trying to infiltrate Israeli borders. The question is, did I imagine the route, did someone draw it for me or was I given a tour?