Wages of Empire by Michael J. Cooper ~ Book Tour and Giveaway 6/19 – 7/19

In the summer of 1914, sixteen-year-old Evan Sinclair leaves home to join the Great War for Civilization. Little does he know that, despite the war raging in Europe, the true source of conflict will emerge in Ottoman Palestine since it’s from Jerusalem where Kaiser Wilhelm II dreams to rule as Holy Roman Emperor.

Wages of Empire

by Michael J. Cooper

Genre: YA Historical WWI Fiction

Grand prize winner – 2022 CIBA Dante Rossetti Award for YA fiction

First place honors – 2022 CIBA Hemingway Award for wartime fiction

#1 Amazon Best Seller—Jan 2024—Historical World War I Fiction

In the summer of 1914, sixteen-year-old Evan Sinclair leaves home to join the Great War for Civilization. Little does he know that, despite the war raging in Europe, the true source of conflict will emerge in Ottoman Palestine, since it’s from Jerusalem where the German Kaiser dreams to rule as Holy Roman Emperor.

Filled with such historical figures as Gertrude Bell, T.E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, Faisal bin Hussein and Chaim Weizmann, Wages of Empire follows Evan through the killing fields of the Western Front where he will help turn the tide of a war that is just beginning, and become part of a story that never ends.

“Masterful storytelling will keep you furiously turning the pages of this compelling (historical WWI) novel. A winner!”–Andrew Kaplan, New York Times Best-Selling Author of Blue Madagascar and the Homeland Novels

“The characters, historical and fictional, come to life on the page as the storyline drives relentlessly forward. Bravo!”–Matt Coyle, bestselling author of the Rick Cahill novels

“A beautifully written tale…exhibits seamless research in illuminating unforgettable historical and fictional characters…a tour de force!” –Professor Ronit Meroz, Dept of Jewish Philosophy and Talmud, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

“This superb historical novel is a must read…directly relates to issues we face today.” –Rizek Abusharr – Emeritus Director General of Jerusalem International YMCA

“Cooper has made this period of history come alive. It is a treat to read.” –Rabbi David Zisenwine, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Education, Tel Aviv University

“A Young Indiana Jones–style adventure.” –KIRKUS reviews

“Story is gripping and the characters that he describes come alive through his skillful writing. I couldn’t put it down!” –Rabbi Gordon Freeman, Ph.D., Rabbi Emeritus, B’nai Shalom, Walnut Creek, CA

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April 18, 1911


The Temple Mount was shrouded in darkness. It was the dead of night yet sounds of digging echoed within the Dome of the Rock.

Gunter von Wertheimer knew the sounds well—the steady scrape of a shovel, the bite of a pick, and the whisper of soil poured from full panniers.

Cloaked in a hooded robe, he stood in the shadow of the shrine and looked up at the sky. Among the bright points of stars, the constellation of the scorpion hovered over the Dome; the sharp stinger formed by a bright star the Arabs called Lasa’a, poised to strike.

As the digging continued, another sound whispered out of the darkness.

“It’s time.”

He knew the voice was that of his friend and fellow archeologist, Rahman B’Shara, a hulking shadow in the darkness.

“You know what you must do,” said Gunter.

“It’s strange, though,” Rahman murmured. “When Walker first came, I thought he was like the others—just another greedy treasure hunter, anxious to get his hands on the golden vessels hidden beneath the Foundation Stone. But once I joined the dig, I couldn’t believe how quickly it was progressing.”

“Do you still believe he’ll break through in the next few days?”

“No. He’ll break through in the next few hours.”

“Because of the spiritualists and clairvoyants he hired?”

“More likely, it’s the unchecked access he’s had to dig for the last two weeks. Walker also has a keen sense of which Ottoman officials to bribe—starting with the Turkish governor.” Rahman turned, stepped past Gunter and whispered, “There’s no time to lose.”

“Good luck, my friend.”

“Why do I need luck?”

“You know that better than I. His guards are well armed.”

Rahman smiled, his white teeth flashing in the starlight. “We have something more powerful than their guns.”

“Indeed. We have the power of the Temple.”

“In the end, yes, but I was speaking of a power of this world—the power of the mob.”

“And what a mob!” Gunter agreed. “Thousands of pilgrims in Jerusalem for the Feast of Nebi Musa! When they hear the Temple Mount has been desecrated by treasure hunters, Walker won’t need to enter the Temple to experience divine wrath.”

“Yes! The faithful will be quick to avenge this outrage.” Rahman bolted away, disappearing into the darkness.

