This blog entry was originally published on 1/7/2017.  It was accidentally deleted while the site is being upgraded.

That was the best word to describe my emotions on the last day of 2016. I finally finished the first draft of the manuscript with the working title Retribution.

As I slogged on toward the end, I realized that if I followed my original outline, the novel was going to be as long as Mitchner’s Hawaii or Clavell’s Taipan. So what should I do?

It had to be shortened.   Now, the story is still valid, the characters are still strong and have to deal with both internal and external conflicts and, as the four sub plots wove together tighter and tighter, I could see the “end” was near.

The story and characters took me to a logical point. The bad guys were already in one place, the good guys who wanted to catch the bad guys were hot on their trail, so I had to figure out a way to make it all work out. That meant stopping writing and letting my mind work out the details.

Keep in mind, in Retribution, the good guys are the Mossad and they are hunting the bad guys – Nazis wanted for war crimes. One would think that the hunt would take place in Germany or Austria or Argentina or Brazil, but it doesn’t. They’re in Syria.

That was only one of the loose ends that had to be tied up. There’s an Austrian woman who plays a role as the wife of one of the Nazis. What do I do with her?

The hardest thing to do was figure out what do with the main American character – Lenny Almer – at the end of the book. His conflicts are internal, with his wife and the love hate situation of living in Germany. He’s an Air Force fighter pilot whose dream is to become an ace, i.e. shoot down five enemy airplanes. He gets three in World War II, one in Korea and then, in a dogfight over West Germany with an intruding MiG, it blows up. The Air Force refuses to credit him with a kill. So, my dilemma was to decide whether or not to get him his fifth kill. You’ll have to read Retribution to find out if it happens.

FYI, if you don’t know this, the Mossad and its direct action group called Yidon which is the Israeli version of Seal Team Six or the Delta Force, have specialized in targeted assassinations and kidnapping. There’s a dozen or so that are public, not including the revenge they extracted for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1976 Olympics in Munich.

Marc Liebman

January 2017