Monday, June 29, 2015

Is there a lost statue of Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut in old Africa?

Africa's gifts for a pharaoh


Hatshepsut's image
It's common to think of ancient Egypt as somehow existing in a geographic bubble, but having lived much of my life in central and southern Africa, I feel a strong sense of Africa in Egypt and yes, a sense of Egypt in the rest of Africa.
As my fictional archaeologist and Egyptologist Anson Hunter remarks:

“Intriguingly, Hatshepsut sent a carved stone statue of herself to the distant land of Punt and I’ve often pictured it sitting somewhere, a milky stone queen of Egypt dreaming in the African bush, perhaps sparking legends of a white queen in darkest Africa. I read too much Rider Haggard as a child.”



See the Egypt archaeological adventure series

Friday, June 26, 2015

Palmyra, and a bit of civilization, crumbles... one of those times when Facebook's "Like" button is impossible for me to push.


Why does a blind young female archaeologist ask a renegade Egyptologist to be her guide in Egypt? EGYPT EYES

 




(A chapter excerpt)
"Egypt eyes" - Anson Hunter's archaeology blog (adventure fiction)

I’m here in Aswan, Egypt, researching one of my theories about the ancient past for a new book, when out of the blue I get an invitation to show a young blind woman around Egypt.

I always like the sense of being drawn into intrigue and in this case my sensors are resonating like ground-penetrating radar. Also, I have a flexibility reflex that keeps getting me into trouble. It lures me into accepting dubious propositions and offers of employment that help to fund my investigations in Egypt.

So there I was at The Old Cataract, the hotel where Agatha Christie penned her novel Death on the Nile. I entered the gardened swimming pool area, which sits below a wide veranda with its famous cliff-top view over the rock-strewn Nile at Aswan.

I found the blind young woman relaxing on a poolside lounger.

“Hello, I’m Anson Hunter,” I said, approaching her.

She turned up her blonde head and her reflective dark glasses sent flashes like empty mirrors.

“Thanks for coming to meet me, Anson. I know you’ve taken groups around Egypt in the past and I am wondering… will you allow me to hire you as my personal guide for a week or so? I want you to be my eyes in Egypt.”

“Are you sure you need me?” I said.

“You’re thinking a guide dog might be a better idea, perhaps Anubis, the dog god of the necropolis?” she said. “No, it’s you I want.”

It’s hard to believe now that even though I was standing right over her at the poolside, I was probably just an elongated smudge in her vision. Her female Egyptian assistant, who had emailed me, explained that Dr Constance Somers has degenerative retinitis pigmentosa and is now ninety percent blind. I think that’s being generous.

“Me show you Egypt?” I said, squinting against the southern Egyptian sunlight. “How does that work?”

She smiled. “How do you show Egypt to a blind person?”

“I wasn’t thinking that.”

“Then what? You’re wondering how you’d nursemaid a blind woman around Egypt? Don’t worry. As you know, I have an assistant, Saneya, to look after me when I really need help. She’s up there on the veranda trying to read a book, but watching me in case I get up and dive into the shallow end of the pool or something. Mostly I manage pretty well on my own with my cane, except when I’m walking in a crowded street in a city like Cairo and somebody bumps my shoulder and I’m spun around, then I don’t know which way I’m facing anymore and that can be interesting.”

“That’s not it, either,” I said, glancing at the long white cane lying on the grass beside her lounger. “At the risk of stating the obvious, you’re a trained Egyptologist as well as being the world’s leading space archaeologist.”

“And that’s your concern?”

“Yes. What could I possibly show you?”

“You’re different. You don’t see my condition, all you see are my qualifications.”

Well, that wasn’t exactly true, I thought. I saw other things about her.

I’ve been spending a lonely time at sites lately, poking around Aswan on the trail of one of the sons of Rameses, so I couldn’t help but notice the litheness of her figure revealed by the stretchy scraps of black spandex and imagine secret areas of humidity beneath. The tremor of tightness I felt in my stomach gave way to a twinge of guilt and I felt bad for looking.

This was like stealing from an unattended store.

There’s a voyeuristic aspect to staring at someone who doesn’t know it and the experience is further tainted by a sense of guilt when you’re looking at a person with a disability, albeit one as attractive as all hell.

