Saturday, March 31, 2012

A past wife in ancient Egypt? The Delta Dilemma is a deadly love triangle across the ages

The name Susan (She-shen?) came to us from ancient Egypt

“Do you remember her?”
“I remember something.”
Scenes like projections on a wall flickered into life in my thoughts, of love-illumined moments of intimacy sitting hand in hand with a female presence, who was like the breath of my being, the unattainable one that I had been searching for all my life.
Now, here, in the middle of chaos and disaster?
Maybe she had always been there.
Was this the one who had always been there like a view glimpsed from the corner of my eye, who vanished when I looked for her? Was this the woman in my mind - or at least the abstraction of femininity - whom I wished into scenes of sunsets and sunrises? The one who haunted my fantasies, the heart-catching image of Egyptian femalehood that I imagined framed in every darkened doorway to a temple, tomb or pylon? The one whose eyes I had seen in painted frescoes of ancient Egyptian beauties, especially the owner of this tomb?
In a sense this woman in the shadows of my mind was a more familiar companion than the dark-eyed wife who shared my everyday life because she was still there when I closed my eyes at night.
Was this intimation of a female essence an actual memory of someone I once knew, loved - a past wife?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Conspiracies taking their impetus from ancient Egypt *****5 stars, Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars "Excellent read on all levels"

"I finished your book a few days ago and have the sequel in my hot little Kindle. I loved the book - you are such a great writer! It really fulfilled all my requirements for a great read. Your knowledge of Egypt is astounding." (Shazartist, a female reader.)

See the range in Kindle edition:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Space Archaeology... real Egyptologist Anson Hunter territory

Briefing scene from the new SF movie trailer 'Prometheus'

What gets my fiction writer's juices going?

I love this scene from the Prometheus movie trailer.
It's real Anson Hunter territory... as in a scene from The Anubis Intervention, fourth novel in my Egyptian adventure quartet.

THE SPACE archaeologist, Katy Parkinson, used a remote control unit connected to her laptop to screen a new image in place of the ancient banquet scene. The image glowed, blue white and gold on the screen behind her.
   It was Egypt as the gods saw it from above, a long stem of blue river Nile and green cultivation with a lotus flower of the delta at its head and branching from the stem, the heart-shaped leaf of the Fayoum oasis. The Mediterranean above and the golden deserts on either side stretched out to meet the curving horizon.
    “Here’s a view of Egypt from space at a distance of four hundred and thirty five miles above earth. The use of non-invasive satellite and multi-spectral imagery to locate lost archaeological sites in Egypt is still in its infancy, yet already by analyzing this high resolution imagery, we’ve pin-pointed hundreds of sites for future exploration and we believe there could be up to 3,000 previously unexplored sites in Egypt, including possibly seventeen, sorry eighteen, lost pyramids to add to the one hundred and forty or so we already know about. In fact, we estimate that only one percent of Egypt’s treasures have been found so far.”
   She clicked to reveal a close image of the Fayoum, showing the heart shaped Lake once known as Lake Moeris, and a plain near it. “For our remote sensing study of the region we are analyzing information, from NASA, the French SPOT to high-resolution optical images from Russia's KVR-1000, plus JERS-2, the high frequency Japanese Earth Resources Satellite. We can see through the sand and detect the signature of bedrock and structures, even mud bricks and pottery. In fact we can zoom into objects the size of a suitcase… or maybe a Rosetta stone.”
  Caught up with enthusiasm for her new gee-whizz field of high tech archaeology, Katy added:
   “The infrared technology is a bit like the medical scans we’re all familiar with, based on heat emanation from the body. The sun and earth’s core generate geothermal radiation and this throws up structures under the sand, which like different parts of the body, give off their own signatures and these can be measured by special instruments that allow us to spot ancient relics, temples, tombs, settlements and even lost pyramids buried underneath the sands for millennia.”
   She moved closer to the screen and pointed with a glowing red spot of a laser pen at the satellite image.
   “Here’s an area scanned. See the density patches? And here, a shadow of an oblong structure with sloping walls… a pyramid, and see, here is a capstone with a distinctly metallic signature.”
   Space Girl had their attention, Anson thought.
   Egyptology was going to be changed forever by the arrival of this new breed of heat-seeking researcher, he thought...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Egyptologist hero Anson Hunter negotiates an ancient Egyptian underworld

