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Much of the series is set in Palestine during WW2. Some people imagine Palestine as having been a haven of peace throughout that period. True, the Arab Rebellion that caused havoc throughout the country from 1936 to 1939 died down after Britain declared war on Germany. Once Italy entered the war,however,the country became one giant military camp where raw recruits trained for the North African campaign. Concrete forts sprung up throughout the land as the allies prepared to make a last stand against either for Allies, Axis or Freedom fighters. Here in Palestine at Haifa, the Mediterranean fleet refueled and took on fresh supplies. the Axis who threatened to invade, first via Vichy Syria, them a little later from North Africa. Practically every resident was a spy,
Although Palestine didn't have Allies and Axis battling across the countryside, for the first three war years the citizens of Palestine were as much affected by WW2 as people in the UK.
When WW2 retreated westward, peace did not return as as freedom fighters, both Jewish and Arab, created fresh violence.
When WW2 ended, that violence escalated until eventually the whole country descended into chaos. These years were seminal to the conflict that continues to the present. No one can really understand the present conflict without some knowledge of the British Mandate of Palestine. These novels attempt to show sixteen years of Palestinian History from the viewpoint of three women from diverse cultures. Each novel in the trilogy centres on one main character who also appears as a supporting character in the other two novels. Each novel can be read as a stand alone adventure novel but the whole trilogy tells the story of Palestine between 1932 and 1948. "Patsy" and "Dalia" also contain brief epilogues set in the 21st century. For a brief history of earlier times see The brief history of Palestine from 1914 to 1936
Comparatively little fiction written in English has been set in Palestine during WW2 which was one of the reasons I started on these novels.
I spent twenty-five years checking and rechecking the historical facts of events recounted in the stories. So many people learn their history from novels, and so many national grievances in the Middle East spring from confusing cause and effect that I felt a duty to place historical events in the correct chronological order.
I have also been at pains to describe real locations as seen during those years with the clear vision of childhood. However, I have also included two fictional locations,one Bereisheet, a Nahalal look-alike placed more or less where real-life Karkur exists and the other,Zamzum, an experimental agricultural settlement in the Negev performing a similar function to real life Revivim. I created these fictional locations because real life rural settlements in mid -twentieth century Palestine were too small and close knit to accept an influx of fictional characters, especially ones who often have to take on the experiences of real life characters (to whom, of course, the fictional characters bear no resemblance)>Despite my obsession with historical accuracy I have recently become aware of a huge mistake I included in "Maftur". No one, so far has pointed it out to me but I am going to confess in case anyone is misled.
In Maftur I have described Prince Abdullah, later the Emir of Transjordan, as a comrade of Lawrence of Arabia during WW1 and being part of the unit that captured Damascus. In reality Lawrence fought alongside Prince Faisal, Abdullah's brother. Abdullah disliked Lawrence fought in Mesopotamia not along the Jordan.
If I had the chance to re-write Maftur I would have had Maftur's father-in law fighting with Abdullah in Mesopotamia and swapping a British land grant there for the Nablus estate. That's the drawback with publishing a book. One has no way to change it.