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Exhortation-Can you be Tempted?

Hello my name is Tony Vogiantzis author of Exhortation-The Art of Persuasion is Tempting and I am here to provice an excerpt to my provocative novel that has intrigued many readers. Here is the following information regarding my novel,

Exhortation-The Art of Persuasion is Tempting ISBN 1591293421 Published by PublishAmerica Paperback May 2002 Available at and

I have attached the first couple of pages of my novel for you to review and add an excerpt on Exhortation as it dwells within the minds of good and evil and what makes the mind tick. Furthermore how far a person would go to obtain their means to their ends.

Tony Vogiantzis

CHAPTER 1 On a beautiful sunny day in Lisbon, Portugal, people roam the narrow gothic streets of the Alfama medieval town drinking their espressos while gossiping about the latest news, trends, and most importantly what bar they will attend once the clock strikes midnight. As the masses converse at the various cafťs, there is one group sitting down by a cafť called the Navigators Lounge drinking several cappuccinos with a poised look on their faces as if they were convicts of some sort. This is a clan consisting of four flamboyant men that are outrageously contrary to the eastern Mediterranean look of the locals in the city of Lisbon. The first man is clearly from a Scandinavian country with blond hair so pure and crisp, he appears to be either Swedish or of Norwegian origin. His hair is wavy with a perfect spiral twist that hangs down from his forehead, and his skin is fair, not too dark, and not too light, with a thin body build, he is a handsome man. The man has his left ear pierced with an earring of a goat dangling; black shiny leather pants, a silver jacket with a pink shirt underneath that speaks in volumes, and orange sunglasses. Sitting to his right is a man more conservatively dressed than his counterpart with long brown hair and a light beard, blue loose fit jeans, a white T-shirt with an orange V-neck design, and his body build is muscular and his skin complexion is slightly darker then the blond man. Sitting directly in front of the two men are two short men; they are midgets as their feet dangle from their chairs. The first midget is dressed very eccentrically; he is wearing a neon orange jacket with blue shiny leather pants. He has crystal blue eyes that shine from a mile away and dirty blond hair. His eyes, nose, and mouth are TONY VOGIANTZIS 8 condensed all together in one area of his face and he has a large gap between his mouth and chin. His chin pops out about five inches in diameter, sharp and pointy on the end, which looks like a Viking vessel you would see in those Viking documentaries on television. This midget is definitely a peculiar looking individual. The other midget is more subtle in his appearance, as he has brown hair, brown eyes, wearing a plain black dress shirt, black jeans, and lavender colour sunglasses. The one noticeably stunning characteristic of this midget is his extraordinary large cranium. His cranium exceeds the normal cubic centimetres of an average human. His head is so large that it could be compared to ancient ancestors of man like the Homo Habilis fossils found in the Olduvai Gorge sight in Tanzania, Africa. These fossils were more than double the normal size of a standard human cranium. These four men are definitely different from one another, but share one thing in common; they obviously want to be contrary to the norm as perceived by our society. Perched high above the four men is a splendid view of the Castelo Sao Jorge, a castle that overlooks the city of Lisbon. The blond man stares directly at the castle and examines its intriguing architecture; what catches his eye is the four square columns that are divided into perfectly configured rectangles where the knights would stand to watch for invaders. The castle is enormous as it stretches for what seems an eternity in feet across the hill it is perched upon. The blond man gestures towards the castle as he emphatically exclaims, "Ah yes, did you know, gentlemen, that this castle was erected back in the fifth century and was occupied by numerous armies. The Romans, the Moors, the Portuguese Monarchs, and remarkably it still stands, fascinating! Yesterday while you guys were procrastinating, I strolled to the top of the hill and walked through this castle; it has hidden passages, and just beautiful gardens with jacaranda trees posted all over the place. Amazing because these trees are imported from Brazil. Of course you numskulls have no idea what Iím talking about." The muscular man and the two midgets clap their hands sarcastically at the blond man. The