Monday, August 29, 2011

Ancient Egyptian threat formula - an esoteric threat or real world conspiracy against the US and West?

Discover the secret of The Smiting Texts and get into an enthralling Egypt adventure thriller trilogy - HERE

A voice from the audience cut in.
“You really believe someone could put a remote hex on another country? On America?"
A heckler already. Anson peered. A man in the front row with military bearing and bulking up a blue suit, turned to throw a glare at the heckler.
In spite of the academic venue, this may not be a polite audience, Anson thought.
Anson hadn’t mentioned putting hexes on America and America wasn’t even on his mind. But it was on theirs, the heckler’s in particular.
“Do we have a few good Protestant Americans, Catholics and Jews in attendance today?” he asked the audience. “Then let me remind you about smiting in the Bible and Torah. The God of Moses hurled down some doozy execrations himself, with devastating effects: “… I shall make the land of Egypt desolate, and the country shall be destitute of that whereof it was full … I shall smite all them that dwell therein ... then shall they know that I am the LORD.
He decided to bring ancient history up to the present. He flipped past a slide showing a shattered ancient Egyptian execration or cursing bowl, a clay vessel that contained a list of enemies and beside it one ritually shattered in order to bring foreign powers to their knees. He stopped to show a passage of text in Arabic on the screen.
“You think remote killing is no longer attempted today? It is, and it’s being used by dissidents in the Middle East. Smiting and execration might seem unthinkable in our desacralized Western society, so let’s move forward to the twenty-first century. Take a look. It’s a Palestinian text, discovered in the Dead Sea in 2002, by an Israeli Professor and it directed virulent thoughts against the leaders of Israel. Here’s a translation…
“Oh God almighty, I beg you God to destroy Ariel Sharon, son of Devorah, son of Eve… Destroy all his supporters, loyal aides and confidants, and all those who love him and whom he loves among the human beings and among devils and demons.”
“It came in a small, cloth-wrapped bundle, surrounded with lead, an interesting choice of metal since the ancient Egyptians also used lead for hostile symbolic and magical purposes, because of its heaviness and malleability. A modern day execration? Did this long-distance attack strike Sharon down? His doctors probably had a more prosaic explanation, like a stroke with massive bleeding in the brain, but it shows you what many still believe. And if you think that’s all a bit vague and low-tech, here’s something for the technocrats:
"Oh God, destroy all their security and policing apparatus, the computers, the electronic and listening equipment…”
There must have been a few technocrats in the room. It got a visible stir.
“The ancient Egyptians, who could engineer stone pyramids to optical precision, millennia before the real flowering of their empire, were not perversely stupid in one department of their lives, nor were they peculiarly occult. They were an intensely practical society. You don’t keep doing something for four thousand years if it doesn’t work. They believed that ritual execration and smiting – creative visualisation with potent maledictions thrown in – worked, and it protected their nation for thousands of years. A better investment perhaps than any Star Wars anti-missile system?” Anson suddenly switched off the PowerPoint...

(Excerpt from The Smiting Texts. Renegade British Egyptologist Anson Hunter is intercepted at a US airport and co-opted to address a Homeland Security Centre, the Centre for the Study of High Consequence Event Preparedness and Response, a consortium studying how the nation can best prepare for and respond to a range of unexpected large-scale incidents or disasters.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Taking my ancient Egypt fiction writing on the road

I can write happily on the dark side of the moon. Hope to add more books beyond my ancient Egypt trilogy of adventure thrillers

The advent of e Books, Kindle and iPad means readers can enjoy e reading almost anywhere and now I am taking that spirit into my writing.

We have changed from living in a five bedroom house into this new Mercedes-Benz Diversion motorhome to travel around the country.

I call it iPad living, small, compact, writer friendly. 

The Silvery Nomad

My wife has taken to nomadic living amazingly easily too. She is doing a blog called Journeys of The Silvery Nomad

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Writers must always be allowed their subject. Mine is ancient Egyptian archaeological thrillers. Why???

There's no picking how authors pick their heartland subject

A writer must always be allowed his subject, it’s said. 

With me it’s ancient Egyptian archaeological thrillers. Why?

How do authors pick their heartland writing subjects?

There seems to be no way to pick it.

