Author: Noah Friedland
ISBN: 978-1449976798

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Noah Friedland's debut novel, A House Divided brings to the world of political thrillers a new twist; instead of Israelis fighting Arabs, we have Israelis in a deadly power struggle among themselves that have dire and unforeseen consequences.

The novel's protagonist, Jonathan (Yonatan) Geller is an American, who, as a child immigrated to Israel. He has returned to his country of birth and is now a an assistant professor at the University of Washington. As the story unravels, we learn that Jonathan departed from Israel under some awkward circumstances concerning his stint in the Israeli army, leaving behind his mother, brother, a step-father, whom he detests, a girlfriend and many close friends. 

In the very early hours of a July morning, Jonathan receives a phone call from his stepfather in Israel, Col. Ben-Natan informing him of the accidental death of his brother Danny in the Haleva military training camp, and that he must immediately return to Israel. Perplexed, Jonathan does not buy the story that it was an accident, and he is filled with a flood of questions- all bringing back memories of the disastrous and horrible events he experienced while serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Returning to Israel, Jonathan is determined to find out the real reason for Danny's death. He meets up with a stranger and is left a manila envelope containing a note written by his brother to his girlfriend Michal telling her that he will try to contact her. Jonathan has no idea who is Michal and where his brother had been going. The note also contained Michal's phone number.

Eventually, Jonathan receives the IDF'S version as to what happened to his brother, and he is informed that during a routine artillery conversion, there was a misfire in his team's American-made M1091A, self-propelled howitzer cannon and all five members of his crew were killed. Jonathan does not believe this explanation, as he was familiar with the howitzer cannon and nothing like this had ever happened while he served for one year at the same army base.

There was no conceivable way that the crew could have blown themselves up. When Jonathan questions the officer, who detailed to him what happened, his step-father goes ballistic and calls him a bastard for wanting to dig deeper into the tragedy, particularly in front of his mother.

What really puzzles Jonathan was that Danny's girlfriend Michal received a phone call from him hours after the army's official time of death. Remembering his shocking experiences with the IDF, when he had served in the army, Jonathan did not believe that his brother and the other soldiers were killed at Haleva. Was there a possibility that he was killed elsewhere and there is some kind of a cover-up? If so, why and who was involved?

With the help of his old flame and a boyhood friend, Jonathan is determined to find out what really happened to his brother.

This is a riveting thriller that enters some of the darker corners of the Israeli military. Its intense plot filled with unexpected conspiracies, rumors of drug trafficking, and military roguery, all contribute to its roller coaster effect and unbridled momentum. And although the yarn seems surreal at times, readers, nonetheless, will be kept intrigued until its riveting and sizzling conclusion. Could this really happen in Israel?

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