eccentric midget retorts, "Brilliant, EXHORTATION 9 Lars, just brilliant, you are a walking, talking encyclopedia. Can you please tell us how these cappuccinos are made, or better yet break down its composition to its very smallest particles and explain how matter is formed?" "Ha, ha, ha, Johnson, I never knew you had such a witty sense of humour, perhaps I can show you the chemical composition of these cappuccinos by sticking it up where the sun doesnít shine? Iím sure you would enjoy that!" "Lars, you are a jerk!" "Thank you for the kind compliment, Johnson, but we have no time to argue, it is now twelve thirty p.m. and since we are in Europe, men, you know what that means. Lars stops, pauses and stares up into the shining sun. The National Bank of Portugal is closing in thirty minutes and we must be leaving. Okay, so now who is paying for the bill?" They all sit and look at one another waiting for someone to speak. Lars with his Swedish accent ends the silence as he says, "Oh, come on guys, I paid the last time, Hanzeus, you cheap man. My recollection tells me you have not paid for our cappuccino sessions since Athens, Greece. That was nearly four months ago. Itís your turn." Hanzeus, the midget with the large cranium, responds to Lars with a discontent look, "No way Lars nice try, I got us drinks last week in Hamburg, remember? Iím not paying." "Well, but of course, I think youíre right, in fact, I know youíre right, God with that melon of a cranium Hanzeus you can remember every single detail from the last ten years. Man that thing is huge. You can seriously knock someone out with that cranium. Hanzeus, I think your cranium is getting larger by the day, what is the width of that sucker?" "Shut up Lars, itís not that big." "Hanzeus, itís okay to have a large head, I mean some women find it attractive. You know the saying the larger the head, the smarter the person. However, in your case, that does not have any implication what so ever, ha, ha, ha." Everyone at the table laughs along with Lars. "Now listen to me, both of you midgets, Iím the leader of this TONY VOGIANTZIS 10 clan, and you guys would be living on the street if it werenít for me. Hanzeus, you would be playing the accordion, while Johnson would be perched on top of your head with a cup in his hand begging for change. Actually, Johnson, I could see you dressed up as a parrot; you know, talking to the tourists, and amazingly with that chin they would honestly think you were a parrot, your chin would be the beak. The only thing that would give you away is that a parrot can actually put together a normal English sentence without it sounding completely incoherent." Lars laughs arrogantly at his mockery of Hanzeus. Johnson angrily slams his fist on the table and says, "Lars youíre really starting to get on my nerves. You Swedes think youíre so much superior than the rest of us, and really what is with that ridiculous outfit youíre wearing, I mean I wouldnít even be caught dead wearing that." Lars sticks his chin out and mockingly imitates Johnson, "Lars, Lars, I mean I wouldnít even be caught dead in that silly outfit. Listen, Johnson, weíll discuss this later, we need to get to the bank and since I am the most punctual out of us all and realise we have just wasted five minutes arguing over such petty imbecilic topics, Iíll pay for the bill." Lars waves across to the waiter and gives the man the "may we have the bill" sign by signing his left hand with his right index finger. The waiter nods his head and rushes to the cashier to grab the pending bill for Lars and his clan. The waiter swings by the table and drops the bill into Larsí outstretched hand. Lars examines the bill closely and appears to have a look of disbelief on his face. "You see, look at what this world is coming to, inflation of all goods and services. I mean look at this bill, this is preposterous. Five thousand escudos, that is like thirty dollars American. What a rip off. Besides the service here was horrible. Iím not leaving this guy a tip." Johnson leans over towards the table and utters, "You are one cheap man." "Listen, in this day and age, money does not come easy; the EXHORTATION 11 unemployment rate is up, people are depressed, recession lurks worldwide, and you two geeks have the audacity to call me cheap. No I am being smart with my money, who knows how long we will be able to pull off our reign of scheming in this condemned world. Iím leaving him five thousand escudos and since I am a nice guy despite what you geeks think Iím going to leave him with some Russian rubles for a tip." Johnson, with a startled look, viscously yells, "Russian rubles, that has the same value like monopoly money, absolutely nothing, zero. Come on, at least