Book Jacket


rank 5918
word count 14234
date submitted 25.07.2009
date updated 21.12.2009
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Historic...
classification: moderate

Goliath's Head

Alan Fleishman

Born under the Tsar's heel, Avi Schneider has known nothing but shame and fear. Tonight on the barricades, he must find his courage.


In 1905, Russia teeters on the rim of revolution. To divert the people's wrath, Tsar Nicholas unleashes mob riots - pogroms - against the poor, teeming Jewish villages. In one of those villages, the mob is coming to kill the men, rape the women, and burn the village to the ground. A young man, Avi Schneider, commands a small band of Jewish fighters determined to stop them. "Viktor Askinov will be leading them. And tonight I will kill him." Avi wants vengeance against his childhood tormentor. But if he shoots Viktor Askinov, he puts his beautiful young wife and newborn son in mortal peril.

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jewish theme, pogrom, russia

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bunderful wrote 993 days ago

I couldn't help but be interested in this title (and if you go check out my novel I think you'll understand why). You cast a spell with your words, drawing the reader in from the very first sentence. I started reading and had to stop myself so I could leave a comment! Otherwise I could be reading all day...did you self-publish this or did you go through an agent or publisher? Have you written other things?

I love the way you tell this tale. Going back to read more.

Check out my novel if you get a chance - I would be very interested in hearing your comments.

All the best,

Rena (Bunderful) author of Master of the Miracles

Alan F wrote 996 days ago

E.R. - Thanks for the kind words. I actually published Goliath's Head about 15 months ago so rarely visit Authonomy. Goliath's Head has exceeded all of my expectations in every way. It is now available in hardcover, soft cover, and electronically through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kindle, iBooks, Google Books, etc. If you read the rest of it, I'd love to hear your comments. You can reach me at That's my website, where you can get some feel for what's been happening with GH:
And I'll back yours.

Thanks - Alan

Eponymous Rox wrote 997 days ago

Alan, this is a highly-polished manuscript and if I had the resources I'd publish it myself! Do reconsider the prologue, however, because it spoils a terrific opening chapter and isn't offering anything vital that we can't expect to find as we read along.

*I see you haven't been here in 100+ days so I hope you are not discouraged and that you are well. I have rated and placed your fine work on my bookshelf today and shortly will add it to my website, too. Very best of luck with 'Goliath's Head'. I am certain it would sell, and, most assuredly, I would buy it.


Nigel Fields wrote 1175 days ago

Goliath's Head is a book I would buy. The theme would make me pick it off the shelf. The prologue would have me taking it to the register. I read the first two chapters and am interested in reading more. I'm placing this on my WL with intent.
John B Campbell (Walk to Paradise Garden)

RossClark1981 wrote 1176 days ago

This was the first book I watchlisted when I signed up here and I'm glad I've finally gotten around to it. It was a real joy to read. If I were pushed to name one favourite author I'd probably go with Isaac Basehivis Singer so I was hoping I would get something with similarities to his work here - and I wasn't dissappointed. There is a real sense of the time and place, the vibrant Jewish societies of 19th century eastern Europe, which you've achieved with thorough research, lightly worn.

Like Singer, the vocabulary is also relatively simple - which is perfect for a story told through a boy's eyes, and there is a depth of emotion in immensely readable prose. The discussions over religion are another similarity and add to the atmosphere you've created.

On top of that we have the sense of foreboding, etched in our minds by the prologue and ever present throughout as we know the violence is inevitably going to come.

The characters are also wonderfully sketched out , Avi's father and Yakov being particular favourites.

The only thing that bothered me slightly was naming the setting as 'Russia' at the very beginning. Technically we are in the Russian Empire at the time but this is clearly Ukraine. Should it be marked as such now throgh our contemporary eyes? I don't know, this is clearly nitpicking. It just jarred a little for me.

I can't understand why this isn't much higher in the charts. I can only imagine that it was once and the author is no longer all that active. In any case, I hope it's doing well in the outside, non-authonomy, world. It seems to have all the makings of an excellent novel.

All the best with it,


lionel25 wrote 1435 days ago

Alan, your prologue is full of emotion. You obviously invested a lot of time and research into this story.

Good job overall. Shelved with pleasure.

Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

Bocri wrote 1436 days ago

18 May 2010
Goliath's Head - a title to stimulate the juices of literary curiosity. And it works. There is a dichotomy in what is generally known of the Jewish race. On one side there are those , despite the Old Testament, turn the other cheek and there are those who are prepared to stand, fight and retaliate like Sabra. This work details and describes with almost clinical accuracy the conditions, atmosphere and emotions associated the Pogroms in the old Eastern Europe. By this I mean, I could sense and empathise with the fear caused and identify with the desire to fight back, defend and survive. The prose is clear and unambiguous, undeniably concise with strong imagery and a positive pace. The characterisation is reliable, credible and three dimensional. A definite 'got to read' novel. Backed. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run.

Becca wrote 1465 days ago

Very intense read. I felt the sense of immediacy when the family was ducked below the window, the men chanting outside and growing closer.
The Forever Girl

Burgio wrote 1466 days ago

This is an interesting story. I have no background in Russian history so reading this was a learning experience as well as enjoying a good story. You have a good character in Avi. He's both courageous and likable. The kind of character a reader wants to follow through to the end of this to see how it all plays out. Makes this a good read. I’m adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

Kidd1 wrote 1469 days ago

Sad but true. This is a story that needs telling, and you did it with a sensitive and caring voice. Dialogue, narrative, and tone are perfect. Best of luck. BACKED

I hope you will have a look at mine, and if you like it as much as I liked yours, please back it.

Golden Conspiracy

JOSEPH CANNING wrote 1542 days ago

Dear Alan – This is a very well-written book and, as one who likes to consider himself a student of history, the story is one that touches me deeply and, I would think, would touch many, many others, too. You have captured the life and times of the Jews of the Ukraine superbly. I can’t fault ‘Goliath’s Head’ so far as it goes. You walk the streets with Avi and experience his home life. You really do feel as though you are following him, looking over his shoulder and listening to his parents’ conversations and those of his friends. It is all so real – the helplessness the Jews under the Tsar, the daily fear with which they had to live, the viciousness of the pogroms. I wish you had put up more chapters. I read all six – and I wanted to read more. I note you are publishing it. I hope it crosses the Atlantic to Britain. I shall keep an eye out for ‘Goliath’s Head’ in our British book stores. It should be going up the charts not down! I hope this is reversed. Meanwhile, I will do my little bit by willingly backing it.
Incidentally, my wife (nee Lobel) and I were in north eastern Romania – at a town called Iassi, not far from the Ukraine border – only last year visiting the Jewish cemetery there to search for her grandparents’ graves at the same time as a service of remembrance was being held in the graveyard for the several thousand victims of the June 1941 pogrom there when some of Carol’s distant relatives died. I have researched that to find out what happened to them, which is why I found your book so realistic and wanted to read on. It happened. Good luck with the publication. – JOE CANNING (
(PS: An American called David Mendelsohn (?not sure of spelling), an ex-New York Times journalist, recently published a very good book about going back to find out what happened to his uncle and cousins in a small Ukrainian town during the war. Harrowing and sad, but can't remember title. Sorry.)

David Fearnhead wrote 1548 days ago

As a lover of History and as someone with a keen interest in Russia, I was actually familiar with this historic event. Sadly not many can say the same. You have brought this story out into the light and evoke the feelings of those involved strongly. This is a book deserving to be read by many.
Bailey of the Saints

Jupiter Echoes wrote 1554 days ago


I get very little from comments about my own book, nowadays. Some people like it, some don't. Some people are too frightened to leave genuine feedback, while others seek to enforce their own style upon me. I want to get to the Ed's Desk to get professional comment. I would rather spend 30 quid than do all this reading and backing. I have got everything I want out of Authonomy community already. So I am backing your book so that you can reach the Ed's desk and get professional feedback, instead of the platitudes and devious backings that account for 80% of backing you receive. Only 20% of comments are genuine, and will add value to your work.

Now, who am I not to back you? I am not godlike. Your work might be flatly written, unoriginal or even down right bad. It could be wonderful. But in my experience, only you can be honest with yourself about your writing... and that is what matters.

So, I am backing you so you can reach the Ed's desk.

There you are.

Hope you reciprocate.

Alan F wrote 1581 days ago

Goliath's Head
Hi Andrew, and thank you very much for your comments. I am expecting to publish Goliath's Head early in 2010 under my own imprint. I'll let you know when I do.

