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A King without a Kingdom

Hagai Dagan
Set in biblical times, this novel binds the ancient past to contemporary Israel in a riveting, intelligent thriller that moves between various parts of the globe. It also offers an alternative history of the Jewish people while leveling criticism at the radical fringes of Israeli society.
Eilam Krieger, an Israeli security agent, follows subversive elements in the academic world. When his father disappears, the day after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's funeral, Eilam starts receiving information about a Jewish underground identified with the dynasty of King Saul. The members of the group see themselves as descendants of the ancient Jewish king whose kingdom was taken from him and given to David. According to the Saulists, the State of Israel is a direct continuation of the House of David, and the time has come to rebel and return Saul's heir to the throne. Urged on by curiosity, Eilam slowly discovers that Saul has had a following down the ages: a marginal group filled with false prophets, kabbalists, researchers of Judaism and plain eccentrics. Hartmut Kreutzer, who heads the German branch and views himself as Saul's rightful heir, even joins Islamic terror groups - he wants to acquire weapons for his struggle for power. In the meantime, there is also unrest among the settlers of the occupied territories as well as among a group of women in Moravia, who have their own tradition. They believe that Saul's legitimate heir is not a man but a woman, because Saul's son - by the Witch of Endor - relinquished the throne. Dagan's intricate story thus also includes a struggle between the sexes, and it leads to Eilam's colleague, Tai, who helps him solve the historical riddle. After seeking her roots in Estonia, Tai discovers that she is the rightful heir. Eilam, too, makes some surprising discoveries about his parents, his family roots, and his links with the Saulist tradition. But the dream of a kingdom does not attract him. He prefers to live in the real world.
Dagan's novel is a work of historical and mythical depth, fraught with conspiratorial suspense. This is a unique book that juggles passionately with the burdens of the unresolved Jewish past.  


As far as social and cultural plausibility go, this book touches on the core of our reality and drives its nails into its flesh … A King without a Kingdom is a sophisticated and well-written book that uses history to present an idea that is relevant to our day and age

Haaretz Sefarim


At last, a truly brilliant and truly funny Israeli novel.



An intelligently written, fascinating historical thriller bursting with facts and imagination … Dagan weaves a complicated plot and wisely leaves the novel open ended. He does not force any answers down the reader's throat.



A King without a Kingdom is an excellent read … Besides his precise and sensitive language, Dagan has a good grip on historical-cultural knowledge that makes the conspiracy in the novel even more plausible, and sustains a sense of suspense that lasts throughout the book … He also dots his fantasy novel with good comic interludes.  



It's very worthwhile to befriend this book.



Underneath the light appearance of a conspiracy-imaginative suspense novel, we find a novel that offers us a subversive theological outlook and a firm political stance … It is written in rich, sensitive and precise language, its descriptions are vivid and colourful and it has enjoyable comic interludes.

Makor Rishon


This is a sexy, juicy book brimming with theological dynamite … Dagan  impressively and rather bravely constructs the alternative Saulist myth. 

Iton Tel Aviv


Dagan gracefully dishevels not only the Jewish myth, but also the whole tradition of conspiracy books.



If this book reminds you of The Da Vinci Code, you aren’t completely wrong, although A King without a Kingdom surpasses it in almost every respect.


The King Has No Land
Title A King without a Kingdom
Author’s Last Name Dagan
Author's First Name Hagai
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Xargol
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2005
No. Pages 344 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) La-Melech Ein Bayit
Representation Represented by ITHL


The Ministry of Culture and Sport announced the names of the winners of the Arik Einstein Veterans Artists Prize.
A prize of 50,000 NIS was given to each of the 21 artists who worked and are still working to promote Israeli culture in various fields -Music, dance, theater, plastic arts, cinema and literature. In the literature category the winners were Ronny Someck, Jacob Buchan and Shlomit Cohen-Assif. Also, Anat Masiach is among the recipient of the prize for debut literary works. Congratulations!
Congratulations to Ronit Matalon, the recipient of the 2017 Brenner prize for her book 'And the Bride Closed the Door". And, congratulations to Amir ziv, the recipent of the first ever Brenner prize for debut novels.
Ronit Matalon's book tells the story of Margie, a young bride, who shuts herself up in her mother's bedroom and declares that she won’t get married. Her family gathers at the locked door, not knowing what to do. Amir Ziv tells a story that begins as an apparently routine correspondence between a prying citizen, secretly in love with his neighbor, and a conscientious municipal clerk, and developes into an uncovering of a great underlying drama.
The fourth German-Hebrew/Hebrew-German translation workshop April 29 to May 5, 2018 Beit Ben-Yehuda, Jerusalem
After workshops in Berlin, Jerusalem and Straelen, the workshop will return to Jerusalem this spring. This workshop will focus on the participants translations. These are unfinished translations that have not yet been published. These will be sent to all participants. The workshop is open to 10 participants and is intended for literary translators with experience and publications. Workshop facilitators: Anne Birkenhauer and Gadi Goldberg Prerequisites: At least one published translation Duration: Sunday, April 29, 2018 until Saturday, May 5, 2018 Location: Beit Ben-Yehuda, 28 Ein Gedi St., 93383 Jerusalem Participation fee: Participation (Accommodation and meals) is free of charge. Travel / flight expenses will be refunded. For more details and for the documents required for submitting application: Anne Birkenhauer, and Gadi Goldberg,
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is one of the 100 notable books of 2017 of the "New York Times".

Congratulations to Zeruya Shalev and Shifra Horn for receiving the 2017 Adei Wizo Prize.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award! The books on the longlist are selected by 400 libraries worldwide. Titles are nominated on the basis of ‘high literary merit’ as determined by the nominating library.
Call for application: Artists in Residence Programme in Austria. Please note the deadline: September 18th, 2017.
In co-operation with KulturKontakt Austria, the Austrian Federal Chancellery makes available 50 residencies to visual artists / art photographers / composers / video and media artists / writers / literary translators and arts and cultural educators in Vienna and Salzburg for the year 2018. For more details:
ITHL director on Grossman's win
"Grossman winning is not only his own achievement, but the achievement of the Hebrew literature as a whole", - Nilli Cohen on the first Hebrew author to receive Man Booker International Prize. Click here for the full article in Hebrew.
Yitzchak Mayer's personal website goes live
English edition of Yitzchak Mayer's amazing "Silent Letter" is about to come out with Mosaic Press. Learn more about the author's incredible life story on his brand new website.
MHL - New webzine starting soon!