The Vase of Many Colors by Steve Shear.
The Vase of Many Colors explores the orthodoxic ills in Western Religions in ways that tap into the emotions of ordinary readers looking for serious and important content while at the same time wanting a truly exciting story. To achieve all this, the novel utilizes three distinct parts in which first-person accounts describe the journey of Ira Neebest from birth until he returns from the jungles of India after being kidnapped by ISIS and the Iranian Ayatollah for writing The First Coming, a Nobel Prize winning novel about the evils of religious orthodoxy.
The first part (Book One) portrays Ira’s parents and their love affair made in heaven… if only they were left alone to relish it. It also portrays their family, religious Jews on Ira’s maternal side and devout atheists on his paternal side. That in and by itself makes for serious conflicts, but that’s the least of it. When Rebecca, Ira’s mother, becomes pregnant out of wedlock carrying Ira in her belly, all hell breaks loose. She is disowned by her father and despised by her mother-in-law. What happens to them reminds me of Romeo and Juliet, well at least Juliet. The second part (Book Two) revolves around Ira’s wife, Natalie who is born into a truly dysfunctional, poor Catholic family and abandoned at the age of ten. She is left at a Catholic boarding school, raped at the age of fifteen by a monk teaching there, and then accused of causing his demise. Much later she meets and falls in love with Ira at an art studio in Florence, Italy. She cannot imagine what is to follow, nor can the reader. The third part (Book Three) describes Ira’s remarkable journey including his own book, The First Coming, and the trouble it causes him and Natalie. He is shot, kidnapped by Iranian extremists’ intent on beheading him; he is left to die in the Indian jungle where he confronts a giant white tiger and other creatures during his fits of delusion. Or maybe not a delusion? In the meantime, Natalie is poisoned by the same extremists and remains in a coma.
All of this between the front cover that displays the very vase of many colors and the back cover that quotes one of the many 5 Star reviews this novel has received thus far.
5 Stars: The life and times of Ira Neebest!
This is a review of ‘The Vase of Many Colors’ by Steve Shear. It is a triadic NOVELization exploring the orthodoxic ills in Western Religions and utilizes three distinct parts in which first-person accounts describe the journey of Ira Neebest from birth until he returns from the jungles of India after being kidnapped by ISIS and the Iranian Ayatollah for writing a Nobel Prize winning novel about the evils of religious orthodoxy (The First Coming). On this journey we first learn about Rebecca, Ira’s mother, who is constantly doing battle with guilt driving forces in her own Hasidic background as she runs from a marriage arranged by her Hasidic father into the arms of a devout atheist (An Eye for an Eye). And we love Natalie, Ira’s wife, who as a child is abandoned by her parents at a Catholic boarding school but grows up to be an outstanding portrait artist and a pawn used by ISIS to capture Ira (Black Hearts & and Hungry Bears).
Each of the three books can be purchased separately or in a single volume. I gave each of these three stand-alone books a 5 Star review as they became available which means that the triadic volume receives a 5 Star review.
Let me first revisit my 5 Star review for ‘An Eye for an Eye’. Author Steve Shear skillfully brings the reader into this book of ‘The Vase of Many Colors’ with a strong ‘Prologue’ set on July 4, 1973 in New York City. After stalking a rabbi and meeting him face to face, a Stranger passes a newsstand and catches a quick glimpse of the headline Jerusalem Rabbi is found dead in his hotel room. Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ zero in on the ills of religious orthodoxy and extreme ideology. Author Steve Shear approaches the same age-old questions with imagery, personal relationships, and consequences affecting his characters in ways that melt from the page onto the reader’s lap.
The characters are vivid and the story well written. The underlying conflicts are as old as humanity, as two young people try to come to terms with family structure, with religious and non-religious indoctrination resulting in the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain of seen and perceived hypocrisy, and with the death trap of fear, guilt, and revenge.
In 5 Star ‘Black Hearts & Hungry Bears’, you will meet Ira’s wife Natalie, her friend Sam, and her grandfather Harry. The meat of the story centers around Natalie’s confrontation with the Catholic Church, and Sam’s also. Their stories, while similar and different, are raw and challenging, and they will test your intelligence. And they may provoke religious conflict in your predetermined mindset. Much of this is told by Natalie after she finds herself in a semi-conscious state, all because she was poisoned by ISIS in order to kidnap Ira. Snippets of time race through her mind like a movie on fast forward and rewind, her abuse by a Catholic priest, her growing friendship with Sam, and her trial after being accuses of murdering the priest.
