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Peter Blauner Peter Blauner Peter Blauner
Peter Blauner
Picture in the Sand
January 3, 2023

Picture in the Sand

Coming January 2023!

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.

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"With the magic only the finest storytellers can summon, Blauner has conjured a tale where epic reality—the making of Cecil B. DeMilles The Ten Commandments—is woven into a story of adventure, suspense, mystery, love, sorrow, assassination plots, prison breaks, and deep appreciation for the movies. I found this impossible to put down. An authentic tour de force, the kind you lay aside to read again."
   —Stephen King

"I think Peter Blauner is better than Grisham, better than Patricia Cornwell.”
   —James Patterson

"One of the most consistently bracing and interesting voices in American crime literature."
   —Dennis Lehane

"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."
   —David Duchovny

"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