The Map of Two Ways, British Museum

The others crowded inside and their lights revealed two paths painted on the floor and winding into darkness. One was an empty path, the other filled with blue wavy lines representing a river and in between the two paths, a fiery area of red and yellow.
“What do we do?”
“It’s a cosmography of the underworld, usually painted on the inside base of coffins. A map if you like. It comes from a tract called the ‘Book of Two Ways’ or the ‘Guide to the Ways of Rosetau’, said to have been discovered by the Egyptians ‘under the flanks of the Thoth'. One is a river. It travels from the rising sun in the east to the setting sun in the west and the other is a road that travels the opposite way.”
“So we take the road, I guess,” Thompson Rush said. Anson heard his heavy tread shifting towards it.
“Normally you’d expect to. In the Book of the Dead, the soul travels from the setting sun in the west to the east. But, as I recall, the Book of Two Ways is different. We must go from east to the west, which means taking the river.”
“What’s that red painted area in between the paths?” she said to him.
“That’s the ‘Lake of Flame’ that lies between the two roads. No one can survive falling into it, according to the Book of Two Ways.”
“But it’s just a painting.”
“I think this section is filled with psychological danger, an internal journey of the mind…” He broke off. “Do you hear that?”
“Wailing.” It was faint, yet it sounded like the far-off wailing of millions, ineffably sad and draining to the spirit.
They listened.
Couldn’t they hear it and feel the waves of sorrow?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The enduring adventure and romance of ancient Egypt

The fallen mighty - Rameses ll, Wadi-es-Sebua, Nubia

Fifty metres away from the temple, a statue of Rameses lay half buried in the red sand in fallen grandeur, as though cast out of the precinct, while the inner temple showed an image of Rameses worshipping himself as a god.

(The Ibis Apocalypse) 


Egypt endures - that's what Egypt does best.  

In spite of the current disarray, the revolution is just a blip in its long history.

A comforting thought for ancient Egypt lovers.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

THIS IS IT. The novel that introduced the renegade Egyptologist quartet

Start the Egypt adventure series here.

The murder of an Egyptologist rings alarm bells with the US Department of Homeland Security. Before he knows it they co-opt his son, renegade British Egyptologist Anson Hunter, into an investigation that has stunning implications for US security.

Yet soon their search attracts the attention of radical Islamists as well as the Egyptian authorities. Dark suspicions surface, suspicions that Anson's father found evidence of a secret that will shake the foundations of every major world religion.

Soon, whichever way they turn, Anson and his team find themselves trapped in a labyrinth of intrigue and menace that becomes all too hideously real.

Anson Hunter's special knowledge as an alternative Egyptologist, theorist and phenomenologist may be the key to stopping a catastrophe.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

4 investigations into ancient Egypt's forbidden secrets

An unusual alternative Egyptologist fiction hero, ancient Egyptian dangers and modern conspiracy

‘I finished your book (The Smiting Texts) a few days ago and have the sequel in my hot little Kindle. I loved the book - you are such a great writer! It really fulfilled all my requirements for a great read. Your knowledge of Egypt is astounding. I found the book to be extremely engaging on all levels. I loved the intrigue without horror and it was full of interesting twists and turns. I also really enjoyed the characters and their development. It was very well written and for a book so full of information it kept you on your toes. I am so glad it is a series, and will be purchasing the others’ - Amazon reader.

Follow renegade Egyptologist Anson Hunter's investigative adventures into the dangers of the ancient past 

The fifth Anson Hunter adventure is now out in Kindle edition.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Elephants in ancient Egypt

Elephant in stone, Lake Nasser

There are more than rescued temples sitting on the edges of Lake Nasser... also images of Egypt and Nubia's early African wildlife, including an elephant, giraffe and more.

THE CRUISEBOAT stopped along the way at clusters of temples that had been rescued and rebuilt on higher ground at the time of the construction of the new Aswan High Dam.
The rescued structures now sat like sublime flotsam and jetsam washed up high on the shores of the lake.
Kalabsha, Kiosk of Qertassi, Beit al-Wali, Wadi es Sebua, Dakka, Maharraqa, Qasr Ibrim, Derr, Amada...

(From "The Ibis Apocalypse" - a cruise on Lake Nasser with renegade Egyptologist Anson Hunter in the company of a mysterious female Mossad agent.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

#3 The women in my Egypt fiction and their reaction to my hero

In an inset tale, we meet the beguiling Se-she-shet

(Sesheshet is the mysterious young female that the young hunter Kha finds crawling in the reeds during the rampage of the female lioness of destruction, Sekhmet-Hathor.)

They ate. She ate lustily, like one fighting to regain her strength. He wondered if she brought the same amiable appetite to all her pleasures. She drained her cup twice and refilled it and filled it again. She drank that too and offered him more, but he covered the mouth of his cup.
 She looked disappointed.
“Does the good bowman not unstring his bow at night to relax it?”
“I must stay alert,” he said.
“Do you hunt at night?”
“Sometimes. But I must always take care I am not the hunted one.”
“What is it that you hunt, beautiful man? Other than poor helpless girls in the reeds who cannot hide their nakedness."
“I'm hunting for the cat of destruction,” he said. “I am here to end her rampage.”
“You - hunting a goddess?” She was astonished. “With a bow and arrow? You come to hunt a goddess and you ended up bagging me. Don't be disappointed though. Maybe you found her after all. Maybe I am the goddess. Who knows what she looks like? Who has seen her and lived?” She gave a playful growl, pretending to be Sekhmet Hathor.
She was tiddly, strong beer acting on an empty stomach, he guessed.
“Don't joke about the cat of destruction.”
“Lighten your heart, Kha. It's time to be mirthful. We are young and alive. Can’t I pretend to be cat instead of woman if I want to?”
“You are more kitten than cat.”
“Do you suppose there is a kitten in Sekhmet-Hathor?”
“No, she is a merciless bitch-cat.”
“Would you really kill Sekhmet-Hathor if you found out she were just a kitten like me?” She poured herself more beer. Her eyes were steady in spite of the drink.
“I would have to kill her, whatever form she took.”
“Shall I dance for you Kha?”
“Don't be foolish. You are weak as a kitten and must rest.”
“Don't think about destruction now. Besides it is well known that the cat does not strike at night. She sleeps after her daily orgy of killing.”
“How did you survive?” he asked her, trying to deflect her from her wanton inclinations, brought on by the beer. “You had the fever?”
“Fever? Yes, I expect that was it. The blood boiled in my veins, I saw a haze of red before my eyes and people running and screaming and a roar like the sun filled my ears, then darkness. I don’t know how I came to the river. I was weakened and needed its coolness in my throat. More drink?”
“No, and you must rest.”
“Tell me a diverting story, Kha.”
“I am in no mood to tell stories.”
“Or a clever riddle.”
“You are a riddle. Who are you, really? Don't you remember? Who is your family? Are you a priestess as I suspect?”
“A Pure One, yes. I am certainly that.”
“In whose temple do you serve?”
“My own of course,” she said enigmatically.
“You worship in your own temple?”
“We must all, Kha. Haven't you learnt that to your cost?”
“Tell me.”
“The temple of Sekhmet-Hathor.”
What a twist. He was hunting the very goddess this young woman served. Maybe it explained why she had survived. She had been spared. It also explained her fondness for drink. Intoxication was a part of the goddess Hathor's temple ritual, the priests and priestesses believing that it led the devout to the attainment of higher planes of existence. Mostly it brought them spewing into the streets. But Hathor's Feast of the Good Union was the most popular occasion of all on Egypt's crowded calendar of festivities.
“Where is your temple?”
“Never mind. All is gone.”
“Do you have family?”
“Not a soul on earth.”
Kha remembered the old maxim: Beware the girl from other parts, whose town and family is not known. Do not stare at her when she passes by. Her heart is deep water whose windings one does not know, a whirlpool with unpredictable eddies.
But he said: “You must come with us. I won't leave you here among the dead.”
“You seem to have taken a protective interest in me. I am exceedingly charmed by it, being more used to conferring protection than receiving it. How sweet!”
“Just get well.”
“Why are you doing this for me? Why are you taking such pity on a stranger?”
“Because it is a universe without pity,” he said. “And I make this one stand to defy it. You are the flesh of Egypt. You are Egypt. And so you are holy to me in a way that means more than old gods on crumbling thrones.”
“I know what your heart is feeling, Kha. The gods have tried to destroy me too and failed. I am one with you, even though I have just met you. And you are right in everything you feel and say.” She touched his hand in sympathy.
Memories of death and destruction flew from his mind…

