New novel set during Crusades

Jan. 25, 2014 @ 03:17 PM

Local writer M.K. Hammond, a former math teacher, Bible studies teacher and member of the Triangle Jewish Chorale, has written a historical novel “The Rabbi of Worms” (Resource Publications, $31). Set in 1096 in Germany, the period of the first crusade, the story centers on the character of 6-year-old Josef, a Christian boy tormented by bullies, who is befriended by Mosche, an older boy who lives in the Jewish quarter of the city of Worms on the Rhein River.

They meet Rabbi Schlomo, known as “the rabbi of Worms.” As Christians begin persecuting the Jews during the Crusade, the boys manage to maintain their friendship, and the rabbi’s teachings offer solace to those who are suffering during this conflict.
Hammond will discuss the novel Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth St., Durham. Her books will be for sale during a benefit for the Triangle Jewish Chorale from 2 to 3 p.m. Feb. 9 at Levin Jewish Community Center, 1937 Cornwallis Road, Durham. A portion of the book sales will go toward the chorale, which also will perform a short selection of psalm settings at this event. Hammond also will read at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 in Ponder Auditorium, Croasdaile Village Retirement Community, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Parkway in Durham.

Here are some more releases and readings in the weeks ahead:
-- “The Son,” Philipp Meyer’s 2013 inter-generational historical novel about the founding of Texas, has been released in trade paperback (Ecco Books, $16.99). The novel begins with the story of 100-year-old Colonel Eli McCullough, taken from a 1936 WPA recording. Born in 1836, the same day Texas declared independence from Mexico, Eli was kidnapped by Comanches, but survived through pluck. When he returned to white civilization, he began amassing land and cattle.
Meyer skillfully tells this story through the eyes of different generations of the family, from Eli’s days to the present.
Meyer will read and sign copies of the novel at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at Flyleaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Chapel Hill.

-- Durham author L.C. Fiore has a new novel, “The Trench Garden,” published by Ploughshares literary magazine and available only through the Kindle e-reader (available at In Fiore’s novel, set during World War II, two undergraduates in Tennessee work a summer job for a celebrated poetry professor, W. T. Harlan, as he supervises the clearing of a ravine to make a garden. At their side is a German POW, watched by a military guard, who has been sent to help them with their task. Through the experience of war, poetry, and tragedy, all of their lives are transformed.

-- The 2014 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition is now open for submissions. This contest awards the first-place winner $200 and publication in storySouth.
The 2014 Randall Jarrell Competition is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Submissions should be one poem only (40-line limit). The contest deadline is March 1.
For full details, visit or call 336-293-8844.

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