Gunter knew he was heading to the Moslem Quarter beyond the northern edge of the sacred precincts. After a few seconds, he heard his voice calling out, echoing among the narrow lanes.

“Sacrilege! The Frengi are breaking the foundation stone! Sacrilege!”

Within seconds, two armed Turkish guards with torches shot out of the shrine and sprinted in the direction of Rahman’s voice.

Gunter flattened himself against the smooth tiles and watched as they came to a stop, apparently despairing as they heard the words Rahman was shouting.

“Arise to vengeance! The Turks have given over the Holy Mountain to the greed of infidels. Avenge the sacrilege! Arise!”

The guards ran back into the shrine and within seconds, Gunter heard the anxious voice of Montagu Walker.

“We must get out of here double quick! Hurry! Take whatever you can carry!”

As he waited in the shadows beneath the arches of the arcade, Gunter knew that Rahman had been the one best suited to infiltrate Walker’s scheme—to expose and stop him. Walker had hired him as his consulting archaeologist to give his treasure hunt the patina of a legitimate excavation—Rahman, who could trace his ancestry in Jerusalem back for a hundred generations.

Though Gunter had also been born in Jerusalem, he was the son of German Templers, and never completely trusted by the local population; suspected of working for the Germans, or the Ottomans, or both.

But Gunter served no colonial empire. He, like Rahman, was a Guardian of the Temple Mount, an order that traced its origins to a time before the holy mountain had a name, a time cloaked in the shadowed silence before history.

A line of flaming torches appeared along the northern border of the Temple enclosure. Shouts of execration filled the air.

Walker and his crew tumbled out of the Dome of the Rock, struggling with heavy sacks, shovels and picks that scraped and clattered on the paving stones.

“Leave that stuff!” Walker shouted. “Run for your lives!”

They rushed headlong away from the mob, frantically clawing past one another.

Gunter knew they were making for a gap in the southern border of the enclosure.

The mob surged forward in pursuit, the light of a thousand torches beneath the black sky.

Walker was finished.

The passages and chambers within the Temple Mount would remain sealed, as they had been for a thousand years.

But Gunter knew that others would come—drawn by the power and mystery of Jerusalem. And he also knew that the Guardians of the Temple Mount would be watching, and they would never rest.

His books have won multiple awards and include; Foxes in the Vineyard (winner of the 2011 Indie Publishing Contest Grand Prize), set in 1948 Jerusalem, The Rabbi’s Knight (finalist for the CIBA 2014 Chaucer Award for historical fiction) set at the twilight of the Crusades in 1290, and his current novel, Wages of Empire set at the start of WWI in 1914 and winner of the CIBA 2022 Grand Prize for young adult fiction as well as the Hemingway first prize for wartime historical fiction. A sequel of Wages of Empire, Crossroads of Empire, will be published in the fall of 2024, and the unpublished manuscript has already won first prize honors in the 2023 CIBA Hemingway wartime historical fiction category.

A native of Berkeley, California, Cooper absconded to Israel after high school and spent the next eleven years studying and working there. He lived in Jerusalem during the last year the city was divided between Israel and Jordan, studied at Hebrew University, and graduated from Tel Aviv University Medical School. He returned to the US to specialize in pediatric cardiology, and after 40 years of practice, he continues to return to the Middle East for biannual volunteer missions serving Palestinian children who lack access to care. Otherwise, he lives in Northern California with his wife and a spoiled-rotten cat. Three adult children occasionally drop by.

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 June 19
kickoff at Silver Dagger Book Tours
Bedazzled By Books

June 20
Lady Hawkeye
Painting With Words

June 21
Haley Cavanagh Books
Book Bites….with a side of coffee

June 24
Beautiful Books

June 25
Webs and Blogs For Writers

June 26
Celticlady’s Reviews

June 27
Country Mamas With Kids

June 28
Craving Lovely Books
Tracie’s World of Books

June 29
Anna del C. Dye official page

June 30
A Wonderful World of Words

July 1

J.M. Northrup
eBook Addicts

July 2
All The Write Stuff

July 3
I’m Into Books

July 4
Inside the Insanity

July 5
Girl with Pen
Kenyan Poet

July 8
Insane Books

July 9
Literary Gold

July 10
My beauty my books

July 11
Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’

July 12
Midnight Book Reader
The Scratching Post

July 15
Scrupulous Dreams
Royally Insane Books

July 16
The Book Dragon

July 17
The Bookshelf Fairy

July 18
Bookworm for Kids – REVIEW

July 19
Twisted Book Ramblings
Trixie Reports Books

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