Alan F

Hi Alan,

This is very clever, I know little of the historical details of this moment in human experience but I don't need to in your safe hands. It begins immediately, a prologue that is doing what a prologue should do, plunging us headlong into a ripping yarn. We are experiencing the seeds of the revolution that brought us the modern Soviet Bloc and the intrigue, politics and internecine warfare that you explore is complex but at no time did I feel lost. This is because you do the writerly thing well, you keep our eye as a reader perpetually on the key conflicts through a focus on the key characters, a strong book, a well written book and very well edited book. I did not have any nitpicks, enjoyed it too much. I am only sorry it took me so long to find this book on the site, best wishes and good luck

Andrew W
(Sanctuary's Loss)

Andrew W. wrote 1583 days ago

Goliath's Head

Hi Alan,

This is very clever, I know little of the historical details of this moment in human experience but I don't need to in your safe hands. It begins immediately, a prologue that is doing what a prologue should do, plunging us headlong into a ripping yarn. We are experiencing the seeds of the revolution that brought us the modern Soviet Bloc and the intrigue, politics and internecine warfare that you explore is complex but at no time did I feel lost. This is because you do the writerly thing well, you keep our eye as a reader perpetually on the key conflicts through a focus on the key characters, a strong book, a well written book and very well edited book. I did not have any nitpicks, enjoyed it too much. I am only sorry it took me so long to find this book on the site, best wishes and good luck

Andrew W
(Sanctuary's Loss)

Onthedottedline wrote 1586 days ago

I've travelled extensively in Russia and Ukraine, and it's a pity that, despite your grandfather's experience, there is still so much overt racism in those countries. No ethnic group has suffered oppression for so long and in so many parts of the world as the Jews. So your most excellent book both entertains and informs, telling a new generation about the consequences of bigotry and prejudice, and showing how low some humans can descend when goaded on by a political system. You write with authority and clarity, and I'm delighted to offer you my backing. Best wishes, Tony.

John Harold McCoy wrote 1587 days ago

Hi, Alan. This is interesting. A bit different from what I usually read but is well done so held my interest. You describe your characters very nicely through their ideas and feelings. The writing is comfortable and easy to read and the story develops well. Excellent prologue, as you called it but it looks like just chapter onw, by the way and I think you did a great job on the pitch. There is everything in there we need to know. I have no trouble backing this at all. On my shelf and the best of luck with it WJ.

John Harold McCoy - Bramwell Valley

eamonn walls wrote 1587 days ago

Hi :) I thought this was pretty good overall, though I have to disagree with TL Tyson about the opening, I thought the opening wasn't bad certainly but in my opinion it is perhaps not very original. Originality isn't the be-all of course, but it is helpful for the opening of a book. From a history point of view, I thought the flow was pretty good and it was very interesting, though maybe in places some of the history feels like it's generalising a little bit. Still overall I liked it and am happy to back :)

T.L Tyson wrote 1587 days ago

This is written in a vivid and engaging manner.
I love the opening prologue. The first line is a phenomenal hook.
Right from that opening I was drawn in. There is so much going on and you lead us through this story like dogs on leashes, even if we wanted to leave we wouldn't be able too. I was mesmerized with the rich way you write. You really are a master at weaving together this intricate story and connecting the plot points.
I tend to avoid historical fiction because I often find it is overrun with information but this is not so in this case. You do have gorgeous descriptions but they are not overly done and they leave the reader wanting more.
Such a pleasure to have found this on here.
T.L Tyson-Seeking Eleanor

Chris 1 wrote 1593 days ago

Hello Alan, since coming onto Authonomy in October, I've read lots of extracts of books. I've read some very good books. Sadly, yours is not among them. It's not a good book. It's an absolutely fucking GREAT book. And there's only a few chapters available, you swine. Please, either finish it or, if it's already finished, upload it.

It's based in one of my favourite periods. I've read about this part of Russian history extensively, though mainly through the history of the Bolshevik Party.

