Friday, December 30, 2011

After the Arab Spring, a new Islamist Winter for Egyptology?

My fears for Western Egyptology

I can’t help feeling concern about the new era for archaeology in Egypt. Especially when an Egyptian imam recently suggested that pharaonic statues were no better that idols and they should have the heads covered in wax.

Maybe these new people hope the tourists will come in their millions to see their mosques and Islamic Cairo. Good luck with that.

It’s not that I lack appreciation of Islamic architecture.

I think much of it is breathtaking, but then I think the same about many Western cathedrals. Yet I can’t imagine people in the Islamic world dreaming about seeing them and willing to spend a quarter of a year’s salary to do so.

 My new archaeological adventure, about to be released in the New Year, is set in these turbulent times and follows on from The Smiting Texts, The Hathor Holocaust and the Ibis Apocalypse.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Your favourite ancient Egypt fiction genre?

What is your favourite ancient Egypt reading?
If you enjoy archaeology adventure and mystery thrillers, begin the series with The Smiting Texts (on offer at just $2.99 on Kindle) then follow it up with  The Hathor Holocaust and The Ibis Apocalypse.  Number four in the series will be released very early in the New Year, 2012.

Want to read a taut adventure romance in a novella fiction format?  Try The Delta Dilemma, a dangerous love triangle across the ages, about a time-torn Egyptologist who must decide between his love of ancient Egypt and his love of today, (just $2.99 on Kindle).

Find your favourite Egypt fiction  for your Kindle, iPad, computer or other e-reader here

Who were the mysterious masked invaders?

UPDATE: 9th January, 2012. NEW. 'The Anubis Intervention', the latest Anson Hunter archaeological mystery adventure novel, is now out, available through Amazon Kindle. It follows The Smiting Texts, The Hathor Holocaust and The Ibis Apocalypse. The trilogy is now a series...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy and mysterious reading this Christmas with the Egyptology adventure thriller series

The tremendous mystery of the sacred...

Anson Hunter is the rogue Egyptologist who specializes in dangers to the modern world from the ancient past.

This may seem absurd to many in our desacralized society where many people have no belief in unseen forces.

Yet Anson is a man with an open mind, one who struggles with a faith and yet is no stranger to the terrors of the ancient past, the mysterium tremendum of the sacred.

You can experience the tremendous mystery of ancient Egypt in the Anson Hunter series on Kindle - The Smiting Texts, The Hathor Holocaust and The Ibis Apocalypse...

with a fourth story due for release in early 2012.

Happy, and mysterious, Christmas reading! 

The gods and goddesses of Egypt, assailants in masks, take over a Nile cruise boat filled with the world's top Egyptologists
UPDATE: 9th January, 2012. NEW. 'The Anubis Intervention', the latest Anson Hunter archaeological mystery adventure novel, is now out, available through Amazon Kindle. It follows The Smiting Texts, The Hathor Holocaust and The Ibis Apocalypse. The trilogy is now a series...

Now you can begin the series with The Smiting Texts for just $2.99 on Kindle. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Egypt of the imagination... everywhere the glint of gold

What is it about ancient Egypt's fascination and gold?

Visiting the Tutankhamun 'Golden Age of the Pharaohs' Exhibition, reminded me of the strong association of gold and ancient Egypt in the public imagination...
Howard Carter, on peering into the tomb of Tutankhamun, summed it up with his description...."everywhere the glint of gold."  
The lustre of gold glows in the mysteries of The Smiting Texts trilogy of adventure novels and others in my Egypt series... as it does in this scene...

They reached another passage that opened up around them into a vestibule and then passed into a vast porticoed hall.
It was a hall that represented the chest cavity of the god. It was also a treasure chest of staggering proportions.
“Dear God of our Fathers!” Daniel said in a gasp.
“Out of the magic of its gold, heaven was born,” Anson said.
They were looking at the amassed hoard of the Neteru.
“Truly this is the Mother of all Treasures,” the veiled woman whispered.