When I look at fellow authors who Tweet, I find one is a qualified veterinarian. A veritable zoo of famous animal books spring to mind. White Fang, Black Beauty, National Velvet, Jock of the Bushveld, maybe even Jaws or Moby Dick, but no, this famous author writes science-based techno thrillers. 

Another is an authority on building structures and what makes them collapse. Great, I think, I can see the ultimate deconstruction thriller where an iconic Capitol building falls down trapping the president/congress. Who did it? Can they mount a rescue?

Forget it. 

I suggested as much to him, but he let it go to the keeper, in cricket terminology. This author has his imaginative head firmly into Sword & Sorcery sagas. Why not?

And me?

I grew up in Zimbabwe at the edge of a game reserve and have been a Creative Director (Mad Man) for international advertising agencies in Sydney Australia.

So naturally I write Egyptian thrillers about a witty and renegade British archaeologist named Anson Hunter and about dangers to the world from the ancient past. I am an amateur Egyptologist and I have been devouring the subject since I was about twelve years of age. I and my wife have also made numerous study trips to Egypt.

Go figure.

I suppose we each find our metaphor, our prism through which we focus the human condition.

I see archaeology as a metaphor.  It even applies to characters. 

People are like archaeological sites, stratigraphical layers of history, their secrets waiting to be unearthed, layer by layer.

Then there is the lure of buried and often forbidden treasures.

Much like life.  

We are all in search of for some ‘divine radiance’ that will illuminate our lives.

So while I travel around Australia in my mobile office and stimulate my mind with new ideas, I may branch out into new writing paths in the future… but I wouldn’t really bet on it.

Discover my heartland subject of ancient Egypt in the following adventure thrillers. Click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An apocalyptic danger arises from Egypt's ancient past to threaten the world...

"The HATHOR HOLOCAUST" is the second in my ‘Anson Hunter’ trilogy of Ancient Egyptian adventure novels (poster). 
An apocalyptic danger has arisen from the ancient past in Egypt today bringing a threat to the Middle East and also to the West - of plague, pestilence, fiery destruction and global scorching.
Anson Hunter, controversial, alternative Egyptologist, theorist, blogger and phenomenologist is the hero of this historical adventure novel with a rich mythological vein. Followed by Western Intelligence organizations, shadowed by a mysterious androgyne assassin, he must race to avert a crisis in a quest spanning USA, Britain and Egypt. Who is behind the plan to trigger an apocalypse? Neo-religionists, Torchbearers with a dangerous New Age agenda, Christian dispensationalists who are eager to bring on the 'end times' or radical Islamists with a hatred of the West?
In mythology, Ra, Egypt's sun god, hurled an execration upon a rebellious humankind and, in a hot rage, despatched the scorching Eye of Ra, a holocaust sun in the form of the goddess Hathor-Sekhmet, to destroy them. A marauding lioness, her breath spread pestilence and plague and her claws and teeth death as she swept through Egypt in an orgy of killing. Then Ra had second thoughts and halted her apocalypse.
But the execration had been uttered and it was always feared that the inherently unstable agent of destruction - the Female Soul With Two Faces - would one day return to finish off what she had started, cleansing the earth.

 Discover the secret of The Hathor Holocaust here

Saturday, August 13, 2011

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN MOVIES that fail for me - why is a civilization so often lost in translation?

Ancient Egypt invariably fails on film. Why?

Why does ancient Egypt fail on film? They may have decoded hieroglyphs, but there seems to be no filmic Rosetta Stone to translate the wonders of this civilization into great film. 

Who do we blame most - the art department, the costume, make-up, writing, acting or directorial departments?

Most film reviews are the digestions of jaded palates, but this is not one of them. I love ancient Egypt-based films, yet I have to admit that almost none of them really deserves my affection. 

Here are eight:

Cleopatra, The Awakening, The Egyptian, Sphinx, The Mummy (Original), Land of the Pharaohs, The Mummy series (Brendan Fraser), Stargate

Ancient Egypt as a theme tends to produce unsatisfactory movies and Egypt is generally more palatable when used in a pastiche sense, such as in the Indiana Jones or Brendan Fraser's Mummy series.

Ancient Egyptian costumes inevitably look campy and somehow pantomime.

The accents grate, whether clinically British or amusingly American, as in:  "O Mighty Fearo, I come from Rorme. May the guards of Egypt be with you!"

The dialogue as stiff as old Imhotep in his wrappings.

The make-up is operatic.

The sets seem like monumental excess today.
Too Hollywood for Hollywood.