Russia was, as described by Lenin, 'a prison house of peoples'. The tsarist empire encompassed many different subjected nationalities and races. The Tsar was never above using race as a way to divide and rule any signs of revolt against him and his police, army and the fascist 'Black Hundreds' were tools of this oppression and, yes, the Orthodox church was also an arm of this tyranny. It kept the vast majority of the peasantry quiescent. Despite this, Russian history is littered with peasant uprisings, often led (and used) by disaffected noblemen and local national leaders amongst the subjugated nationals such as the Poles, Ukrainians, Turkestanis, Georgians etc. The Jewish population was at the bottom of the heap - very useful as scapegoats - hence the pogroms.

However, the semi-feudal Russian state, by the end of the 19th century, was changing. Vast amounts of foreign capital - German, French, British - was being invested and industrialisation began to expand. Many peasants became industrial workers and worked side by side in huge factories like the Putilov works. The Russian working class began to grow in numbers and in political consciousness as it had grown in the West and in the USA. No small part was played in this by the growth of the influence of Marxism. By this period, the Second International was already established right across the industrialised west and began to make inroads to Russia where the labour movement organised itself into unions represented by the Social Democratic Labour Party. Among their leaders were Lenin and Trotsky - another Jew. The Jewish Workers Bund was a part of this movement for a period, though its leaders preferred the Bund to remain separate. The Jews were doubly oppressed - as workers and racially, so often their workers were all the more radical. That said, many Jewish workers preferred to work alongside other nationals as well, recognising the need for maximum unity.

Your story pretty much uses some of this as a background. It is beautifully told. Avi and his friends question the conservatives and the very meaning of religion. We see Avi's family and how they interact around every day life and how they and their children endure poverty and oppression - the local noblewoman, the constable and his son, the pogroms. The scene of the Jewish community hiding from such a pogrom is vivid.

And then uncle Yakov arrives. What a brilliant character, wonderfully drawn, and such spirit, the role model Avi has been waiting for to prove Jewish people, or anyone who is held down, can fight back - though we don't yet know how the battle drawing up in the prologue will pan out.

If it is 1905, then it is a time of revolution. Trotsky himself led the workers and peasants councils (soviets) in Petrograd and, as a result, the Tsar was forced to make concessions and allow a limited parliament and limited elections until he could, and would, claw back power. Limited concessions helped derail the revolution and buy the tsarists time. Meanwhile, he used the Jewish pogroms to deflect attention from his rotten rule.

This is a classic story and I can't stop wondering how it will be finished. Please upload more.

Would you please consider reading mine - although a WWII novel - it touches on some of the same period. BACKED TO THE HILT.

Thanks for a great read - Chris1

andyroo wrote 1640 days ago

This has got a fair bit of action and pace for literary fiction, and I like that. But the traditional character-driven feel of literary fiction still lives on, giving this piece depth and breadth as well, making it more than just a thriller. Good work.


Michael Croucher wrote 1682 days ago

Hi Alan, a great start to Goliath's Head; it left no choice but to keep reading, the hook was well set.
I'm always happy to read stories with a historical setting, and this one is right up my alley.
I really like your uncluttered and crisp style of writing; nothing to detract from the story.
I hope I get back to read more of this. I'm happy to give this a bit of time on my shelf.
Michael Croucher (Bravo's Veil)

Bob Steele wrote 1685 days ago

Goliath's Head opens with a tense and well-written prologue that sets the scene and introduces the main protagonists. The transition to Avi's backstory in C2 is smooth, and the mix of dialogue and narrative skilfully adds flesh to the bones of the main character while also showing us the village and the wider anti-semitic forces at work. Overall this is an accomplished novel that I'm sure will do well and am happy to back.

Alan F wrote 1696 days ago

Helena, thank you so much for your kind words and for backing Goliath's Head.

Alan F

Helena wrote 1696 days ago

Hi Alan, this is gripping right from the start, your descriptions are brilliant and you place the reader right in the middle of the action through the main characters eyes. I'm hooked and your backed!
Helena (A Load of Rubbish)

Odysseus wrote 1697 days ago

No mistaking the intention here then. A gripping opening sentence:

“When they come, Victor Askinov will be leading them. And tonight I will kill him.”

Nor the background:

“The pogrom had begun. The mob would be coming soon, determined to slaughter the men, rape the women, and burn our village to the ground.”

Similar themes and discussions are very current today and are attracting the attention that comes after a period of shock, followed by reflection, analysis and then a looking back after the passage of time has put the events into a more comfortable time-frame called “history.” But then comes the vigilance phase. Might it all happen again? Is it happening again? This is why I believe we are seeing films and books emerging now and why this one might well be of the moment.