Chapter 81
IT STRUCK HIS EYES with the impact of an eruption.
It was as if a mountain of gold had exploded and disgorged rivers of golden magma into the hall.
Gold choked the place like a glittering slag heap, spewed from chests in chains and necklaces, crusted in heaps of gorgets, amulets, cups, urns and crowns, pooled in dishes and plates, twisted and writhed in a tangle of statues thrown together like corpses. The excrescence solidified in thrones and tables and chairs and erupted in great shrines jammed together like a golden shantytown. Gold winked, flashed, lusted and glowered sullenly in darker corners. A fleet of golden boats lay in a tangle of masts and oars like the aftermath of a naval battle among the gods. More boats lay foundered among jeweled caskets.
In the Book of Revelation, God sat with the firmament beneath Him, and the brilliance of gemstones sparkling in His presence. Heaven was blinding in its beauty! There was no heaven after death. Instead, the traditions of a material heaven, handed down by untold generations, were true. This was it and his father had found it, stealing the hopes of all mankind.
A feeling came over Anson that he was about to vomit.
A sorrow washed over him with the force of a wave and when the shock receded, an undercurrent ripped him back to long ago.
My father left me as a child to chase after this glory. A man-made heaven.
Seek first the kingdom of heaven, Jesus said.
But my father had sought it on earth. Dig into your father’s ideas too deeply and you risk undermining your own foundations, his mother had said. Am I doomed to follow his trajectory? There seemed to be an inevitability about finding this, astounding as it was, a pattern that had to be made, like the changing of the seasons and the wheeling of the stars through the sky.
Fortune had turned like a grinding stone and now it was the son who stood in front of the terror of this golden realm.
When his Egyptologist father had left him as a child, Anson had tried to keep a piece of him by interiorizing him, creating a kind of inner shrine for him where he imagined his father sat alone in darkness like a god carved in stone. But his father was not a god and, if there were no heaven, was there even a god at all?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

An Egyptologist's murder... a heaven-and-earth-shattering discovery that threatens today’s great religions…

"Out of the magic of its gold, heaven was born."

“Then what did my father want to tell the world that was so radical? What exactly was his revelation?” Anson Hunter said.

Now Abuna, the Coptic monk, dropped his bombshell.

“He claimed to have made what he termed his ‘heaven-and-earth-shattering’ discovery - sensational proof in Egypt that would turn our ideas of heaven upside down, evidence that heaven was not a spiritual realm, but a real, three-dimensional hypogeum and that this was the genesis of the concept of a heaven. He had found the Duat, or Egyptian hereafter. ‘Out of the magic of its gold,’ he said, ‘heaven was born’.

“Equally important, he claimed that he had found evidence of the so-called Neteru, or beings of the First Time, buried in this place. My good friend, Professor Hunter, believed that there has been a conspiracy through the ages about the reality of the afterlife and that it still continues to this day. Your father was about to announce that he had found a material afterworld - heaven if you like. But not a spiritual nirvana, a real place and the genesis of all beliefs about the afterworld. It was a belief that may account for his untimely death in Egypt.”
 (From 'The Smiting Texts', first in a mystery adventure trilogy)

Who killed an Egyptologist with a heaven-and-earth shattering secret, in 'The Smiting Texts'?

Discover the secret here 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Glyphs Along The Highway - with a credit to Ian Fleming

Do hieroglyphs hold any more potency than highway symbols?

Hump... or the Egyptian hieroglyph for 'foreign land'?

'Foreign land'...'hill country'

Author Ian Fleming wrote amusingly about the “exotic pungency” of USA road signs in his James Bond thriller ‘Live and Let Die’ – ‘SOFT SHOULDERS – SHARP CURVES – SQUEEZE AHEAD – SLIPPERY WHEN WET.’

As I take my ancient Egypt and mystery fiction writing on the road, I can’t help wondering about the glyphs we see at the roadside here in Australia.

How do these enigmatic signs compare with the ancient Egyptian glyphs that mark the underworld journeys of my renegade British archaeological hero Anson Hunter?

Like the menagerie of animals that appear in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs – Australian roadside glyphs possess a zoomorphic vocabulary, including kangaroos, koalas, wombats, ducklings, cattle, emus, crocodiles and sharks.

A zoomorphic roadside vocabulary

Some signage glyphs are as menacing as curses uttered by Egypt’s priests in execration rituals – “A microsleep can kill.” “You’re a bloody idiot!”

Roadsidce curse

Others are tenderly human when found along the harsh and merciless march of the bitumen - small children defensively holding hands. 

Another has a caption that makes the peril of road-crossing sound like a cosy adventure story – ‘Refuge Island’.

What would the Egyptians make of these signs?

One of the first recorded workers' strikes in history happened in Egypt in the reign of Rameses lll when the royal tomb workers downed their tools when their pay and rations were not forthcoming.

To other eyes, some of our signs might look like protest banners. End Roadwork! End School Zone! End Freeway!

Is it superstition to believe that the sacred writing of hieroglyphs held any more potency than road signs, even though they were invested with the power of heka, Egyptian magic?