“Granted, I know Egypt,” she said. “Or at least one dimension of it. But I want you to show me something different, the unknown, unseen Egypt. Isn’t that what you specialise in as an alternative Egyptologist, a phenomenologist who experiences the sacred of ancient Egypt?”

I’ve taken unusual people on tours of Egypt before, New Agers, neo-pagans, fundamentalists, even Intelligence community people, but the cool, slender-faced blonde, Doctor Constance Somers, is in a class of her own. Yet here she is, a celebrated Egyptologist, saying that she wants to find exactly the same thing that I do, the hidden Egypt.

But something else got in the way of her proposal besides her medical condition or her skills set. She was asking me to drop my personal research and investigations in order to accompany her.

“I’ll pay you well for your time,” she said. “I am not entirely a sad case. Unlike most members of my profession, I do have a dollar to scratch myself with. I inherited, you see. It took away the desire to find treasures in Egypt and I could concentrate on finding more important things.”

This well-heeled Egyptologist certainly has concentrated on finding much more important things, like her discovery of a celebrated stela of the Prince Khaemwaset at Saqqara.

I have been on the trail of the very same elusive magician prince for most of my career. Khaemwaset, son of Rameses The Great, and the world’s first Egyptologist, loved to investigate and restore the monuments of the ancients, admiring the perfection of everything they made. Or so he claimed in the carved stone tablets he left behind on their monuments, ‘the world’s biggest museum labels’. But the princely tomb raider had other motives.

Legend told that Khaemwaset went secretly in search of forbidden knowledge and power and he developed a reputation as Egypt’s greatest magician.

Maybe this invitation from Constance Somers is a stroke of good fortune for me.

It’s an opportunity to work covertly from inside the tent of the profession instead of outside in the wilderness.

My other project will have to wait. There is a secret lying buried beneath the surface of this attractive and ill-fated young academic and I am growing more and more intrigued with her.

“What do you have in mind?” I said.

“I heard you’re flexible. We’re going on a cruise to Luxor, to kill a little time before our new archaeological season’s opening and the team’s arrival. Then after that, we fly to Saqqara. We spend a week or so on site there. I’m being replaced as head of the team and this is my sort of unofficial handover. They can’t have a blind academic…”

“Leading the blind academics?”

“You don’t have a high opinion of us, I’ve heard.”

“And vice versa. That’s why I’m surprised you’d take the risk of associating with me. I could tarnish your reputation.”

“I’ll take that risk. Maybe I want you because you’re a renegade.”

“Intriguing.”

“It may surprise you,” she said, “but while I could still read, I read your blogs and your books and theories and this will be a more intimate sharing than with any other reader and no reader could feed on your words more hungrily than I will. Like The Bard’s Dark Lady of the Sonnets, I’ll be your lady in darkness that you can dedicate your musings to... even though I happen to be a blonde and I can still see some light and blurry shapes! Allow me to see your Egypt through your words and inspire me with the Egypt of your imagination.”

“I admit it would be a career first to have a mainstream Egyptologist hanging on my words. But I must warn you I’m no poet.”

“I’m no lady. I don’t want censorship, be warned. I want your sensual reactions, too. I know you feel a powerful attraction to the feminine allure of ancient Egypt, so if something turns you on, turn me on!”

“Wow. And I felt guilty for looking at you lying there on that lounger!”

“The way you’re looking at me now?”

“It does seem a bit like stealing.”

“You think I can’t feel it?”

I was going to have to work at this I was beginning to learn.             

“I can see this may be a bit unnerving and I could be the one walking on uncertain ground.”

“Good! That’s the kind of frankness I want from you.”

Might she be hiding more than fading eyesight behind those silvery dark lenses? Maybe things were not as they seemed and this woman’s request for a guided tour had a secret motive. Was a blind woman planning to lead me along some unknown path? Towards what?

“What do you look like these day, Anson?” she said. “I saw a picture of you once years ago. Describe yourself.”

“Okay, I have sapphire blue eyes the colour of Brad Pitt’s, or, as my ex-wife described it, I have eyes with the burning light of a fanatic. I’m about as tall as Hugh Laurie’s Dr House and about as lanky as him, or in other words, a beanpole. Oh, and my hair is about the colour of George Clooney’s, or going a little wintry prematurely. Does that give you a clear picture?”

