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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


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

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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:
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MHL - New webzine starting soon!