“The Tsar’s army lost its war with Japan, and now the whole country was coming apart. Peasants, workers, intelligentsia, gentiles, Jews - everyone in Russia - took to the streets protesting against Tsar Nicholas. All demanded political reform, and nothing less than a democratic congress would satisfy them. So the Tsar and his government did what they did whenever they were in trouble: They turned the madness of the masses against the Jews.... the Jews always submitted to these pogroms, these anti-Jewish riots, and waited for them to pass.”

And a story so well written as this deserves to be backed:

“Every fall when the leaves start to turn I think of the sunny September morning I met Uncle Yakov for the first time.
I was sweeping Poppa's tailor shop when I saw through the front window a man in an earth colored army uniform marching ramrod-straight down the street toward us. He carried a big duffle bag over his shoulder as easily as if it were a feather pillow. We never saw soldiers in our part of town so I was curious. He marched with his head high and his shoulders back, unlike the slump-shouldered Jews. He looked as squat and ferocious as a bulldog.”

Much more will undoubtedly be added but more than enough already for this to be Shelved.

Krista Darrach wrote 1698 days ago

Goliath's Head--
This is a very touching story. Right away I was captivated by the easy flow and the emotion portrayed between your characters. I'm moved that you've written this, and know it was probably more healing then most others who write.
I'm really at a loss for words. Excellent and on my shelf.
--Riley's Gift

agaian wrote 1702 days ago

Hi Alan

Powerful and very moving. i felt my stomach clench at the powerlessness of your Jewish characters and sickened at the brutality of the'Christian' ones.

Shelved for a period.

('Houses of Sand')

J&M JENSEN wrote 1704 days ago

The cover of this doesn't do Goliath's Head any favours, but the blurb is great - it caught my interest at once! And I wasn't disappointed, the tension as they wait for the Pogrom gang, the characters and the atmosphere sucked me right in. I hate Viktor Askinov - so I have to see him get his just desserts. It's great that you've made me care about your characters. For me that's what good literature is all about. I've read so many books where I came away with a sense of indifference. This is definitely NOT the case with Goliath's Head. I wish I had some nitpicks or helpful comments but Ir eally don't - this is brilliant writing!

(Do feel free to comment on Graemor if you have the time and inclination....)

Cooley Kronish wrote 1705 days ago

I found myself reading this a lot sooner than I expected.

Of what I've read so far, you are clearly invested in the story you're telling. You paint vivid pictures with your words, describing the plight both indirectly with images of persecution, and directly with descriptions of daily life in Uman, and the surroundings your protagonist finds himself in.

You're onto a real winner with this easily accessible work and it's on my shelf for the foreseeable future!

Keep it up.
- Cooley

Maria Luisa Lang wrote 1706 days ago

Dear Alan, This certainly deserves to be published: it’s beautifully written and highly compelling with characters that are well drawn and marvelously lifelike: Avi, your David, is extremely likable--indeed, I can’t recall a protagonist so easy to identify with--and his nemesis is genuinely scary and hateful.

I like how you begin the narrative in medias res, then leave Avi at his moment of peril--I say “like,” but actually I was a little perturbed with you for abandoning him and making me worry. The back story contains one vivid scene after another, all of them touching and memorable: it’s hard to choose a favorite, but the one in which Avi reacts to his father’s humiliation with anger and hatred had an especially strong effect on me because of its psychological accuracy.

You masterfully evoke a terrible and terrifying historical truth while also affirming such human values as faith, family, and friendship. A splendid achievement, a novel that’s actually literature.

Maria, The Pharaoh’s Cat

marion wrote 1707 days ago

A magnificent opening and a scary prologue. What can one say about the bravery of the people like the characters in your tale. It gripped my interest and attention and sympathy for Avi and his family. You write smoothly and tellingly of life in the village in the Ukraine. Your description of the bullying Constanble and son and the effect it had on a sensitive clever young boy is perfect. I have had this backed for a few days... will wlist now so Ican read on - this book deserves to get to the top.

Alan F wrote 1707 days ago

Shoshanna, thank you so much for validating me and my story. My father was from about 100 miles north of Odessa. I visited Odessa in 2005. It's not difficult to see how beautiful a city it must have once been. They have the most moving monument to their victims of the Holocaust and the pogroms. And that's amazing given their history. People like your great grandparents and my grandparents were heroes for coming to America. So many others stayed behind.