My Egyptologist hero Anson Hunter has a respect for unseen dangers from the ancient past, execration texts, forbidden artefacts and the like. He is something of a phenomenologist, one who believes in granting value to the sacred, unlike conventional Egyptologists with their ‘agnostic reflex’ that prevents them from taking the esoteric seriously.

Perhaps the fact that there are others today with an agenda that takes its inspiration from the mystery religions of Egypt, who believe very seriously in the potency of Egypt’s past that warn us to be wary of unseen dangers breaking into the 21st century.

The journey continues here

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Video: "These novels untangle new mysteries of ancient Egypt"

Readers comments...

Update 2014: The trilogy has become a series of seven novels featuring the controversial, witty and thoroughly likeable Egyptologist Anson Hunter.


These novels "untangle new mysteries about ancient Egypt..."

Screen grab: iPad (Amazon Kindle edition)

“(The hero, archaeologist) Anson Hunter untangles new mysteries about the ancient Egyptian civilization affirmation of survival after death by the power of symbolism and magic over matter, a virtual afterlife built by a collective unconscious, sustained by religion and tangible in the form of pyramids, temples and tombs. His elucidations are esoteric bombs that undermine the foundations of today’s world major religions.”

Egypt Then and Now

“Reads from the start like a P.I. or spy novel.” 

“I didn’t think fiction about ancient Egypt’s archaeology like this could be written today.” Readers' comments.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The smiting power of ancient Egypt breaks into the 21st Century

Excerpt from 'The Smiting Texts' - first in a series about dangers from the ancient past

Start reading the trilogy here

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ancient Egypt Fiction Collection - thrillers, adventure, fantasy...

Ancient Egypt series - featuring the renegade Egyptologist, Anson Hunter

And for young readers...

Do you prefer your Egypt fiction in paperback or in Kindle format?

Here is just some of my Egypt fiction collection available at Amazon.

From The Smiting Texts adventure thriller series to The Delta Dilemma - as well as an ancient Egypt collection for young adults and children.

LOOK INSIDE the collection here

Monday, November 7, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Imagine if you could choose - your love who lived in ancient Egypt or your love today

Choose: "Your loved one in ancient Egypt - or your love of today?"

This shows elements of my pre-storyboarded concept that I put together before writing "The Delta Dilemma" - adventure fantasy about a time-torn archaeologist who is given a terrible choice through the agency of the ancient Egyptian goddess of Truth, Maat. Will he choose his love of the past - or today?

UPDATE: New edition

Available on Amazon Kindle

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why hieroglyphs in Egypt's Stone Book of Thoth carry such potency - "The Ibis Apocalypse"

Glyphs were divine words

“And these glyphs in the Stela, what makes them so potent?” she said.
“Glyphs were never just a writing system," Anson Hunter said. "They were divine words. It’s for this reason that the scribes were fearful that certain words could have a malignant power and become uncontrollable forces in the tomb and so they would cut off the head of a lion in a glyph, or truncate a serpent or show spears stuck in the back of a crocodile in order to render it harmless. The hieroglyphs in the Stela of Thoth were the most potent of all. When spoken they were not just sounds, but glyphs graven on the air, real things and entities, image-meanings that took shape and activated a world of unseen forces and alternate reality. Heka, or Egyptian magic."

“So you believe Egyptian magic has power to influence the real world?”

“Can a certain sequence of words and actions, such as imitation, the replication of a name, image or mythical event produce an event in the real world? I believe there is an unseen connectedness between things and by tuning in to this network of likenesses you can attract like outcomes. The trick is to find that invisible skein and draw on it, hence the Egyptians’ use of puns, analogy, mimesis, acrostics, dualities and the like. These links are things beyond logic, like the dream realm where parallel sounds, symbols and stories, while seeming bizarre, hold an inner, often unseen connection with our lives.”
From 'The Ibis Apocalypse' #3 in the Egypt adventure trilogy

Friday, October 28, 2011

An Egyptologist, a female Mossad agent and a night on a Lake Nasser cruise

Archaeologist Anson Hunter had gone to bed with Intelligence agencies before, but never quite like this

