NAME Douglas Grudzina
TITLE The Warrior of Galilee
GENRE Literary Historical Fiction
COMPS The King of Kings meets The Gladiator
LOG LINE The saga of the man that gets lost in the story of the Messiah.
PITCH First-century Palestine is a political and theological crucible.
The people loathe their Roman occupiers, and even the Temple—the core of their national and religious identity—has been corrupted by foreign influence. The threat of violence lurks everywhere, and people fear the dagger of their own Zealot as much as the Roman cross and sword.
Into this maelstrom is born the apparently illegitimate son of Miriam, wife of Yosef the builder. Leading a ragtag gang of rebels, Yosef broods over the knowledge that, while neither he nor his own sons can be their nation’s redeemer—Miriam’s son, Yeshua, might be.
But what kind of redeemer? Brokenhearted by the crucifixion of his beloved stepbrother, Yeshua leaves his study of scripture and law and joins his stepfather’s insurrectionist band.
When Yosef is killed in the First Battle of Galilee, Yeshua himself sheds Roman blood and begins to question his most basic assumptions of who he is and what the full cost of embracing the role of Messiah might be.
WRITING SAMPLE FROM NOVEL
(From the end of Chapter 4)
Yosef awoke Miriam and the boys, and they gathered together their few belongings while the two strangers entreated them to hurry. From below they heard sudden shouting and a heavy banging at the gate. The window overlooking the street glowed a furious orange, and the pungent smell of smoking oil and tar invaded the room.
“It is too late!” the older stranger hissed. “They are here!”
The shouting was low and masculine. The banging increased, and Klum’s wife screamed weakly from her sickroom below.
“The window!” one of the strangers shouted. “Hurry!”
They took a coil of rope and tossed it out the small window in the back of the room after anchoring it to one of the hooks in the wall.
“Climb onto my back,” Yosef commanded Chaim. With his little son clinging to his neck, he climbed through the window and scrambled down the outside wall. The younger stranger took Asher on his back and climbed down in the same way.
“Yosef!” Miriam screamed out the window, “I need help!”
The air in the room was thick with oily smoke, and the banging increased until the floor shook with the impact of the failing gate. A loud cheer went up from the mob.
“They are not here!” Klum screamed. “They are not here!”
But he was drowned out by the cheering and screaming of the attackers. The frantic bleating and braying of the animals in the stable added to the commotion, and the light and heat in the upstairs room intensified. Miriam knew the mob was not only searching for her family, but they were setting fire to the inn as they searched.
Yosef climbed the rope and took Yeshua from Miriam. “Go,” he commanded her.
The shouting grew louder. Klum’s wife screamed again. The daughters shrieked, and a few men cursed and laughed. The mob had entered the main building, and Yosef could hear the rattling of pots and the smashing of pottery in the room below. He stared fiercely at his wife, and she returned his gaze as if she drew energy from his eyes. Slowly, she lifted herself to the window, took hold of the rope, and lowered herself to the ground.
Yosef knotted the corners of his tallit together and lay it over his neck like a sling. Cradling the baby Yeshua in it, he climbed through the window and down the wall for the final time. The older stranger followed.
“The horses are here!”
The strangers led the frightened family to a cluster of shadows that was a palm grove a few hundred feet behind the inn. Yosef helped Miriam mount and lifted Yeshua up to her. She hugged the baby close, wrapped in the folds of her mantle. Asher allowed his father to lift him onto the horse in front of Miriam, and he took the reins. “You will learn to ride,” Yosef said. “You must.”
Yosef and Chaim then mounted their horse and were joined by the strangers.
“Why are you helping us?” Yosef asked.
“We worship your god,” the older stranger answered. “And we keep His law. Now go!” He slapped the rear of Miriam’s horse, and it broke into a gallop toward the north and west. “And may the Master of the Universe go with you.”
Sample Pitches from prior New York Pitch Conference--various genres.
1 post • Page 1 of 1