Published: 01/03/2013
ISBN: 9781780884318
Format: Paperback

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Being brought up in a fundamentalist family with two brothers before the war, we were at all times reminded by our parents that anything we did that was not ‘Godly’ was unacceptable. Those things und... read more

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Reuben the Fisherman
A tale of Roman occupied Palestine
by Don Snuggs

A biblical inspired novel, that takes a familiar parable and twists it into a riveting narrative.

In Roman occupied Jerusalem, a young paralysed man is cured by an enigmatic healer. Suddenly able to walk, he is sent forth to live his life by the preacher. Disorientated by the seeming miracle, he is arrested and accused of being an accomplice of the healer – a known opponent of the ruling regime. Reuben is tortured by the regime, but escapes. Fleeing to Galilee he finds work as a fisherman, spending his days at sea to avoid the temple police.

Hard-working Reuben is promoted by his boss­ ­­– after his two sons have gone off with a preacher. After a number of sea-based adventures, Reuben settles into life as a respectable business man and landowner.

However, he starts to hear stories of a great man, a preacher, and the miracles that he performs. Sceptical, but intrigued, Reuben finally meets the preacher – the man who healed him – and so begins Reuben’s real adventures

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Why do I write?

I was asked this question some time ago and spent a little time thinking about the question. It was observed by the questioner that writing was hard work, was it for money? I quickly disabused him of that one ,no there is little money in it, but one does have the opportunity to put into words one’s thoughts and feelings and this is sometimes surprising to read after it is written down. Did I write that? good heavens! that must have been when etc. etc.............!

Having left the armed forces and the NHS, working afterwards in private medicine, I found I had few real friends to whom I could ‘let my hair down’, professional colleagues indeed existed, but that is not the same as a personal friends. Having now to spend my time listening continually to moans and complaints and trying to do something about it, I did sometimes long for the companionship I found in my former life and in writing my first book ten years ago this gave me the opportunity to revel in nostalgia , sad and happy memories, but a fulfilling time for all that where I learned to be an acute observer of the scene and react accordingly-correctly I hope -and was rewarded with success.

So my first book ‘To Travel Hopefully’ received a good review but the pleasure was spoiled when the publishers went into receivership and I lost most of the print run! However I did manage to retrieve a few copies which I still have and give away from time to time to interested persons, usually ex- service people who also want a bit of nostalgia!

My second book ‘Rueben the Fisherman’ was in reality a rant against the political correct circus, who want to make everything comfortable and not to be offended particularly in conventional religious matters. The wonderful Authorised Version of king James is loved by many and still used by conservative believers, the words are beautiful but the meanings of these ancient writings are not fully understood by readers of modern English, but to hear them week after week are comfortable to listen to knowing that nothing changes, the listener failing to get the idea that the thing that changes most in their unchanging world is that the world changes but people don’t, and the language of Shakespeare is foreign to most people today. So I gave a persona to the biblical characters therein and invented a few people who had to exist to make the basic story credible using my knowledge of human nature and historical research.

My third book’ Lydia’s Dream’ was virtually all imagination, built on research and what little was known of the events of the first Easter and the subsequent affect it had on the uncivilised world of those times and the reaction of those people who had the ability, or were allowed to question orthodox opinion. Philanthropy in the Roman world was not a well known commodity ,it took the Greeks to think things through ,but natural concern for the family and those who were related existed, but not to the uneducated and under priviledged in a slave owning society. But following a lot of research I had a far better view of Roman society than I had gathered previously from cinema or t.v programmes .Even today there is a lot of talk about Archaeology but not a lot is known, as opposed to guessed at, as how these people lived. So my imagination was brought into play. I have been told that theologically the book is flawed but then there is dissent at all times in such matters.

My next book ‘An Ever Rolling Stream’ is autobiographical and is a memory of where I came from ,why I did what I did and why I thought as I did until with the experiences of over eighty years I could see more clearly –and possibly cynically-why I behaved as I did ,but it was fun to write .I leave it to the reader to decide what sort of person I am!!!

My Penultimate book ‘Get a life’ is a reaction to growing up in a proscribed society with all its taboos, poorly understood but performed for all that -and the result. Much as the young today would like to change history, you can’t, and the things we had to cope with and the proscriptive way of life, are now gone forever for people like me, but then it gave my life direction until I could work things out for myself. Poor Fiona is the child of my imagination, but I’ve seen in my life so much misery cause by these taboos etc. and I was determined to show that they can be overcome if you subscribe to a liberal ethic, that is, what you should do, not what you must do. Fiona had to exercise choice,I had little when I was brought up, that is the problem I find is rearing its head again today, you must do this or that, or you won’t fit in!

My last book about to be published is ‘Pa –and the law of the unintended consequences’ the story of a hill billy farmer in America who is an innovator, but never thinks anything through and all his ideas come back to bite him. Those who have seen it think it’s very funny-hope readers do! I have met people like this, do they ever learn?

There has been an interesting response to my second book' Reuben the Fishermsn' as expected ,that from the clergy has been predictable as the book is not controversial theologically, but I have been surprised at the number of non church going people who have enjoyed it, many people who in their childhood who heard the stories told in Sunday school, these are stories I have embroidered .They may still hear them told if they attend church on special occasions today ,but they are sparse in their telling and in medieval English and all the nuances in their original Greek are not translated ,so I attempted to put them in modern English to freshen them up.! one reviewer was surprised at this as I have also used the vernacular, but did not the Romans have their own way of speech apart from received Greek ?Another reviewer referred to the novel as inspired ,but though the world changes, people do not ,they still love and hate, hope and fear ,but express themselves in the language of the day. My first book written some years ago' To Travel Hopefully' the story of 22years in the RAF medical branch was well received, not in print now although I still have a few copies left if anyone wants one. My latest book which has gone to print and will be released for publishing in March just before Easter is called Lydia's Dream, the story of what happened at the first EASTER told from the point of view of The Procurator's wife who had a dream prior to the execution of a local preacher, begging her husband not to proceed with a sentence of death. Nothing is recorded in history of her background or her name, but she spends her life with the dream ever present in all her doings, and spends many hours and tears trying to find out what it was all about.. I spent many hours researching Roman and Jewish history to build a persona for Lydia and the many people she came into contact with in her long life, and have tried to make it as true to her time as possible. But it is the result of many years of experience in health care as it is known today ,in various parts of the world among different cultures having seen dreadful poverty and excess riches, also much unpleasantness and corruption between peoples, and writing this book caused me to think again about my beliefs, and it has been quite cathartic in that it has released in me quite a lot of emotions that were hidden because possibly the good old British stiff upper lip syndrome which we use to help us navigate stormy seas! It is interesting that Pontius Pilate the Procurator of Judea although mentioned in the N.T. had little recorded about him elsewhere ,and it was not until 1961 that Israeli archaeologists found evidence that he had lived at this time of the occupation by the Romans of Palestine.w So although the novel is fiction ,it based on quite a lot of facts.

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