“Good night,” she said.
“I can’t sleep. Know any good Gentile jokes?”
“There’s something I have to ask you, Zara Margolin. Do you feel any love for Mother Nile? I know this is a lake we’re on, but navigators follow the old basin of the Nile for safety, so I feel we’re still cruising the past.”
“Of course I love Egypt. I was born in Alexandria.”
“Yes, but beyond the accident of your birthplace. Think of the story of Israel in the Torah. The land of the Nile gave succour to your people throughout history, feeding you in periods of famine. Think of the sons of Jacob sent to Egypt for food, of Joseph sold into slavery and favoured by pharaoh. And then there is Moses, drawn out of the Nile by pharaoh’s daughter. You could say that Mother Nile gave birth to Israel, complete with labour pains courtesy of Rameses.”
“Your point?”
“You’re spiritually linked with Egypt. Like me.”
“I’m happy to say I am not like you, spiritually or in any other way.” She sat up and fluffed up her pillow, finally punching the ends together vigorously. “I’m more focused than you and I don’t sit on the fence,” she said. “You claim to be one who takes ancient beliefs seriously. But then you pursue this quest, regardless, and you look down on academics and call them dispassionate people who don’t engage experientially with such matters.”
She turned away, dark hair cascading on the pillow.
He was spending the night in a cabin with an unfathomable daughter of Israel who was as remote and somehow familiar as any ancient Egyptian beauty who’d ever looked at him sideways from a painted wall of a tomb. What had happened to the girl who’d brightened his day in a London bookshop?
Zara, Zara, Zara.

From The Ibis Apocalypse, 3rd in the Egypt adventure fiction trilogy - (Amazon Kindle)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sealed inside the heart of Egypt’s lost labyrinth… scene from ‘The Smiting Texts’

Lost beneath the sands... a maze with 1500 underground chambers - a structure once said to be more impressive than the pyramids

When the underground stopped shaking, they shone their flashlights around the heart-shaped chamber. They were trapped inside a sealed vault, with no way back or forward.
Our hearts have failed the test. We have been found sinful, the thought hit Anson Hunter. We’re stuck in the heart of the tomb.
"I think we've just had a coronary shut down," he informed them. He looked at Kalila, Daniel and his nephews. “Any ideas?”
"There must be some mechanism that opens it again," the Coptic monk Daniel said. "We must find it! Start looking, I suggest.”
They all joined in a search of the walls and floors, as they hunted for hidden levers or mechanisms that might open the doors, pressing individual blocks of stone, running fingers between cracks.
Sound above their heads put a stop to their efforts. Something was happening in the ceiling. Anson listened. Hissing sounds. Small apertures had opened in the roof. Red streams ran softly into the chamber.
"Not blood, after three thousand years." Daniel bent and scooped up a handful. He sniffed it. "Red clay dust," he muttered.
It wasn't blood, but it could kill them just as surely as any liquid.
"It's symbolic blood, dry red clay from Elephantine,” Anson said. “The red is haematite, iron oxide. In ancient legends red clay often took the place of blood when mixed with wine or water. I think this dust represents the blood of Osiris."
"If we don't get out of here soon, it will choke us," Kalila said, giving voice to their fears.
They redoubled their efforts to find a lever. They ran their hands like nervous spiders over the walls.
The powder-blood flowing into the heart gathered in piles around their feet. The streams were running faster.
Kalila coughed. Fine dust filled the air. It would suffocate them long before it covered their heads…

#1 in Egypt adventure series - Here

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"The ancients, royalty, used to adorn their bodies with gold before they took their pleasure,” she said.

Bodies adorned with gold

He wondered what she would look like wearing the jewels.
“I believe the ancients, royalty, used to adorn their bodies with gold before they took their pleasure,” she said.
She was a mind reader. There was definitely something of the gypsy about this girl.
“You’d like me to model the pieces for you,” she said. Her eyes sparkled with daring. “Go into the bedroom. Wait in there and I may surprise you.”
Surprise him? What was the worst that she could do? Disappear? Take the jewels and run? Why? Maybe she planned to open the apartment door and call in an accomplice - a sociopathic Greek-Egyptian boyfriend who would knife him now that he’d served his usefulness.
Too much speculation. It was an occupational risk. He got up, went through to the bedroom and sat on the bed. He’d always prided himself on his flexibility.
It felt as if thousands of years elapsed before she arrived and appeared like a vision in the bedroom doorway.

From 'The Hathor Holocaust', 2nd in the Egypt archaeology adventure trilogy, available in Kindle format.

"Which side of the bed will be mine?" he said to her. (The Ibis Apocalypse)

An archaeologist and theorist just can't help speculating

Afterwards, they climbed aboard an antique elevator to ride up to their room on the second floor. He closed the wooden and glass doors and then clanged a metal concertina gate shut. She pressed the button for their floor.
The lift cage gave a judder and started creeping up, the machinery humming busily, like his mind at that moment. This was going to be their first night together.
She caught him staring and wondering.
“What?” she said.
“Speculating is my business. Just speculating."
“I’ll bet you are.”
“I’m wondering which side of the bed will be mine.”
“The side of caution, I’d advise.”
“Unless you want to re-enact Death on the Nile.”
“Now you’re scaring me.”
“This was not in the brochure, Zara. False advertising.
“False something.”
Hopes? Oh well, he thought, shrugging. Best to establish the ground rules so there’d be no misunderstandings. It was early days. And nights. They were going to be cabin mates for a whole Lake Nasser cruise.
Was Zara Margolin going to be all business, all of the time?
He’d acted as a consultant for Intelligence before, but he’d never exactly jumped into bed with them. What was the best way to go about this?
She’d been in the Israeli military before and so she was probably inured to the situation of living with men at close quarters.