leave him something that is worth something." Lars calmly places the Russian rubles on the tray and smiles at Johnson as he takes off his sunglasses. "The Russian ruble is on the rise, and in about a year it may reach the market once again. Ha, ha, ha, God Iím brilliant. Okay, letís get going. Merlin, you have been like a sitting mute button on a television converter. Hanzeus, check and see if he has a pulse." Merlin, the muscular man with a dazed and confused look, pauses to respond to Lars. He opens his mouth ever so gingerly and speaks in a low and slow tone; "Iíve been just waiting here yah, for you guys to stop fighting." Lars snickers at Merlin, "Yah, that German accent kills me, Merlin. Hanzeus, grab the Mercedes we stole from the Lisbon Luxury hotel and bring it to the front to pick us up. Wait, before you go, here is your stool so you can reach the gas pedal." Hanzeus turns to Lars and gives him a look of discontent as Lars waves him to retrieve the car and drive it to the front of the Navigators Lounge. Hanzeus runs with great intensity on his face as he stares at his watch realizing they have fifteen minutes to reach the National Bank of Portugal. While waiting for Hanzeus, Lars lights up a cigarette as he smiles at all the women browsing the narrow cobblestone streets of the Alfama district. Slowly down the street a strange old man uttering Portuguese to himself begins to approach Lars, Johnson, and Merlin. He stops and stares directly at Lars, then begins to sing some type of TONY VOGIANTZIS 12 fado Portuguese song to Lars. Johnson and Merlin shrivel and feel embarrassed about the situation as it transpires, while Lars continues to smoke away grinning and laughing at this obviously mentally disturbed old man. Everyone sitting outside of the cafťs has stopped to see what may unfold; a situation is arising at a most inappropriate time for Lars and his men. The old man begins to sing louder while he swings back and fourth like a rowboat. Lars appears unfazed about the incident and begins to conduct the old manís fado song as if he were a maestro, laughing and giving Johnson and Merlin a wink during this awkward situation. The old man stops his singing and seems upset that Lars is making a mockery out of him in front of all the masses. He begins speaking Portuguese to Lars; Lars nods his head as if he understands what the old man is telling him. Johnson grabs Lars by the shoulder pulling him away from the old man and whispers into Larsí ear, "Lars, this is no time to play, this man is going to kill you, look at him, he is crazy. Come on, letís go." "Nonsense, Johnson, he just wants attention, like most of us do, we all want to be adored by everyone. His method is just unorthodox and he doesnít know how to convey what he really wants in life." "And what would that be, all mighty one?" "It is elementary, Johnson, love, he wants to be loved. Look at him, he is lonely. Iím going to give him a hug." "Lars, I knew that you were insane, but this is pushing it." "Silence, Johnson, watch and learn how to handle yourself in volatile situations." Lars approaches the old man, and does what he had told Johnson he would do, he gives him a big hug, and to add the cherry on top gives him a kiss on the cheek. The old man is stunned and puzzled. He backs off from Lars and begins to cry. The old man approaches Lars once again and gives him a hug while crying. Lars turns towards the masses and addresses them in a speech. "Itís all right, we have all been neglected at least several times in our lifetimes, havenít we? We are all guilty of self-indulgence, we need to share the fruit with everyone. There should be no man, nor EXHORTATION 13 woman, nor child ever treated or neglected as this man has been. We are human and we all need love and compassion. Without it we are nothing. I want you all to tell everyone you know, heck, even those people you donít know, that they matter. Everyone matters, go home and show your love, tell those closest to you how much they mean to you because we only live once." Amazingly the masses all stand and salute Larsí persuasive speech, and begin showing good gestures to one another, people hugging, people smiling, laughing with one another. Lars modestly accepts the applause as people commemorate his bold and gutsy approach to the old man for not fearing the unknown. Lars modestly takes a few bows and turns to Johnson and Merlin and says, "You see, Johnson and Merlin, people fear that which is different, they fear the unknown, and are afraid to take the plunge or the next step into discovering what is the meaning of life." Johnson shaking his head at Larsí antics retorts, "Have you found your true meaning of life, Lars?" "Hell no, Johnson, not until I