The world you know is a lie. Global events are controlled by the Elders of Zion. And David Zelig wants to join them. Only the Elders can execute the justice he craves. There's only one problem. The Elders of Zion doesn't exist. It never did. So David rolls his own secret society. But he's not the only vigilante group in town.
With dark forces closing in on every side, David and his friends race from the skyscrapers of Manhattan through the secrets of Imperial Russia to an embarrassing relic from the dawn of Christianity. Along the way, David will learn about hatred. He will learn about love. And he will discover a very unusual egg. The web of conspiracy he uncovers will boggle the mind.
As time runs out in this zany, high-octane, and deliciously dark comedy thriller, David will face a shocking possibility. Have his good intentions accidentally triggered the worst antisemitic attack on American soil ever?
Audiobook read by the award-winning narrator Tim Campbell.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Transcript of interview with Mr. Hyman Schneider
Special Agent A. Maynard
Special Agent in Charge M. Reed
The fiasco began when Sol Zelig’s kid stopped by my Manhattan penthouse late one evening with the worst idea I’ve ever heard. And what a fiasco that was! You don’t need me to tell you that. The damage caused—the lives lost and property destroyed—boggles the mind. It simply boggles the mind. I think in your circles you’d call that a cluster fiasco. Am I right?
My apologies. I’m an old man. I get carried away. You’re busy people and so am I. I’ll cut to the chase.
Back to that fateful evening. This was about two months ago. Sol Zelig’s kid pitched me the worst idea I’ve ever heard. Trust me, I hear a lot of bad ideas. Young CEOs swarm to me like bees to a flower. Confident and dreamy-eyed to a man, they’ll promise you the stars in heaven above to get their seed money. But you’d better be careful. If you can’t tell the good investments from the bad, they’ll sting you. They’ll sting you bad.
I’d known David Zelig since his bar mitzvah. He’d filled out into a handsome young man with thick dark hair that needed a cut. He got his looks from his late father. If only he’d inherited his business sense, too.
It was his great-grandfather who started Zelig Pictures, you know. The Zelig progeny no longer ran the studios. David Zelig, the last of the family line, loved the industry but his heart wasn’t in management. He wrote screenplays—spy stories and conspiracy thrillers. The executives never greenlit his scripts for production, but rejection didn’t get him down. Zelig Pictures was still his family’s private company; he should never want for money. He should’ve been lazing on a yacht somewhere, sipping margaritas and chatting up pretty young women. Or so I thought.
Instead, he’d turned up here. He sat right over there where you’re sitting, his hands fidgeting with his whisky glass. After a minimum of small talk, he pitched me the mother of all bad ideas. The pitch was so bad I had trouble wrapping my head around it.
I said, “You mean like a secret society?”
“The secret society,” David told me. “The Elders of Zion. The one the Gentiles have always accused us of running. They already believe we control the world. What’s stopping us?”
Had this been anyone else, I would have kicked him out. But David’s late father had been a close friend. Over the years, he’d gotten me out of many a tight spot. The least I could do was steer his kid away from a colossal mistake.
“David,” I told him. “Why on God’s green earth would you want to get mixed up with such nonsense?”
A fire burned in the kid’s eyes. “You read the news, Hymie. There’s been one synagogue shooting after another. It’s like open season for anti-Semites, and law enforcement is powerless to stop them. Maybe it’s time we took matters into our own hands.”
The kid had good intentions, but he needed to calm down. So I poured him another shot of Balvenie and told him a story.
Two yids are sitting in a Berlin coffee shop in the nineteen thirties. One is reading a neo-Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer.
“How can you read that garbage?” the other yid says, outraged.
“Why not?” the first yid replies. “When I read the Jewish newspapers, I learn that the Jews are poor, persecuted, and at each other’s throats. When I read this paper, however, I discover that the Jews are wealthy and united, they control banks and are taking over the world. Which story do you prefer to read?”
I hammered home my point to avoid any misunderstandings.
“It’s a myth, David,” I told him. “A delusion. Jews are too busy bickering among themselves and worrying about what their Gentile neighbors think of them to pull off anything like a global Jewish conspiracy.”
He said, “I’ll settle for a national one.” This, you understand, was one very stubborn young man.
“There is no Elders of Zion society pulling the strings of history,” I told him. “Never was. Never could be. The ‘Jewish world domination’ fantasy is riddled with contradictions. It’s as irrational as anti-Semitism itself. People have hated Jews for promoting democracy and for promoting communism, for being rich and for being poor, for sticking to themselves and for trying to assimilate. In times of change and uncertainty, the haters look for scapegoats and they blame the Jews. But it’s all in their pickled brains. They pick on us because we are powerless.”
The kid still wasn’t backing down. “But what if we weren’t powerless? What if we worked together and fought back?”
“David, do you have any idea how difficult it would be to run a secret organization? Think about how many people would need to keep their mouths shut. That’s why all those conspiracy theories are wrong. Governments are barely competent enough to govern, never mind hide aliens or fake moon landings.”
Your organization excluded. I have great respect for you and your fellow FBI officers.
That’s “agents,” Mr. Schneider. We call FBI employees agents.
Thank you for pointing that out. Agent sounds much sexier, doesn’t it?
Where were we? Right. Conspiracy theories.
“It’s a fool’s errand,” I told him. “Forget about it. You don’t need the money. And as for power—power is just a bull’s-eye painted on your head. It’s not worth it, David.”
The kid deflated like an old party balloon. He seemed weighed down by all the world’s problems. Only later did I learn the true reason behind his crackpot scheme. You see, David had just lost Zelig Pictures. The last remaining Zeligs had been cheated out of their family legacy and all that went with it. David knew this for a fact but he couldn’t prove it. And so his mind had filled with conspiracies.
“I’m glad you turned to me for advice,” I told him. “I’m flattered. And I’m sorry to be so blunt. But cheer up, for God’s sake. Find something better to do with your time and energy. For example, you could find a nice young woman and settle down. Your father would have liked that.”
David Zelig sighed. Then he shook my hand and left. But do you think he listened to me? Ha! If he had, we wouldn’t be sitting here, would we?
★★★★★ “Highly imaginative and hugely entertaining. This fast-moving thriller is highly recommended.”
★★★★★ “Very well-written and downright funny. Fans of dark humor will thoroughly enjoy this.”
★★★★★ “Da Vinci Code meets Mission Impossible in Area 51... This is a great read, which I devoured at one sitting. Recommended!”
★★★★★ “Targets timely issues while engaging the reader in a wild tale of dark humor and adventure. A thriller that just keeps giving.”
★★★★★ “Dan Sofer never disappoints. His wit and humor shine through his characters... What a fun escape from reality. I especially enjoyed the BIG surprise ending.”
★★★★★ “Underneath all the laughter runs a much deeper story... I loved it from start to finish.”
★★★★★ “Settle in for a great read with more twists and turns than a Gordian knot.”
★★★★★ “Impossible to put down!”