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Damascus Gate

Damascus Gate

  • reading group guide
On the cusp of the millennium, Jerusalem has become a battleground in the race for redemption. American journalist Christopher Lucas is investigating religious fanatics when he discovers a plot to bomb the sacred Temple Mount. A violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip, a race through riot-filled streets, a cat-and-mouse game in an underground maze -- as Lucas follows his leads, he uncovers an attempt to seize political advantage that reveals duplicity and depravity on all sides of Jerusalem's sacred struggle.
Ambitious, passionate, darkly comic, Damascus Gate is not only Robert Stone's biggest and best novel to date, but a timely and brilliant story of belief, power, salvation, and apocalypse.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 528 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684859118 | 
  • May 1999
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
Jerusalem, 1992
That morning Lucas was awakened by bells, sounding across the Shoulder of Hinnom from the Church of the Dormition. At first light there had been a muezzin's call in Silwan, insisting that prayer was better than sleep. The city was well supplied with divine services.
He climbed out of bed and went into the kitchen to brew Turkish coffee. As he stood at the window drinking it, the first train of the day rattled past, bound over the hills for Tel Aviv. It was a slow, decorous colonial train, five cars of nearly empty coaches with dusty windows. Its diminishing rhythms made him aware of his own... see more

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide
A Note from the Author
The idea of writing a book set in Jerusalem came to me when I first saw the city in 1985 after doing a travel article set in Egypt. I returned, and in 1992 visited Gaza and the West Bank and witnessed some of the disorders attendant on the intifada, the struggle that had been in progress for five years against the Israeli military administration. As a result of that trip, I set the action of the book in the spring and summer of 1992, with most events taking place in Jerusalem, as well as Tel Aviv, the Gaza Strip and Galilee.
In Damascus Gate I've tried to use a highly charged setting as a background for a story that juxtaposes personal and national dilemmas and conflicts. Jerusalem, with its mystery, timelessness and sacred warren of shrines, relics and commemorative sites, is impinged on by the modern world. Ancient conflicts are carried on with late-twentieth-century weapons and techniques. Pilgrims of all sorts continue to descend on the city as the millennium approaches, obsessed with hopes and illusions that for some are deeply intimate and others hope to project on a vast scale. Frequently the pilgrims become caught up in the ongoing quarrels of the city, sometimes as opportunists, enthusiasts or mere pawns.
Jerusalem is a city in which past, present and future seem to coexist in a way that has no parallel elsewhere. Unlike those of the ancient Greek cities or Rome, its crumbling see more

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