conquer every major bank in the world! You know what the key is, Johnson and Merlin, it is using what I like to call exhortation, the art of persuading the masses into what you believe and embedding it into their minds. For instance, I took you three hamanaegers out from your shells and made you into brave men. Intelligence, well that still needs a bit of work, Iím afraid." Merlin, with a puzzled facial expression, scratches his forehead as he appears to methodically take his time to speak, "Hamanaegers, what is that?" Johnson brushes Lars to the side and turns to Merlin to explain Larsí vocabulary. "Iíll answer that one, Lars. Merlin, hamanaeger is a word that the great Lars has created for people that are losers, you know, imbeciles, going nowhere in life in a heartbeat." Lars laughs as he sarcastically claps his hands at Johnson. "Could have not said it any better than that, Johnson. You are learning. Oh, here comes cranium driving in the Mercedes. Good God, I mean really, the first striking feature is not that beautiful Mercedes, it is TONY VOGIANTZIS 14 that of Hanzeusí bohemian cranium. Look at that thing, it is huge." Hanzeus pulls up to the front of the Navigators Lounge and picks up Lars, Johnson, and Merlin. They drive away as the masses wave goodbye to Lars. Lars, trying not to be pretentious, arrogantly smiles at Johnson and tells him, "Exhortation, isnít it beautiful." Hanzeus, with his squeaky voice, asks his fellow colleagues what had just happened. "I say, why are they smiling and waving at us guys?" Lars who is sitting in the passenger seat giggles at Hanzeus. "Because I told them that we have discovered a prehistoric man and have assimilated him into the twenty-first century style of living. I told them he can even drive." "Very funny, Lars." Larsí demeanor quickly changes as he now has a poised look as he lights up another cigarette. "Okay, enough horsing around, it is time to put the metal to the pedal, so step on it, cranium, we have ten minutes before the bank closes. Mr. Johnson, here is your costume." He hands over a deer suit with a mask face of a deer, with long curved antlers to Johnson. "Merlin, well here is your Merlin costume." Lars passes a shiny blue costume to Merlin. On the chest part of this wizard gown is a half moon emblem. Lars then hands him the most intriguing part of this costume, the pointy, shiny blue hat that has the same half moon design. "Okay, Hanzeus, here you go." He gives Hanzeus a shiny knight armour suit, and a helmet that covers his face. "Lastly, the greatest outfit of them all, Mr. Sheep." Lars has the most flamboyant of all the costumes; it is a sheep costume made out of real wool with Larsí face sticking out from the front wearing turquoise sunglasses. Once all of the costumes had been given to each member, Lars digs deep into the bag and pulls out the most essential element to any bank robberís scheme, the firearms. "Now then, we all know the routine, we have done this for six years now, and have not been caught once. So just stick to what we EXHORTATION 15 usually do and all is well. Okay, everyone disengage loaded cartridges and load with dummies. Hanzeus, Iíll do yours since you are driving. Once again I emphasise that by no means do we pull out the real cartridges unless it is absolutely necessary. We are not killers, just people trying to make a living since the government taxes you up the ass. We have never had to change cartridges, let alone shoot anyone, so let us keep our code of arms in tack. Agreed?" Lars, Johnson, Hanzeus, and Merlin all at once, "Agreed." "Remember, it is near the end of the day for these bank workers so they are tired and somewhat delusional so we are in and out in ninety seconds. We want to traumatise the managers because they think they are royalty, but do not scare the bank tellers; most of them are either students, or people just trying to make an honest living. So do not scare them, do as we always do, joke around. If a teller is a hot woman then only I get to flirt with her and no one else. Agreed?" Johnson, Hanzeus, and Merlin all stare at one another and shout with great obedience as they roll their eyes. "Yes Master." Lars takes one last drag of his cigarette and tosses it onto the road. He looks at his men with great confidence. "Thatís my boys. Johnson, you have the stereo." "Yes, master," Johnson replies. "All right, letís put in our hours of work for the day." The bandits pull up in front of the National Bank of Portugal, and park the car. Hanzeus remains in the car leaving the engine running while Lars, Johnson, and Merlin enter the bank in their outrageous outfits. Johnson places a tape into the stereo and plays a techno song with a very fast beat with the lyrics, "Weíre