From The Ibis Apocalypse - 3rd in the Egypt archaeological adventure trilogy, available in Kindle format

"Do you find the art of ancient Egypt seductive?" she said.

Grasped possessively by a dark-eyed goddess

THEY WALKED back through the valley in dazzling light.
“Could anything my father found rival these underworlds? They make a deep impression.”
“There’s no civilization so seductive,” Kalila said.
“Seductive is the word. I find the graphics of ancient Egypt pretty ravishing, I must admit,” he said.
She smiled.
“You find them erotic?”
“Hell yes. I can easily imagine myself being grasped possessively by one of those dark-eyed goddesses in the frescoes and reliefs. The art of ancient Egypt ensnares you with its atmosphere of pervasive mystery.”
“Yet there is rarely any lewdness portrayed in Egyptian art,” she commented. “Except for a few scurrilous doodles on ostraca. The Egyptians achieved a sense of sexual tension in far more subtle ways, in the ladies with their diaphanous gowns, painted eyes and gala wigs that sent an erotic signal. Then there were the other coded symbols, the scented delta of a lotus blossom held under a nose, the ducks and geese, or a monkey playing under a chair, the possessive arm slung around the waist of a husband, the intent, very-interested eyes of a goddess taking the pharaoh by the hand. It’s all there, but in the oblique Nilotic way. There is a love poem where the girl bathes in the stream with her beloved and says: ‘I'll go into the water at your bidding and come up with a red fish who will quiver with happiness in my fingers.’”
“I don’t get it,” he said, putting an expression of puzzlement on his face. “I hope you’re going to explain it to me.”
“I’ll do nothing of the sort...”

 ('The Smiting Texts' - first in an ancient Egypt adventure series, available in paperback and on Amazon Kindle)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Indiana Jones meets House? Stargate meets Wilbur Smith? Rider Haggard meets X-Files?

How do you compare?

The brutal Hollywood synthesis of a story is so-and-so meets so-and so.
How would I apply the formula to my Egypt adventure trilogy?
How would I sell my Egypt adventure thriller trilogy as a Hollywood ‘high concept’ pitch? 

Indiana Jones meets House?

Stargate meets Wilbur Smith?

Rider Haggard meets X-Files? 

I have heard all of these descriptions and find it hard to reconcile them all.

Wilbur Smith? I must admit I'm not a fan of large, roaring, two-fisted heroes.

Dr House? My archaeologist character Anson Hunter is a renegade and although sardonic at times is apparently immensely likeable to readers. 

Indiana Jones? Anson Hunter is more cerebral and he has far more human flaws. (His ex-wife described him as having the burning eyes of a fanatic). 

Stargate? There are elements of fantasy in my novels, but I am not a fan of the Egypt and aliens combination. I am an amateur Egyptologist, so I like to ground my stories in substantive fact.

Rider Haggard? I love the lost race idea (think 'She'), but I don't have to invent lost races. The Egyptians will do for me.

X-Files? I love to leave the question of the supranormal hanging and have a certain belief in unseen realities , but I also like a real world plot.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Egyptology fiction hero grants value to the sacred and to unseen realities

Feeling the ancient Egypt experience

Archaeologist Anson Hunter believes in experiencing the sacred in my trilogy of adventure novels about dangers from the ancient past - and modern conspiracies.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

THE END. How many novels do you actually finish on your iPad?

"Lives with you long after you turn 
the last page..."

(Reviewer - "The Smiting Texts" - #1 in my Egypt trilogy of adventure thrillers.)

It's so easy to buy a novel to read on your iPad, and it's also so easy and enjoyable to read.
I sometimes wonder - is it also easy to forget to read on to the end, with all the other distractions on your iPad?
It's not as if you have a bulky paperback sitting there accusingly on your bedside table with a bookmark pulling a tongue at you.
Out of sight, out of mind?
I think we need a new iPad app. 
Every now and then it flashes up an image of your partly read novel and a bookmark jutting out to show how far you've come.
Either that or make sure the books you read drag you inexorably to the last page... and beyond.