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Bestseller; English translation available (for publishers only)

The Third

The startling events in this novel take place in the near future, and are documented by Jonathan, a Jewish prince imprisoned in the citadel in Jaffa after the destruction of Israel by its enemies.

Some twenty years earlier, Tel Aviv and other coastal cities were destroyed in a nuclear attack, and in its wake Yeho’az, a charismatic junior officer, seized control of the armed forces, expelled all non-Jews and founded the Kingdom of Judah. Crowned king, he built the Third Temple in Jerusalem, with sacrificial rites – now the central feature of national life – conducted as in Biblical times. Yeho’az is assisted by his sons: David, his strong and handsome firstborn, is in charge of the military; hedonistic Yo’el is responsible for Temple worship, and his youngest, loyal and trusting Jonathan, manages the Temple calendar.

Jonathan has been physically handicapped since childhood, following a terror attack intended to kill his father. Now, however, he learns that his father ran away from the attackers, leaving him behind. His father’s image is further tarnished during the critical weeks of a military campaign outside the kingdom’s borders. The war gets tougher, more and more soldiers are killed. David is critically wounded, Yo’el flees the country with his family, and famine spreads through the land. But Yeho’az, who has delusions of grandeur, refuses to surrender and in an appalling moment, prepares to sacrifice his infant son – born to his second wife – in order to appease the deity. And then, the kingdom falls…

A courageous, disconcerting and powerful novel, a dark futuristic allegory, a warning sign for the present.

Winner of the 2016 Bernstein Prize for young Hebrew writers

French, Italian
Title The Third
Writer's Last Name Sarid
Writer's First Name Yishai
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
No. Pages 259pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Shlishi
  • “The project is audacious, and the masterful orchestration of the story and its poetic tone are at the height of this audacity. And so are the questions it raises…Beautiful and chilling.”

    Patricia Reznikov, Le Nouveau Magazine Littéraire
  • “An extreme novel that reads like a warning.”

    Biblioteca Magazine
  • “ Yishai Sarid has emerged as a polished storyteller whose writing is lucid, almost transparent, and poetic even though he consciously avoids any poetic pretence … The Third is well written, precise and sharp, and its dialogue with… Hebrew literature as well as speculative literature is deep and fertile.”

    The Bernstein Prize Committee
  • “ The most apocalyptic, futuristic, historical and perhaps also most realistic novel published in Israel in recent years … Sarid holds the reader in thrall … Sarid assembles the story’s mosaic with infinite patience and precision, injecting literary glue into the crevices created between the stones. The small details spawn deep meanings, layers of history, politics, relations between people, that take shape gradually and burrow their way deep into the reader’s psyche … Sarid succeeds in packing his short novel with a multitude of themes, conflicts, metaphors and allegories. The Third is a work that will generate extensive and deep literary, theological, cultural and political discussion. It is a work that continues to hold the reader in its grip long after he or she finishes it.”

    Maya Guez, Haaretz
  • “Written with the great skill that was evident in the writer’s previous two books. Sarid’s style of writing is very flowing … He keeps the reader engrossed.”