Welcome to the website of Peter Blauner, New York Times bestselling novelist, TV writer, and Edgar® award winner.
"On rare occasions I read a book that reminds me of why I fell in love with storytelling in the first place. This is such a book."
With equal parts suspense, history, and drama, Picture in the Sand is a mesmerizing tale about faith, family, and the enduring power of storytelling.
In 1954, Ali Hassan lands a dream job as Cecil B. DeMille’s personal assistant on the set of the movie The Ten Commandments.
In 2014, Ali has become an Egyptian-American businessman who has kept the full story of what really happened on that set a closely guarded secret.
But now there’s an urgent reason to share the truth: his grandson Alex has run off to Syria to become a holy warrior. Alex says this journey is his destiny. But Ali understands better than Alex believes he does. Because Ali knows how this movie can end.
"Blauner’s epic is a triumph, a story within a story, and a Bible story within a movie. It manages to meld a clear-eyed view of modern-day terrorism with the incredible true life history behind the making of Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments in Egypt. His characters rise from these pages not as the types they could be in lesser hands, but as individuals―flawed, irreducible, doomed by their historical time and limited consciousness―all too human. In the end, Picture in the Sand looks at the mess in front of us and behind us, and affirms, like Scheherazade, that stories can save us."
"Peter Blauner takes a fascinating moment in cinema history as the starting point for a richly imagined, propulsive and timely novel about the intersection of Western hubris and Middle Eastern reality. Caught in the middle are a set of vividly drawn characters whose ideals and ideologies are challenged and who make choices that reverberate through their lives in powerful and moving ways."
—Marisa Silver, Author of Mary Coin and The Mysteries