Alan F

Cas P wrote 1708 days ago

Hi Alan.
I really like the simplicity of your style, it complements the seriousness of your story. You have clear, concise descriptions, which make the prologue a tension-filled opening, and when you beging telling Avi's childhood tale, we are able instantly to see the world from his young eyes. His fear of Victor and the confusion he feels over his father's response to the constable are so naturally conveyed that the reader has no difficulty feeling Avi's emotions. Great writing.
I only saw two nit-picks:
Pro: confidence in his plan that I did...*than* I did..
Ch 1: opened my book then a determined banging... *than* a determined..

On my shelf and I wish you all the best.

Louise Galvin wrote 1708 days ago

Yours is a compelling and emotive story, Alan. I am drawn to the immediacy of your writing – the first-person, the small details, the sights, the sounds, the smells - you vivify your history, pull it near and make it matter. I loved the tension of your prologue. The first two descriptive paragraphs of chapter one are beautifully drawn.

Your writing does your history justice. I am pausing to back you (wholeheartedly) at the end of chapter one, but will be returning to read all that you have uploaded here.


beegirl wrote 1709 days ago

Okay, here i am, beter late than never as they say. This is a very emotional and deep story. You write it with a feeling of simple despair that makes my heart bleed. I could possibly find anything to point out about it because I was too engrossed in the story to do so!!! Already on my shelf but wanted to give you my two-cents worth anyway.
The Sea Pillow

Betty K wrote 1709 days ago

A truly powerful story and one that interests me greatly. My husband's grandfather was in the tsar's army in 1909 when they were told to fire at the university students or be shot themselves. He knew he could no longer stay in Russia and brought his family to Canada. Eighty five years later my husand and I returned to Russia. The circles of life.

The prologue is gripping and so well-written. Every paragraph flowrs perfectly. Chapter 1 nicely takes us back in time and again the writing is so polished. Masterfully done I want to read this entire book and am definitely shelving it.

Betty K (The Huguenot's Destiny)

beegirl wrote 1709 days ago

Love the pitch so much I know I would buy this book-so on my shelf will come back with more comment later.

soutexmex wrote 1709 days ago

For the time ever, I actually read all the posted chapters of someone's book. Glad you did not post all of it or I would have read the whole thing. FULL DISCLOSURE: I am an active and practicing Conservative Jew, so I am the intended audience, so to speak. It reminded me of Sholem Aleichem's stories, Teyve and His Daughters.

To be honest, I so got into this story I forgot I was to critiqued this, so I guess you told your story well; you did your job, keeping my interest. Hope you get this published. I'm tired of the stereotype nebbish, navel-gazing Jew that we are all not. SHELVED!

By the way, my book's MC is a Jew and the whole plot revolves around him being alternately punished and teased by a hidden neo-Nazi conspiracy. Drop by so I can hear your comments. Cheers!

The Obergemau File

Shayne Parkinson wrote 1710 days ago

I've read all you've posted, Alan. This is beautifully written. Every detail seems just right, giving us a richness of images and sounds, scents and flavours. You're clearly well-versed in place and period, but you never allow these details to weigh down the story. And by having Avi tell us the story, you make it personal and intimate, and it's all the more moving to know that tragedy is coming. These are people that you've taught us to care about.

You capture Avi's voice perfectly. "I fell asleep worrying about leaving my friends if we moved to Odessa, and worrying how I was going to keep Viktor Askinov from hurting me if we didn't." That's as large a thought as he can contain, and against the looming tragedy it stands out starkly.

The love between his parents, and their love for their children, is also beautifully done. Really, your characterisation is excellent.

Just a few nitpicks: ch. 1 "his plan *that* I did." Ch. 2 - "No sooner had I opened my book *then", "peak out" (should be "peek"). Ch. 5 - "his eyes lids drooped."

While I loved the scene with the dead rabbits, I wondered if Avi would have been quite so shocked by the sight. Children in earlier times tended not to be so distanced as to where their food came from. The butcher's is mentioned in an earlier chapter; if he's never been there himself, it might be worth mentioning this.