Every movie seems like a series of stagy set-pieces

So what is the answer? Maybe there's greater satisfaction to be found in reading ancient Egypt fiction instead. 

Here the sets, costumes, art, make-up, accents, acting and direction are just to your taste.

In the end, only the 'Egypt of the Mind' - your mind - really translates this lost civilization to today. 

UPDATE: "EXODUS Gods and Kings"...

I enjoyed Ridley Scott's visual style, (as always) but as a lifelong student of ancient Egypt, I winced a bit at the appearance of a camel in the movie, a later introduction to Arabic Egypt, as well as at the sight of Egyptian commoners shown wearing the royal nemes headdress. I was also also dismayed to see scenes of Egyptian soldiery going into battle mounted on horseback.
Horses in ancient Egypt were of a smaller breed and not suitable for riding. 
Ancient royalty, especially, shunned the inelegance of rising on horseback and reserved their horses for drawing chariots.
Was Rameses even the pharaoh of the Exodus?
Most likely in my view.
I will give the filmmakers credit for that.
As the leading Rameses scholar Ken Kitchen points out, Moses made appeals to pharaoh on a daily basis - and that could only have been to Rameses II at his Delta city of Pi-Rameses, in the vicinity of the Israelite's region of Goshen.
That fingers Rameses as the recalcitrant pharaoh who kept on defying God.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ancient Egypt's quintessential tomb funeral scene

Funeral procession, Tomb of Ramose

Another ancient death scene - also the setting of a modern murder in 'The Smiting Texts' (Vizier Mereruka's tomb, Sakkara).

Anson Hunter threw a glance to the columns bearing reliefs of Mereruka.
The striding figure in profile seemed beyond time and decay. The Hittite, Greek, Persian, Roman and British empires had all come and gone while the Vizier had continued to move steadfastly through eternity.

It was a reminder that the Egyptians really believed, he thought. People were wrong to imagine that cynical priests pretended to believe and merely went through the motions when they presented offerings and prayers and burnt incense in front of this door. They believed unshakably in an afterlife. They lived in an age where humankind and gods, the living and the dead, and the forces of good and evil, existed side by side in two parts that held the universe together. In today’s age that denied god and laughed at the devil, people could not see both sides. But they needed to believe in the light and the shadow and to hold both in their minds, not least the shadow. The shadow gave things shape and form. Without it there was just blinding, unrelieved glare like the sunlit desert outside.
Was Mereruka’s afterworld a physical place? Or just a different reality, a sort of virtual world created by a civilization’s collective unconscious and sustained by its religion? Mereruka did not question its existence.
‘Do I believe in survival after death?’ Anson asked himself. ‘Perhaps not, when I think about it. But what about when I don’t think about it, but merely feel it, at a deeper level?’
Everyone knew that the Egyptians were preoccupied with the afterlife, but they took it even more seriously than many imagined. Humans, they said, were the only creatures that must live life with the knowledge that one day they’re going to die and our culture was the world of distraction we create around ourselves to shield us from this knowledge. But the Egyptians’ culture did not serve as a mere distraction to the pitiless cruelty of death. Instead their culture came to grips with death in an attempt to overcome its tyranny. This doorway and statue, the glowing underworlds of the tombs, the Books of Coming Forth By Day, or the Book of the Dead as they called these religious texts - were the results of government-funded research into the ‘first mystery’- death and the afterlife. The early pyramids were like nationally financed space-shots designed to launch the god-king pharaoh into the hereafter. The Egyptians even had maps showing the routes to the underworld painted on the bases of coffins.
The unconscious psyche believes in life after death Carl Jung asserted…
  (Excerpt from 'The Smiting Texts')

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Enter here - into a realm of ancient Egyptian mystery and global conspiracy

Enter an Egyptian realm of global conspiracy, mystery, archaeology, religion and unseen forces

"The thriller takes off with a murder of an Egyptologist, dragging in his son and the US Department of Homeland Security.The renegade archaeologist son, Anson Hunter, is then joined by a Coptic Egyptian girl and the US intelligence team on a roller coaster ride through Egypt followed by radical elements and local authorities.
Hints of a secret which should shake the foundations of major world religions makes it a hard to put down book and draws on the author’s vast knowledge..." (L. Machado, Australian Press)

See my ancient Egypt Trilogy of adventure thrillers here