“I’ll judge for myself. Sit here.”

I sank beside her on the edge of the lounger.

“I may have been exaggerating a bit about Brad Pitt, Hugh Laurie and George Clooney.”

“Just keep your eyes closed,” she said.

I obeyed. Having your face explored by a blind person is an uncanny feeling.

You can feel your own topography emerging under those spidery fingertips, and you are conscious of your flaws.

“Try to stay on my good side.”

Her fingertip examination felt like an archaeological exploration, measuring out the length of my face, surveying the mounds of my eyes and the bridge of my nose, probing the width of my mouth and the corners and the length of my chin. Perfumed, sensitive fingers. I caught the scent of an expensive sunscreen lotion, which put me in mind of ancient Egyptian unguents and priestesses in gossamer sheath dresses.

“A clever face. Amiable, flexible, yet with great constancy of purpose. Thank you, Anson.”

“Will I be a great success in life?”

“I’m not telling you your fortune.”

“You can go on looking.”

“I’ve seen enough.”

“There’s more.”

“Some people find it a little odd. But it helps if I can picture your face then I can picture your expressions.”

“Okay, then now it’s my turn. I’ll start with a wide-ranging field survey, beginning with the toes and then working my way up to the top. Would you like me to add some sunscreen on you as I go along?”

“You’re going to be fun, but no thanks. And I am not an archaeological dig site.”

That was her opinion...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A suppressed ancient secret that threatens the world’s stability and belief systems. THE GOD DIG


You can take it with you. Amazon Kindle

Anson Hunter, independent archaeologist, faces a convergence of hostile elements - emissaries of the three book-based religions, antiquity thieves, radical Islamists and former government officials as well as New World Order conspirators.
A secret archaeology investigation in Egypt. A suppressed ancient secret that threatens the world’s stability and belief systems.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Child's Ancient Egypt - sandpit fun

More on my theory that "kids totally get ancient Egypt"


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

THE HATHOR HOLOCAUST - could Hathor-Sekhmet return to finish off what she started? (Goodreads 5-star)

AMAZON KINDLE - adventure conspiracy thriller




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 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.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Love this ancient Egypt cover art for an old Agatha Christie murder classic


If you enjoy murder with an Egypt theme, try a modern day mystery "The Egyptian Mythology Murders" Amazon Kindle



This is one of the most emotive covers in ancient Egypt fiction, 'Death comes as the end'.


That's the lesser-known Egyptian goddess Amenta in the background. She was the goddess of the sunset and the west. A wall scene from Queen Nefertari's tomb. Creepy mummy wrappings and faience statuette of what looks like the ferocious lioness goddess Sekhmet.


Friday, June 19, 2015

A lethal librarian "THE FORBIDDEN GLYPHS" ancient Egypt conspiracy thriller

Amazon KINDLE
Egypt’s Lost Library of secrets and technology. Trigger for a dangerous new age.
Imagine a cache of writings of unthinkable power.

Renegade Egyptologist Anson Hunter does. In fact he has a controversial theory that somewhere in Egypt lies the lost library of Thoth, guarded by his consort the goddess Seshat.

In legend, this library contained all the forbidden knowledge of ancient Egypt, both human and divine, including secrets of lost technology that built the pyramids.

Anson’s theory throws him into conflict with international seekers who have dangerous agendas for the world.

To save a loved one, Anson Hunter must seek the forbidden glyphs in an ingenious lost sanctuary guarded by traps set by the calculating goddess Seshat.


What happened in the Temple of Philae today? "EGYPT EYES" Fiction.

Excerpt from archaeologist Anson Hunter's blog in "Egypt Eyes"(Amazon Kindle)

(An adventure thriller that uses an Egyptologist's blog and photos)

I stepped straight out of the dimly lit sanctuary and into a meaty hand that clamped around my mouth. The hand muffled my gasp as I was yanked aside.

I am rangy, yet I was dragged along like a piece of furniture, the hot salty palm preventing me from making a sound. My surprise removal ended in a darker side chamber.

As a controversial alternative Egyptologist, who also occasionally takes small tour groups around Egypt, I am always walking into trouble, but this was physical.