The Third 5 Star book in this triad is ‘The First Coming’. It is there that the reader learns all about Ira, his own novel, how difficult it is getting published, and the anguish it causes him and Natalie. We also learn how he is abducted and what happens to him in the Jungles of India after the plane he is on crashes, a plane carrying him to ISIS country for a public beheading. It is also in this book that we come to know the elderly Soma Nole, an enigma who is clearly more than she claims to be.
All in all, I highly recommend ‘The Vase of Many Colors’.
Editorial Review (Book Marketing Global Network).
Volume of Three Books in the ‘The Vase of Many Colors’ Series
Paperback: 740 Pages
Publisher: Catalina Sun Press: 2nd Edition (January 15, 2022)
Global Library: Fiction (Literary)
Message From Author Steve Shear: My early paintings (1986 – 2013) can best be described as expressionistic and surreal portraiture/figure, often larger than life. Most are from live models and from my sculptures, but others come from my imagination. My objective was to elicit an emotional response through composition, color, shapes, and the application of paint, while at the same time retaining the correct anatomy, either realistically or through purposeful exaggeration. In the latter part of that earlier period, I pushed the envelope by combining abstraction with these real and surreal approaches to the figure in order to create a synergistic result. One example of combining these approaches is the Sisters of Baghdad.
Many of my ideas came from my drawings (virtually thousands of them) which were created out of my head on almost a daily basis. An example of this is The Chess Queen. In 2013 I put the paint brushes and sculpting tools aside and began writing fiction, first poetry then novels, screenplays, and stage plays. Six of my novels have been published and two of my stage plays. See below.
In 2020 I began painting again. This time I turned to color and shapes rather than portraiture and figure. My paint is applied in thick layers exaggerated even more so by multiple layers of glue serving as an underpinning. The glue not only adds thickness to the paint but also runs in ways which produces unique shapes that take on lives of their own. Several examples are shown on this website.
Two of my more recent paintings (immediately below) are truly larger than life depictions of a ‘Vase of many Colors’ and of the Greek mythological bad lady Medea. Each painting is 32×48 and relies heavily on multiple layers of glue to add ‘serious’ thickness to the paint.
In the past, my work was exhibited at a number of galleries in Boulder, Denver, Tucson, and here in Brentwood California. I spent five years painting under the watchful eyes of Jean Packard, a graduate of the Chicago Art Institute, two summers at the Charles Cecil Art Studio in Florence, Italy, and several years at the Boulder Art Academy in Boulder, Colorado. I also trained in sculpting under Valentin Okorokov, an accomplished Russian trained painter and sculptor.
The Trials of Adrian Wheeler was my first published novel (L&L Dreamspell, 2011). It was awarded runner-up in the San Francisco Book Festival 2015. I am happy to say that The Trials of Adrian Wheeler has been optioned as a movie by EVW Entertainment (producer of the movie Break the Stage), and the screenplay has been written by Erik Wolter and me. EVWE is now looking for partners to produce the movie.
The Wild Rose Press published The Fountain of Youth, my second published novel, in May of 2017. It has received exceptional reviews, some of which appear on Amazon and Goodreads. Also, the stage play has just been completed. The screenplay has also been written by Erik Wolter and me. EVWE is now looking for partners to produce the movie. The Click, my third novel, was published by The Wild Rose Press in September of 2019, again the screenplay has been written by Erik Wolter and me. EVWE is now looking for partners to produce the movie.
All three books of my trilogy, Confronting Religious Fanaticism – An Eye for an Eye, Black Hearts & Hungry Bears, and Ira Neebest and The First Coming have been published. In addition, my first book of poetry, Metaphorically Speaking was just published.
My wife, Susan, and I collaborated on The State vs. Max Cooper and The Steele Deal (published by ArtAge Publications), courtroom plays in which the audience serves as the jury. Both are being produced around the country.
I have been writing poetry for over fifteen years (some of which has been published) and am also a portrait and figure artist and sculptor, having been represented by a number of galleries in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. I am presently represented by the Delta Gallery in Brentwood, California and online by Vango Art. I spent two summers at the Charles Cecil Art Studio in Florence Italy and several years at the Boulder Art Academy.
I practiced patent, trademark, copyright and other forms of intellectual property law for over 40 years, and I was the executive director and founder of Silicon Valley Seminars. We conducted intellectual Property workshops throughout this country, Israel, Germany, and Canada since 1984.
Prose Poetry Paintings and More by Steve Shear:
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Paintings-Drawings and Sculpture For Sale by Artist Steve Shear
Author’s Page At Book Marketing Global Network: