Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What would Howard Carter, Tutankhamun's discoverer, think of space archaeology?

Instead of peering through a hole by candlelight...

...peering down from space

(The blog of Anson Hunter, fiction's Egyptologist.)

Today we disembarked from Ayesha and checked into the Winter Palace at Luxor. We plan to base ourselves here for a few days’ of exploration before we fly north to Cairo. This afternoon we’ll cross to the Valley of the Kings and visit Karnak temple in the morning. 
I stretched out my frame on the bed in the Victorian elegance of my room and thought about my surroundings.
Tsars, stars and shahs have all graced this old colonial treasure of a hotel. 
Most intriguingly of all, the doyen of Egyptology, Howard Carter, discoverer of the tomb of Tutankhamun, made the announcement to the world of his discovery here. In later years he would sit in the foyer, basking in the fading recognition of guests, a lion of Egyptology reduced to a rather sad, Chaplinesque figure.
Did the Egyptologist ever sleep in this room? I wonder, as I look up at the ceiling. What would Carter have made of this new world of satellite technology? Would he have called it archaeology by proxy? 
Instead of peering by candlelight through a hole in a wall to view the hoard of treasures inside Tutankhamun’s tomb chamber, archaeologists today are peering down from space to see the treasures below the sand and in answer to the question “can you see anything?” they are saying “wonderful things!”
We are finding ancient Egypt from space and there are those like Virgil Powell who believe that ‘space’ found ancient Egypt in the form of visitors who left their footprints in the amazing knowledge and technology of a lost civilization…

From the novel 'Egypt Eyes', 5th in the Anson Hunter ancient Egypt investigative adventure series.

(The new world of space archaeology in Egypt features in several of my novels, including The Smiting Texts and especially 'Egypt Eyes'.)  

UPDATE: The recevent TV series 'Tutankhamun' raises yet another question... What would Howatd Carter have thought of his modern day portrayal? 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ancient Egypt's Words of Power and modern global conspiracies

Thoth's forbidden texts

The hieroglyphs in the Stone Book  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. 

(The Ibis Apocalypse - 3rd in the Egypt action adventure series of investigative novels featuring fiction's Egyptologist Anson Hunter.) 

Discover the forbidden secrets here 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Subterfuge and ancient secrets in the halls of Egyptology, British Museum

A man had followed him to the British Museum.
Who was he?
Anson went up the steps and between the Ionic-style columns into the building. He passed through a crowded reception hall to arrive in the Great Court beyond.
Above the court, a tessellated glass and steel roof spread out overhead like a vast, glowing net, catching clouds, blue sky and a spirit of illumination, while the round, central building swelled like an ivory tower of learning. He crossed the clean bright space before heading left to the door of the Egyptian section.
Inside the dimmer light of the hall, a group of school children crowded around the Rosetta Stone in its glass display case. Two little black girls peered inside, their heads close together as they examined the stone, their hair braided in cornrows. An African look, he thought. It linked his thoughts to Africa’s greatest river, the Nile, and to Egypt’s irrigated fields that bounded it and made Egypt the breadbasket of the ancient world.
He made for the sculpture gallery.
Egypt, both divinely monumental and naturalistic, surrounded him. Two statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, powerfully formed in dark granodiorite, flanked the entranceway to a hall, granting admittance, and inside, as stone slid by, other familiar sights came into view, a red granite lion with charmingly crossed forepaws, and further on, the statue of the Chief Steward Senenmut tenderly holding the daughter of Queen Hatshepsut, the little princess Neferure, on his lap - the child wrapped within his cloak and her face peeping out - then a soaring, crowned head of Pharaoh Amenhotep in the background. And people everywhere, creating a sound of buzzing like voices in a cathedral at prayer time.
But he barely saw or heard them. He paused at a figure standing on a pedestal near a wall on the right hand side, almost overshadowed by a colossal granite torso of Rameses the Great in the centre of the hall.
Khaemwaset, the priest-prince and magician.
Anson confronted the figure. The sculpture depicted the prince in a pleated kilt, stepping forward while holding a pair of emblematic staves at his sides. The conglomerate stone must have presented a technical challenge to the sculptor as it was shot through with multi-coloured pebbles. It made Khaemwaset look as if galaxies were exploding out of his chest.
A museum label said:
Red breccia standing figure... one of the favourite sons of Rameses II, the legendary Khaemwese…
The label used a variant spelling of the name Khaemwaset.
He looked up at the face. Intelligent, sensitive features, faintly saddened. An air as haunted as the face of the sphinx.
Anson silently interrogated the statue.
Open up, Khaemwaset. As one renegade to another, what do you really know?

(The Ibis Apocalypse - Paperback and Kindle, Amazon)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What has ancient Egypt to do with the world's Intelligence agencies? Fiction series

Dangers from the ancient past and global conspiracy today

Discover fiction's Egyptologist Anson Hunter and a series of investigative adventure novels that involve US, Israeli and British Intelligence, as well as New Age and New World Order Conspirators who take their inspiration from ancient Egypt, as well as hostile Islamist plotters.

Begin the series here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Superpower America vs Superpower ancient Egypt. Does US foreign policy recognize dangers from Egypt's past? Fiction series

Start the series in Kindle editions

“YOU WANT me to what?”
“Help us find what appears to be an ancient weapon,” she said.
“Ancient weapon?”
“I know it sounds incredible,” the academic said.
“It does, even in my alternative, parallel universe.”
“Yet, astonishingly, this is what our authorities have been forced to consider.”
“You’re going to have to unpack that a bit,” he said.
The man in the big blue suit, who bulked up the small meeting table, and who sat flanked by young, careful-faced men, spoke up.
“Very few of us believe in remote killing, of the kind you’ve been describing, anyway, but we all believe in remote listening. We have intelligence that something ancient, called ‘the mother of revenge’ is being levelled against our country from the land of the Nile.”

Monday, October 22, 2012

Where are they in Egypt? ANSWER

Horus the Elder and Hathor

This striking pair of ancient Egyptian deities can be found (separately, but not far apart) carved in relief on walls outside of the Ptolemaic temple of Kom Ombo.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Who was the terrible Egyptian goddess Hathor-Sekhmet?

 Hathor-Sekhmet permeates these novels

Experience the baleful influence of the Female Soul with Two Faces - love and destruction - in The Smiting Texts and The Hathor Holocaust.

First two novels in my Egypt adventure series.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Who was Thoth, ancient Egypt's Lord of Words and Wonderworking Formulae?

Thoth plays a pivotal role in my fiction

"Okay," she said. "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.’”

(The Ibis Apocalypse)

Alone in the tomb of ancient Egypt's Napoleon, the pharaoh Thutmosis lll

Inside the cliff side tomb of Thutmosis lll

A curious radiance over the cliff

My wife and I once spent a fascinating time immersed in this tomb - totally alone.

Yes, it does occasionally happen, even in the popular Valley of the Kings.

Our uninterrupted time inspired a fictional scene.

This is the sky we saw overhead when we came out.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fiction's Egyptologist digs among memories of a dead father

Anson seeks out the famous Egyptologist father who abandoned him as a child

They reached the door to his father’s apartment, not far from the Johns Hopkins University campus, Anson and two Homeland men, Bloem and Browning.
They planned to force the door, but they didn’t need to.
“Someone has beaten us here,” Bloem said.
Anson hesitated. An image flashed through his mind. He pictured a false doorway from a tomb. A door that went nowhere. A magical door between two worlds, the living and the dead. This was such a door, he thought, although this one had a handle to open and bore a number in brass. His father, or some vestigial remains of his life, lay behind the door. Would it really admit him into some new knowledge or understanding of him? Now that his father’s life was over, would he finally make a contact of sorts? How he longed for that contact and had longed for it ever since he was a boy.
“You okay?” Bloem said to him. “Maybe we’d better go first.”
He must cross the threshold.
He reached out and pushed. The door swung open at a touch.
He expected to discover the presence of his father inside. Instead he found the wreckage of his father’s life. The apartment lay in chaos. Books, journals, papers, photographs, print outs, letters and scraps of papers littered every surface, scattered over table tops, a green leather topped desk, a trestle table, even strewn out on the carpeted floor.
They went inside.
The place was deserted and a quick check around the studio apartment left him feeling empty too.
He was stricken with a childlike loneliness and regret that this ruin was all that was left of his father.
But there were personal clues left around that struck Anson like a minor revelation. In the bathroom, he learnt that his father must have taken a toiletry travel kit to Egypt on his digs, for here was another set. He saw the brand of toothpaste his father used and the methodical way he squeezed the tube, rolling it up from the base, a bright red toothbrush sitting in a glass, an antique metal scrape shaver, a striped dressing gown hanging behind a door, intimate markers of a life that his father had denied his knowing. He felt like an intruder seeing secrets never meant to be seen by others and by him in particular.
Anson felt a grief come up in his chest for the first time. He fought it down. Stop, he told himself simply. You’ve got a job to do. But where would he begin?
Torn from shelves like an avalanche of erudition, lay hundreds of volumes on ancient Egypt, medieval Egypt, archaeology, mythology and magic, piled in heaps. He came back to the door.
“Either my father was not as methodical as his reputation,” he said, “Or this place has been turned over.”
It looked as if it had been hit by a howling windstorm. Even pictures had been torn off the walls. Framed illustrations of Egypt’s ruins by nineteenth century landscape artist David Roberts lay on the floor.
Anson looked around the place in wintry bemusement.
“Not burglars, I’m guessing.”
“They were searching for information.”
Approaching the personal effects and papers of the dead Egyptologist’s life was going to be like approaching an archaeological dig, he thought. Was this how his father had felt when approaching the excavation of a ruined site?
To go over this wreckage carefully almost called for the methodology of grid method excavation, he thought, groaning inwardly. To do it properly wasn’t just a matter of clearance. Like an archaeologist working on an excavation, he should probably establish relationships in time between the objects, a relative chronology and that almost meant calling on the same disciplines of stratigraphy and superimposition that his father wrote about using in his diggings. Maybe he should establish a datum point, like the desk where his father worked. Anson sighed. No time for that. This is my father’s apartment, not a tomb site.
Yet these personal books and papers were parts of his father and, like the body of the god Osiris, who had been ripped into pieces by his enemy, the intruders had scattered Emory Hunter’s life all over the floor....

Excerpt from The Smiting Texts, Amazon Kindle

A scorching ending... fiction's Egyptologist in The Hathor Holocaust

The thinking man's - and woman's - Indiana Jones.

'If you like the 'musings of an obsessive alternative Egyptologist' and action adventure spanning archaeological sites all over Egypt, you will enjoy the successor to 'The Smiting Texts'.

An intriguing, yet slightly slower burn to begin, yet the ending is literally a scorcher and the witty Anson Hunter is good company all the way. 

The Anson Hunter collection of investigative action adventures

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Egypt based action adventure - The Ibis Apocalypse excerpt

Egypt action adventure

Neues Museum, Museum Island, Berlin
“WHAT THE GERMAN people have, they keep,” Adolf Hitler famously responded when Egyptian authorities suggested that the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin ought to be returned to Cairo.
Anson was standing among other admiring visitors in front of the bust of the iconic queen in a long gallery at the north cupola of the Neues Museum, when he recalled the Fuehrer’s response. The suggestions from the Egyptian authorities had risen to the level of rancorous clamour in recent years, yet there were still no signs that Nefertiti was going back to Egypt anytime soon. The queen’s image was everywhere, on postcards, in books and on publicity posters. Nefertiti had the pulling power of a superstar.
Was it James Bond’s creator Ian Fleming who’d remarked that the ancient queen of Egypt could make an entrance today in a designer gown and give the beautiful people a run for their money?
I never thought I’d agree with Hitler on any subject, Anson reflected, shaking his head in wonder at her beauty. The timeless elegance, lovely neck and airborne eyebrows produced a powerful effect on the beholder. If I had Nefertiti I wouldn’t part with her either.
Yet it was not always true that ‘what the German people have, they keep’ when it came to Egypt’s treasures, Anson thought, if there was any truth in the German informant's story about his grandfather’s returning of the Stela texts to Egypt.
A museum visitor moved in and stood beside Anson at the glass case, directing a jaded stare at Queen Nefertiti.
“Personally, I think she’s overrated,” the man said. He had a tired face and spoke with a lazy drawl. American.
“Stars never quite look the same off camera,” Anson consoled him.
He saw a movement reflected in the glass surface and looked around. A glimpse of a blurred head vanished behind an entranceway.
Was this his anxious and mysterious informant? He left the display case and went to see. No sign of Reiner Faltinger. Anson looked at his watch. How much longer do I give him? His eyes drifted back to Nefertiti. She was fine company, but he was beginning to feel a twinge of unease.
The tired man at the display case looked back at him and appeared disappointed. Perhaps he’d been hoping to strike up a conversation.
I’ve waited long enough, Anson thought. Coming to this meeting on an impulse had been a long shot. He could ill afford the time, let alone the cost.
Two men in dark suits, museum staff he assumed, intercepted him. “Please come this way.”
“What’s the problem?” They guided him to an elevator. “I didn’t book the guided tour.”
“No trouble,” the other said.
The doors slid open. They guided him inside. One pressed a button and the door closed, sealing him inside. They were contained men, yet they crammed the elevator like a crowd.
Anson had a sinking feeling.
“This isn’t the tour, is it?”
The one brushed aside his coat to reveal a handgun stuck in his belt.
“No trouble… from you.”
They shepherded him out of the lift and walked him to a storage area. His prospects grew dim, like the lighting inside. The place was a vault crammed with crates and with the cast offs of ancient Egypt; also with the casts of its former glories. A vast, brooding statue of the freakish pharaoh Akhenaten with his swollen hips and mad, sunken eyes overlooked the scene and several Nefertitis reared their slender necks on shelves. Plaster casts. They seemed dingy and old. Were they relics from the original museum’s decoration before it was bombed in the Second World War?
Museum store rooms were historical netherworlds, places of dusty shedding where unsightly things lived, broken things that were not meant to be seen any more, pieces of mummies, their heads, hands and feet, shattered statues, ugly magical figurines, cryptic fragments of writing on pottery shards, the remains in stone, wood and clay of gods pharaohs, men and creatures.
This place was an even more unnerving place in the company of the two, intent men who moved in closer to him.
“Okay, you’ve persuaded me,” Anson said. “I’ll take your explanatory tour. Starting with an explanation of what’s happening here.”
“You see that box?” The taller of them moved his head towards an open crate half-stuffed with packing chips. “You can go out of the museum in that, or on your own two legs.”
Where would the crate be headed? To Egypt? Returning artefacts from the museum? Not if the treasured bust of Nefertiti on exhibition was any example.
He reminded himself that this place was built on Museum Island. He could end up taking a trip to the river.
“Depending on?”
“Depending on whether or not you are convincing and tell us where you believe the missing stela to be.”
“The Destiny Stela, I take it?”
Who were they? Not the German law, he was guessing. Perhaps the New Dawn group his informer had warned him about.
“What about some introductions?”
“Meet my fist.”
Pain exploded in Anson’s face as a right-cross sent him crashing to the feet of Akhenaten.
“I will introduce my shoe.”
The second man introduced Anson to the point of a black leather shoe in the pit of his stomach. Anson gasped and doubled up on the floor.
Who said Germans didn’t have a sense of humour?