(inset tale in The Smiting Texts)

#2 The women in my Egypt adventure fiction and how they play off my hero

My Egyptologist meets a female Mossad agent in a quirky occult bookshop in London

(Zara Margolin, Mossad.)

WHEN THE WOMAN came into the occult bookshop, Anson forgot about the German book browser and his incredible claims.
She was a dark beauty in a long black leather coat, and, promisingly, she looked quite mainstream, he thought. Definitely not a crank, this one. She swept a glance around the deserted interior.
“Tell me you haven’t just popped in here for directions,” he said hopefully.
“Hello Anson Hunter.” Angelic choirs began to sing inside the occult bookshop, or so it seemed to him.
“Come straight to the head of the queue,” he said.
“No need for crowd control here, I see.”
Crowd control. A strange quip. It had a law enforcement ring, he thought. She wasn’t the law, surely. He’d upset the Intelligence community in the past, but the police?
“Would you care for a signed copy?” he said. She had a calm, self-possessed manner.
“No, thanks.”
“No?” She shook her head and made her black hair swing. Not another non-reader. This called for desperate measures. “Look, I’ll give you money outside,” he said in a whisper.
“It’s been a bit slow in here today and I’ve got to encourage the bookseller. Let’s make her believe that someone’s going to read my book.”
She smiled. That mouth did not part easily with smiles, he guessed.
“I’ve read your book.” Angelic choirs returned to the occult bookshop. A precious reader. So they did exist. He warmed to the woman. He felt like asking for her signature.
“Zara Margolin,” she said, offering her hand in a surprisingly firm handshake. “You really believe that this ancient stone tablet actually existed?” she said.
“Yes, it actually did and it actually still does.” 