I had been the last out of the sanctuary, the footsteps of my small group fading in the distance, when I walked into my abduction.

“You’re okay,” the human gag said, taking his hand away. “Don’t make a noise. We need to talk, privately.”

It was a swarthy, good-looking young man I had seen walking around outside the temple. He’d got here pretty fast, then I saw another arrive and now there were two of them blocking my way out of the chamber. In fact two of him. Twins.

“That’s a good trick being in two places at once,” I said.

“We find it useful,” the new arrival said.

Identical twins? No, not quite. The second one was a faintly milder version. It’s a curious thing about twins, even so-called identical ones. One of them always looks more defined than the other, as if the printer cartridge is running low on ink for the second iteration.

“What, collectively, do you want from me?”

“Your help,” they said together.

“I’m afraid you’re going to have to hijack another guide. I’ve already been hired to show someone else around.”

A flicker of a smile touched the face of the milder-looking of the two.

“Yes, we know you’re an alternative Egyptologist who has been hired by Dr Constance Somers, a satellite archaeologist who is now blind. But what do you know…”

“…about her? Tell us why she would hire you,” the dark-print twin said, not so much ending his brother’s sentence as shutting it down....

"CURSES!" Threat formula from Egyptian thriller "The Smiting Texts" - and some other doozies!

Inscriptional violence - smashing pots, striking spells


Here are some of the most unsettling ancient Egyptian smiting texts I’ve come across while researching my series of ancient Egyptian investigative thrillers.

By 'smiting texts' I’ll here include execrations by the state as well as curses of the private kind, such as those threatening rather unpleasant repercussions for tomb intruders:

 ‘No sons shall succeed you and a donkey shall violate your wife.’

‘He shall die from hunger and thirst’

'As for anybody who shall enter this tomb in his impurity: I shall wring his neck as a bird'

‘Then the crocodile, hippopotamus, and lion will eat him’

‘He shall be cooked together with the condemned’

Some texts are frighteningly vague:

‘Then the god will be against you.”

In the first novel in my series or adventure thrillers, I give the reader the flavour of threat formulae – this example is typical of inscriptional violence used by the state as an instrument of esoteric warfare:
'I overthrow all enemies from all their seats in every place where they are… every land, every ruler, every servant, every woman, every man, every child, every animal… all will be destroyed forever. They will not exist, nor will their bodies. They will not exist, nor will their souls. They will not exist, nor will their flesh. They will not exist, nor will their bones… they will not exist and the place where they are will not exist.'
(The ultimate, catch-all curse and pretty chilling - see Berlin and Brussels Texts)
Come to think of it, 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.'
As my renegade hero Anson remarks during an address to a US Homeland think tank:
“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?”

A monk, Abuna Daniel tells in The Smiting Texts:

“Regrettably, yes, there exist Coptic magical texts inspired by the Old Religion, written on papyrus, parchment and pottery. What do you seek? An Isis love spell? Or do you seek a spell to make a woman pregnant? Or perhaps you hope to lift the curse of a mother against her son’s female companion... and at the same time give the old woman an ulcerous tumour? How about a spell written on a blade-shaped parchment that can separate a man and a woman?”

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"Where do you get your ideas for (so many) novels?" a reader asked.

I suppose I come by my ideas for novels through an excessive tendency to dream. My very first school report said: "Roy dreams". 

I have not improved. 

Having a love of such a rich subject as ancient Egypt helps feed this active interior life. 

I also enjoy problems solving and like to give characters challenges to solve where they have to call on all of their resources and beliefs. Hope this helps.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Did the ancient Egyptians 'hear' their gods?*


Osiris

The rogue Egyptologist in my adventure thriller series seems to talk about the gods of Egypt as if they really once existed at a remote time in Egypt’s past. 

"They certainly existed for the ancients, whatever we think," as Anson Hunter reflects in The Smiting Texts.