just men, and not your toys, canít you see, weíre the men, not your play toys, baby." The song gets faster in beat and bass, as the three enter the bank marching in like soldiers. Now inside the bank, Lars begins to dance like a ballerina, while Johnson does a dance like a Greek bouzouki dancer with his arms swinging outwards snapping his fingers, while Merlin swings his TONY VOGIANTZIS 16 arms around with no coordination whatsoever. The people in the bank are quite amused by this spectacle; it is amusing as the tellers, bank managers, and clients all begin to laugh. Lars, the eccentric, grabs a woman, a fairly attractive one, and lays a big kiss on her lips; she smiles and dances along with him. This is entertainment for these people. They have never seen such unorthodox people like this before in their lives. Lars continues to prance around like a fairy. He looks at his watch and points to Merlin, the cue to pull out the arsenal. Merlin pulls out an M-16 and fires at the roof; people begin to scream as Lars and Johnson ask everyone politely to get on the ground. After several seconds of mad panic the masses calm down as Lars addresses them. Lars speaks, "Hello, hello, ladies and gentlemen, hamanaegers and pricks, we mean you no harm whatsoever, we are here just to take a few dollars and get out of your lives. If anyone is brave enough to stop us they will be simply shot. Ha, ha, ha. If anyone is stupid enough to try and stop us, just remember that the banks in situations like these insure this money we are stealing. Excuse me, let me rephrase, taking back the money that is stolen from the people on interest charges and distributing it fairly to people in need. Of course, we hold eighty percent of the money, but at least we give some. See, we are nice bank robbers. Now then, missy, do you have the key to open the cash till?" A scared lady shakes her head saying no and points to what appears to be the bank manager. "Okay, Mr. Vila, your name tag reads, could you please empty out your cash into my bag and into my colleagueís bag? You have twenty seconds to do this and if you donít, Iíll shoot your balls off you. Ha, ha, ha." Mr. Vila rushes with urgency and drops the money into the bags, and while doing so he presses the emergency button. Mr. Vila irately whips the remainder of the cash and stares at Lars with disgust. "Here, take it, just leave us alone, you criminals." "Mr. Vila, that was a very hurtful thing to say. I mean youíre playing with fire. You have three men with loaded firearms pointing at you and your co-workers; and on top of it all you pressed that silly red button for help. Frankly, I am little disappointed in you EXHORTATION 17 endangering these peopleís lives for your own triumph. Mr. Vila, we are not amateur robbers, I know it is one oíclock, and I also know it is siesta time for your people, which means things run behind in time as of this present moment, and that includes the police. Nevertheless, you pissed me off, so Iím going to kill you." Bang. Lars shoots Mr. Vila in the chest as he falls to the ground with what appears to be blood trickling out of his heart. Everyone in the bank is now screaming and crying. Lars laughs at one of the woman tellers as she approaches him and yells, "How could you do this? I thought you said you would not hurt anyone?" "My fair lady, I did keep my promise, that is just fake blood. I just wanted to scare the prick. Good day!" Johnson and Merlin run out of the National Bank of Portugal. Lars stares back at the teller and she smiles at him; Lars follows his counterparts as they vanish through the revolving doors. The woman teller bends down towards the fallen Mr. Vila and says to him, "Mr. Vila youíll be fine. That is not real blood, they were fake bullets." Mr. Vila shouts in great pain and anxiety, "Oh God, Iím on the verge of death, someone call an ambulance, oh God." "Mr. Vila, get up, youíre fine, did you not hear me the first time, they were fake." "Oh, what, those bastards, oh I will kill them. Oh my God, look at what they have done; they made me pee myself. Oh God." The bank tellers walk away with a smile on their faces, as if they actually enjoyed the experience of seeing their boss cry like a baby. Now a safe distance from the National Bank of Portugal, Lars and his men ditch the Mercedes car by the Belem train station just outside of downtown Lisbon and change quickly into civilian clothing. They place their outrageous costumes in a sack and hand it over to Merlin. Lars and Johnson quickly hand over the money to Hanzeus while they ditch their machine guns into a local trash bin. Lars turns to his men and says, "Well done, gentlemen, I think that was fun. Would anyone argue? I thought not. Nevertheless