“And it has the powers you fear?” 
“I wrote a whole book in support of that belief.” It was as if a book alone were not enough for her. She wanted to hear it from the author himself.
“You believe the Stela has appeared in history at times before struggles and suffering? In the time of Rameses and the suffering of the Hebrews... and in Hitler’s Germany?”
Suffering - Old Testament - a Jewish woman. Did that account for her interest? She searched his face as he answered, her eyes almost level with his. The intensity of her gaze made him flinch. She was quite rangy, he noted, almost matching his lanky height.
“I’m sure of it,” he said. “In fact, I believe its message is about to resurface, if it hasn’t already done so.”
“This tablet would be very ancient,” she said.
“Exceedingly. It comes from the womb of history – from an age that the ancient Egyptians called Zep Tepi.”
“Zep Tepi,” she said after him. She played with the words.
“An age before the pharaohs, when divinities like Thoth were supposed to have reigned over Egypt.”
A frown briefly disturbed the smoothness of her forehead.
“Yes, but pre- the invention of writing, surely?”
“Not necessarily. They keep pushing back the date of Egypt’s invention of hieroglyphs with new discoveries. I believe writing goes back further than Egyptologists believe.”
“I forget. You’re alternative. But people always called it a scroll - The Scroll of Thoth.”
He shook his head.
“The first books, like the Ten Commandments, were in stone and Egyptian stelae were books in stone. So-called papyrus Scrolls of Thoth appeared later in the New Kingdom.”
“Okay. But to believe in the Stela of Thoth, you’ve got to believe in Thoth. An Egyptian god with a bird’s head.”
“We don’t know who, or what, Thoth may have been,” he said. “But even putting aside the question of whether or not a race called the Neteru, or the gods, actually existed at some distant age, consider it a case of inspired agency. Like the Bible. Egyptian religion and mythology tells us that Thoth was the first example of the divine mind, the logos, or the ‘word’ of creation as Christians call it. He was known as the master of wisdom, writing and time, symbolised by both the sacred ibis and the dog-faced baboon.”
“A bird and a baboon as the god of wisdom?”
“Not so unexpected. Have you ever looked at an ibis? The curve of its beak echoes a crescent moon, or perhaps the rim of an eclipse. Watch the measured way an ibis strides, picking out small fish, snakes, frogs and insects like a master scribe judiciously selecting his words. Thoth was also the god of time and measurement. Picture the way the ibis strides the fields of Egypt, pace by measuring pace, like a scribal surveyor of ancient times re-measuring the land and setting boundaries after mud from the inundation covered the river banks.”
“And a baboon?”
“Before man could utter words, baboons were facing the rising sun and chattering. Look into those deep-set eyes and it’s possible to believe that you’re looking into the depths of mysterious wisdom and it was mainly in the form of a baboon that scribes revered Thoth as the ‘Lord of Script.’”
“What’s the word on your theory?”
“As far as general reaction goes, it’s early days. But I hope the book will have a slow build. As far as academia goes, very little reaction so far. None, in fact. Mainstream Egyptologists ignore me as they do the mysticism and spiritual powers of ancient Egypt. I think I write books to annoy them.”
“And what do the Egyptians think?”
By Egyptians, he took it she was not referring to transpersonal beings from Egypt’s ancient past, but to the Egyptian authorities.
“Up until recent times, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities showed a supreme disinterest in me, but they now seem to recognise me as an irritant or at least as somebody worth keeping an eye on.”
“What about New Agers?” Here she swept a glance around the bookshelves.
“Alternative theorists? I’m afraid I’m a disappointment to most of them. I’m not extreme enough for their liking. I’m not, for example, a big fan of Atlantis, aliens and the like. I didn’t actually choose to be here in a New Age-occult bookshop, by the way. My publisher arranged it, since we sell well through such establishments apparently, although you mightn’t think so right now. I prefer mainstream booksellers. It’s quiet enough to hold a séance in here.”
“I’m sure there’ll be more interest in the US.”
He wasn’t raising much interest here, he thought, and he was due to go on a book and lecture tour of the United States next, as he’d revealed in his blogs.
“Hope so.”
“Good luck with the book.”
Don’t go yet, he nearly pleaded. She was moving away. Don’t you want to hear how this discovery is going to shake up the stuffy world of academic Egyptology?
But, after a parting glance, she was gone and the occult environment closed in around him like cobwebs once again.
“No luck?” the bookshop lady said. “Never mind. It will pick up.”

#1 The women in my Egypt adventure fiction and how they sum up my hero

The renegade Egyptologist meets a female neo-pagan

('Lady Neith', real name Germaine Ryan, a modern day pagan and neo-religionist keen to bring back the mystery religions of Egypt.)

Two people lingered after the presentation, one a restless young man who stood nervously rubbing his face like an addict anxious for a fix.
The other was a tall, leonine young woman with cropped golden hair and dressed in a business suit jacket and skirt. She could have been a lawyer or executive.
“Thank you for your stimulating talk,” she said in a low voice. “You have a gift. I have long followed your interest in unseen realities and I applaud your alternative views. But you’re not quite alternative enough, perhaps. You’re on the right journey, Anson. May I call you Anson? But you never go quite far enough. Some barrier is holding you back. Outdated ties to Christianity perhaps? Or possibly a fugitive desire for academic acceptance? You’re reluctant to engage fully with the divine of ancient Egypt, though you call yourself a phenomenologist.”
“If you mean I stop short of neo-paganism, bowing down to the ancient divinities of Egypt, then yes, thank God.”
She gave him a slow, tolerant smile but her eyes sparkled.
“There it is again. The barrier. Perhaps you’ll find we are on the same journey after all, but you just don’t know it yet.”
She dug left-handedly into a purse and handed him a card that said:
LADY NEITH, Ancient Horizons

An ancient Egypt neo-religionist.