This is a fine piece of work.


edquinn wrote 1711 days ago

Hi Alan,

Great story where you bring to life a time where murder, starvation and hopelessness was prevalent.

Glimpses of the past within the past are captured via the relationship with Uncle Yakov and Avi....the Uncle, an old head who had seen war before.

Just note 'Uncle Yakov had more confidence in his plan (than) i did.'

Brilliant prologue that leads us into a gripping first chapter.

Just note also...remove the comma before the and in the sentence ' Sweat, burned kerosene and the stae odor...'

The first chapter raises the blood pressure within the Viktor and his father stand in the home of Avi....this was a poignant moment, as it displayed that Viktor had learned the behaviour from his father....we know that he will turn out like his father...or maybe worse.

Alan, this was a brilliant read. I enjoyed every moment and feel that this will do very well.

Placed on my shelf.

Much appreciated

Ed Quinn *Donkeys kill more people(

Steve Ward wrote 1711 days ago

Very compelling writing with great Voice. The Prologue makes a good hook then you immediately win the reader over to Avraham, the boy who meets his devil. The hatred and discrimination from the Jewish perspective is bone chilling. You've got a super book working here. Keep up the good fight.
Steve Ward
Test Pilot's Daughter: Revenge

Urania wrote 1717 days ago

A powerful tale, beautifully told. I like the characters and the way they gradually develop - suits this huge historical backdrop and stage. I am sure for this target market you'll have a success with a little pruning and polishing - can't we all :-) Shelved with pleasure.

hot lips wrote 1717 days ago

Such an important and dramatic story, but it does need a little adjustment here and there to make the situation crystal clear and consistent. There are a few spare words. But I would like to back this and hopefully encourage it to the finishing line.

Phil Rowan wrote 1717 days ago

Alan - Goliath's Head is one of the most moving story extracts I've read on Authonomy. Your pitch suggests a very real and quite awesome novel, and your writing delivers, right from the first page. I think your use of the first person works well for your narrator and there is an increasingly strong sense of developing drama. Backed with pleasure and I'm hoping this gets published soon because I want to buy it! Best wishes - Phil Rowan (Weimar Vibes)

Professor Iwik wrote 1717 days ago

I read this over the weekend.
It's a great premise for a story and what makes it possibly more gripping is that it's in a real setting. This is history. I think you write well and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience watching you create each scene. You have some decent characters too which people will relate with.

On the shelf it goes.


Mark H

TomW wrote 1718 days ago

Comments on Chapters 1-2...

You've created a time and place here, with likable characters. I wondered if the teacher was old enough for his wisdom, but perhaps being persecuted makes people grow up more quickly?

It's all too easy to see how this attitude led to even darker deeds less than fifty years later. The writing could use a bit more polish, but overall it's a good beginning, in a setting that hasn't been over-mined over the years. I will give you a run on my shelf, and best wishes with it.



jtstorey wrote 1719 days ago

Alan - As the author of (I think) the only other novel here with onion domes on the cover, reading this was a very affecting experience for me. I think you are doing a phenomenal job of addressing the larger moral and ethical issues within the context of a story. You're capturing very well Avi's central conflict - he not only has to deal with finding the courage from within to fight, once he has that courage himself he has to decide whether to push on despite the possibility of repercussion to his family and everything he holds sacred. I just can't even imagine what kind of decision that could be - a terrible, difficult one that would haunt a person for a lifetime no matter the choice. And you're capturing that very well. The first part of this - Avi finding the courage - is conveyed perfectly in the rabbit hunting scene with Uncle Yakov. "Courage is when you do something even though you are afraid to do it."

I admire you for writing this important work, particularly given what I read in your bio. I'm sure we'll discuss more and I hope to see this published soon. - J.T. Storey

msm0202 wrote 1720 days ago


This is storytelling at its best. Your writing is splendid, but you're also working with a very compelling backdrop of history here. Tsarist Russia has been recorded in the history books, but I like how you are showing its devastating consequences on Jewish families, in a very striking way. Athough they are completely different stories and settings, I see a bit of Angela's Ashes in this story in terms of the ebb and flow of a family. But you're also dealing with horrific treatment here, at the hands of a cruel regime. A very important book.
Shelved, easily.

Venusu wrote 1721 days ago

Fascinating and readable. A totally different place/time/culture with a voice of authority writing.
Hawaiian Orchid