(Excerpt from The Ibis Apocalypse, no 3 in the Anson Hunter series of Egypt-based action adventures)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Homeland - what does it fear from a visiting British Egyptologist?

THEY INTERCEPTED him as he came out of Baltimore-Washington Airport, two men wearing suits and an air of officialdom like a brisk cologne.
“Mr Anson Hunter, the British Egyptologist?”
Egyptologist? That sounded good. Very establishment. Anson stood a bit taller, which placed his beanstalk elevation a few inches above theirs. The man could have said independent, renegade Egyptologist and phenomenologist, lecturer at out-of-town halls and auditoriums, writer, blogger and alternative theorist as well as leader of occasional, fringe tour groups to Egypt. But instead the man had said ‘Egyptologist’.
“Who wants to know?”
“You are invited to Johns Hopkins University. They want to hear you speak.”
Anson goggled just a little. Johns Hopkins and Anson Hunter? His moment of elation quickly faded. They didn’t belong in the same sentence.
“A nice thought, gentlemen, but venerable institutions like Johns Hopkins don’t want people like me to speak. They would prefer us not to breathe.”
Anson had arrived to give a lecture on ancient Egyptian ritual smiting power and execration texts at a hired Masonic hall that evening.
He tried to move past, but the men blocked his way, smiling with steely politeness.
“Please come with us, Sir.”
“There must be some mistake.”
The spokesman frowned and reached inside his coat. Hell, Anson thought, what is this? Has mainstream Egyptology finally sent a hit squad? The hand came out of the coat. Anson resumed the business of breathing. The man flipped open a wallet, by way of introduction. Anson glimpsed a crest – an eagle inside a circle and the words:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Also a name, Browning. He was a broad-faced man with steady eyes.
Why me?
Anson’s ex-wife May had always said that he had the burning eyes of fanatic. Had they picked him out as a likely threat to the US homeland? This Johns Hopkins stuff was just a cover for an arrest.
He suddenly felt very alien.
“I’ve been a mild threat to conventional Egyptology for years,” he said, “but I hardly rate as a security risk.”

Monday, October 1, 2012

An Ancient Egypt Writer's Kit - the complete fiction collection

Egyptian writing has come a long way - scribal kit Berlin Museum

"I just finished this great read. 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." (The Smiting Texts)
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read on all levels March 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition

We've come a long way from scribal palletes, pigment and reed pen holders to Kindles, iPads and computers, but the relevance of ancient Egypt continues.

Discover a series of novels that investigates unseen dangers and conspiracies today that come from the ancient past. 

See the entire kit and caboodle at Amazon.