Submitted by Tony Vogiantzis, posted on Sunday September 08, @12:38PM

Re: Exhortation-Can you be Tempted?

Posted by Tara S. on Tuesday August 06, @10:44AM I just finished reading this novel entitled Exhortation and it was awesome. It is written by Tony Vogiantzis and I think you might like this book. It is available in the USA as well in Holland because I just got back from Amsterdam and saw it at a local bookstore. Anyway ironically it is not available in Canada and I don't know why. Well I've given you a synopsis.

This book entitled Exhortation is a work of art. It takes place in Europe where Four very eccentric bank robbers led by their leader Lars Strikenberg have robbed almost every major bank except for a few. The bank robbers consist of four very funny men that are completely contrary to one another. There are two midgets who Lars constantly throughout the novel mocks. They are Hanzeus who is from Finland and has an enormous cranium (Large Head). Then there is Johnson an american who utterly hates Lars' obnoxious attitude. Finally Merlin who hails from Germany and is extremely quiet and slow. Yet these bank robbers are brilliant and have succeeded in robbing almost every major European bank. They have never been caught and are being chassed by two federal agents. What makes this plot even more intriguing is Andrew Dunn who is leading the crusade ro catch Lars and his men actually meets Lars and the two become very good friends unaware that they are enemies. What makes this story so compelling and complex is that Andrew really likes Lars and begins to believe Lars' beliefs that the world is evil and you should do what ever it takes to survive in a world where money basically runs society. Hence the title Exhortation, urging someone or the masses to into what you are saying has validity and truth.

The dialogue is absolutely brilliant as Lars conveys his feelings honestly and openly where most people fear to do so. The reader can relate in one way or another to Lars' very persuasive attitude and in a humble sense, we all should step back and examine are external surroundings and ask ourselves what are we doing with our lives. Exhortation really does make you think about your present situation and you cannot help but truly adore Lars for bravery and care free personality.

The settings in the novel are greatly detailed oriented as MR. Vogiantzis makes you feel as though you are in Europe with the characters. Lars and his bandits travel from Portugal to Spain and Holland. The action is intense yet well balanced with entertaining interactions amongst the characters The dialogue keeps you peeled to the novel and the quarrels amongst the bank robbers are humorous and witty. What I really liked about this novel is the moral message entailed within it, how people are opportunists and will do anything to be better then the rest. Selling yourself for money and glory. If your into entertaining action packed witty novels this is a must pick. Tony Vogiantzis is a talented upcoming Canadian writer. I give it 5 stars out of five. You will be peeled to this book I can guarantee that. Tara S.

by previous post moved on Sunday September 08, @01:48PM

Re: Exhortation-Memoirs of the Strikenberg

Hello everyone.

I'm proud to present to you Exhortation - Memoirs of the Strikenberg a brand new novel, new storyline based on the first Exhortation. This novel is faster, action packed and has received good coverage.

I'm confidant this version will enthrall many of you.

I'd like to take the time as well to thank many of you for your support. Your wise words of wisdom and feedback has made my writing excel to a newer level. Greatly appreciated.

Here's the links. It's available for order from Sky Ray Publishing, all major bookstores, or from Ingram. Please note the book is refundable.

Currently, I'm working on adapting Exhortation into a script. I recently finished a script course to learn the art of scriptwriting and it has helped tremendously.

I've learned to never give up and to follow your dreams. Take things in stride and follow your desires. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

God bless you all and your families.

Tony Vogiantzis

by Tony on Friday May 09, @03:10PM

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