“Lady Neith?” he said. “I’m honoured. I love New Age young women, usually web-based, who grant themselves the nom de plumes of Egyptian goddesses, and then, as if the sacred name is not enough, preface it with the honorific ‘Lady’. A bit unbelievable don’t you think? I mean I’m perfectly willing to believe you really are the terrible Egyptian goddess of war, but a lady?”
She gave a visible quiver.
“What are you saying?”
“Just an Englishman sensitive to an outdated peerage system.”
“I see.”
“And Neith?” he said, puzzled. “A warlike entity regarded as an androgynous goddess, Mistress of Bows and Ruler of Arrows. I hope you know that in hieroglyphs they wrote her name as an ejaculating phallus - a reference to her male creative force. She was also a mortuary goddess. Neith wove the bandages and shrouds worn by the mummified dead as a gift to them. ‘I am All That Has Been, That Is, and That Will Be. No mortal has yet been able to lift the veil that covers me,’ it was said of her.”
She looked at him sharply.
“What are you implying?”
“An unusual choice of a name, that’s all.”
“I hope it won’t be another barrier you can’t overcome,” she said. “I have an invitation for you. Will you be one of our guests, a speaker, on a forthcoming cruise in Egypt? Not on a commercial tourist boat, let me reassure you, but aboard a large private, dahabiyya sail boat. A much more spiritual way to see Egypt, I think you’ll agree, and a perfect way to be closer to the Nile and commune with the past and divine energies. We will meet any fees and all expenses and you’ll enjoy a cruise from Aswan, including Kom Ombo, Edfu, Esna, a few days in Luxor, then on to Dendera.”

Excerpt from The Hathor Holocaust

Monday, March 5, 2012

A cruise into danger in "The Ibis Apocalypse" - Egypt adventure fiction

Sublime flotsam and jetsam, Lake Nasser

THE CRUISEBOAT stopped along the way at clusters of temples that had been rescued and rebuilt on higher ground at the time of the construction of the new Aswan High Dam.
The rescued structures now sat like sublime flotsam and jetsam washed up high on the shores of the lake.
Kalabsha, Kiosk of Qertassi, Beit al-Wali, Wadi es Sebua, Dakka, Maharraqa, Qasr Ibrim, Derr, Amada...

(From "The Ibis Apocalypse" - a cruise on Lake Nasser with renegade Egyptologist Anson Hunter in the company of a mysterious female Mossad agent.)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ancient Egypt Gallery of Gods & Goddesses in my adventure fiction novels

Were Egypt's gods & goddesses the ancient superheroes?

There is a roll call of Egypt's gods and goddesses in my adventure fiction - including Sobek, Heka, Seshat, Ra, Hathor, Ptah, Horus, Thoth, Osiris, Nut, Anubis and more.
But who were these enigmatic beings? 

Were they the ancient world's original 'Marvel' superheroes? (Perhaps the young hawk-god Horus, avenging the murder of his father Osiris, was the archetype of the costumed superheroes in 'The Avengers' movie and others.)

The Palermo Stone - a recorded Canon of Kings - and other testaments of the ancient Egyptians speak of divine beings and demigods who ruled Egypt for thousands of years before the first human kings, beginning with Menes, also known as Narmer.
A character asks in The Smiting Texts:
“And these gods, represented by idols - who do you think they were in the cosmological scheme?”
The Coptic priest shrugged. “I do not profess to know where they fit into creation. I often wonder. Were they the fallen Elohim? God’s fallen council? Intriguingly, Genesis mentions early sons of god who walked the earth: Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. There were giants on the earth in those days, the Bible relates, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

 Dangers from the ancient past in the Egypt fiction collection