Originally, I picked the year 2002 as the year the The Assassin starts, expecting it may bleed into 2003. The reason was simple. It was twenty years after the main character - Janet Goodrich - retired and, along with Karin rode off into the sunset to live the good life.

All well and good, but look at the historical context. Here’s just four world events that affect the book’s plot.

1. Yasser Arafat rejects an Israeli offer in 2000 that gives the PLO everything they asked for, including reparations to Palestinian refugees. Why? Because it required a peace treaty and recognition of the State of Israel and its right to exist.

2. As the result of number one, the PLO encourages Fatah and another splinter terrorist group called the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade to start what became known as the Second Intifada on West Bank. The Israeli security forces have their hands full trying to contain and put down an uprising that is more violent and widespread than its predecessor.

3. 9/11 happens in 2001 and the U.S. is fighting in Afghanistan. In the background, the planning of the invasion of Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein had already begun.

4. In January 2002, the Israelis seize a ship in the Red Sea containing 50 tons of weapons destined for the PLO. It was not the first, nor would it be the last.

These events and more affect the day-to-day operations of the Mossad as well as the CIA. The U.S. is still struggling with the aftermath of 9/11 and trying to figure out how to deal with a global threat from fanatic, Islamic terrorists. Israel’s three intelligence agencies are stressed trying to evaluate how best to put down the Second Intifada while accurately assess a growing threat from Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza. The spectre of the near disaster that the 1973 Yom Kippur War almost was played heavily on the minds of Israeli leaders. None of them wanted to relive the surprise attack the Egyptians pulled off and the near defeat of the Isreali Defense Forces.

As I am write, I have to keep these and other related world events in mind. In fact, as I was struggling, - see blog called “Struggles” - I realized I didn’t account for the effect of some of these events on the plot. It means I have to go back and re-do sections to accommodate them. Joys of writing historical novels!