'Some might find them distasteful as Goethe did when he wrote:



‘Now I must take my pleasure by the Nile/ in extolling dog-headed gods; Oh, if my halls were only rid/ of Isis and Osiris!’ We can praise them as the poet Mann did when he felt : ‘The might of these lands that were/ Once permeated by gods’



But we can’t ignore them. And the Egyptians clearly believed in them and even listened to their voices. There is a theory called the ‘bicameral mind’, formulated by Julian Jaynes, a Princeton psychologist, and explained in his book ‘The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind’. He postulated that in the earliest times, before the dawn of consciousness, the ancients were driven by the voices of their gods, a phenomenon caused, he asserted, by whisperings from the right side of the brain, an area little used by modern man. But after various cataclysms and with the advent of writing, we lost that connection with our auditory promptings from the gods, thought to have been an amalgam of remembered authority voices. In the past, we were powerless to do anything but obey these ubiquitous voices, but with the development of writing we could suddenly choose what thoughts to follow. We stopped taking orders from the gods.'

*INTERESTING UPDATE IN THIS ARTICLE BELOW:  See link
  


Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking

How Julian Jaynes’ famous 1970s theory is faring in the neuroscience age.

3 Hieroglyphs on an Australian beach.


The sight of ubiquitous 'Egyptian' ibis keeps ancient Egypt close for me

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Writing heresy? The occasional power of the adverb and the passive voice


‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’
 

Imagine Jane Austen’s opening sentence from Pride and Prejudice with the 'rules' applied. 

This famous line breaks at least three hobgoblin 'rules':
'It is' makes a weak opening for a sentence.
Avoid adverbs
Avoid passive voice



‘All things were created through Him…’ 


Imagine John without the mysterious agency of the ‘passive’ voice.


Using adverbs and the passive voice should not be universally banned from your writing armoury.  It depends entirely on the effect you're trying to create.

Just saying. 

(Sorry I'm off topic, but I've got a bit of a thing about rules being applied today.)

Friday, June 5, 2015

WHERE IS THIS GODDESS in Egypt?


"The sun from the temple roof casts a line of shadow from the temple just beneath the feet of the goddess, creating a sacred, liminal moment as the goddess stands on a threshold between darkness and light, perhaps the darkness of death and the light of eternity…”


The goddess stands on a broken wall at the rear of the main Philae temple

The most atmospheric temple in Egypt


Do you enjoy Egypt adventure fiction with a powerful sense of place - and mystery?

Then discover the investigative series of novels featuring the alternative Egyptologist Anson Hunter:

The Smiting Texts
The Hathor Holocaust
The Ibis Apocalypse
The Anubis Intervention
Egypt Eyes
The Forbidden Glyphs
The God Dig

Thursday, June 4, 2015

THE MUMMY MONSTER GAME Kindle "Little Cousin Harry is really weird, but he is family..."



For young readers I write under the name Roy Pond (for adults, as Roy Lester Pond)


Little Cousin Harry is really weird, but he is family, so Josh and Amy decide to play along with him. They join Harry in playing a series of totally spooky ancient Egypt computer games.
Trouble is, Harry's games become more and more real and dangers start to leak out of the games into real life and into their lives.
The popular Egypt series - now available in one mega book of three adventures.


Ancient Egypt Kindle for kids

Open the door to ancient dangers and modern day adventure. THE DOOR OF THOTH

3 Egypt-based adventure thrillers that "hit the ground running."
Amazon Kindle


(The 3 titles are also available as separate editions on Amazon Kindle)

Monday, June 1, 2015

"The ghosts of Egypt's gods haunt these adventure thrillers"

Who were they?




Ancient menace and supernatural beings haunt this Egypt fiction

The ancient dead and the ghostly suggestion of Egypt’s supernatural beings are ever present, as well as the real-world dangers of tomb traps, forbidden secrets and modern conspiracies that take their impetus from ancient Egypt.

So, on the subject of supernatural beings, who were they?
Anson Hunter, hero of a 7-book series, mentions a text from the eighteenth Nome of Upper Egypt that describes a whole necropolis of buried gods.
'The gods lived and died, all except the High God, according to the Egyptians.
A copy of the Turin Papyrus documents the life spans of Egypt's gods in a detailed list. It records that these supreme beings enjoyed life spans of between 200 and 3,126 years. If you can conceive, even for a moment, that they existed, then who were they? These were the First Timers of the age of Zep Tepi. This was a time when Egypt was ruled by a race of so-called gods known as the Neteru, some humanoid, some hybrids.'