Monday, November 30, 2015

Kindle Egypt Offerings - Mystery & Thriller Fiction Series



Use your e-reader screen to tap into Egyptian adventure, danger and hidden secrets.


Enjoy Egypt at its most enthralling and mysterious in a series about a renegade, alternative Egyptologist - 'The Smiting Texts', 'The Hathor Holocaust', 'The Ibis Apocalypse', 'The Anubis Intervention', 'Egypt Eyes'. 'The Forbidden Glyphs' and 'The God Dig'.

Kindle and Paperback. 



See the range of Egypt-based adventure thrillers on offer at Amazon Kindle

Friday, November 27, 2015

Have you ever queued up for a Tutankhamun exhibition?

"Ancient Egypt? Isn't that subject a bit narrow?" a fellow professional said to me on hearing that I write adventure thriller fiction about ancient Egypt. "Who would be interested in it?"

Who indeed.



 
Anyone who loves ancient Egypt documentaries and admires those who popularize it





Anyone who has ever queued up for hours and stood spellbound at an exhibition of Egypt's ancient Treasures...

Anyone who has ever wandered around temples, tombs, pyramids and the Sphinx, dazzled by their power as much as by the Egyptian sun…

Anyone who has ever dreamed of being an archaeologist… or has actually become one...

Anyone who has ever felt the tingle of standing in front of ancient mummies wrapped in magical spells, mystery and myths…
Anyone who has ever wondered, even for a moment, about unseen dangers from the ancient past…
Anyone who has ever been fascinated by ancient Egypt as a child…

Anyone who has ever longed to experience Egypt’s archaeological sites today…


If you’ve ever wanted to escape into an enthralling world of adventure, mystery, dangers, conspiracy and startling discovery…

The female mummy - deadlier of the species to the ancient Egyptians

Discover why in THE EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY MURDERS
The Egyptians were nervous about the anger of the female dead. They could be particularly spiteful to the living if offended.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"I hope Pond's books aren't prophecies!" An interesting fiction reader's comment, Amazon UK


An age of men,gods and demigods
"I do enjoy these books... I actually learn something from each book. Stuff is still out there that we don't know about. I hope Pond's books aren't prophecies!"

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Jennefer liked to assemble clues and make a display of them. The museum curator impulse?


Now a fiction series with THE OBELISK CONSPIRACY


A mummy named Isis is taken to a hospital for a non-invasive imaging scan… so begins a mystery and a string of deaths.

An ancient cycle unfolds in modern day London - and a search for eternal love.

Can Jennefer, a young trainee museum curator and Jon, a police antiquities unit detective, stop the killings in time before a terrible culmination of events? 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

"DEATH ON THE NILE: A Post-Mortem On Ancient Beliefs" (Imaginary TED talk)


Maybe a time to ask: what do we believe about death today?
 

[Imagine a TED talk given by my fictional, renegade Egyptologist Anson Hunter on the subject of death and the afterlife.]

"Were the ancient Egyptians right, or wrong, in their beliefs about death and the afterlife? Do we survive?
Think of this presentation as an inquest into death and survival, where you in the audience are the coroner.



You’ll notice that a large black dog has followed me on stage and is sitting here watching. Two reasons. His name is Anubis and he represents the black jackal-dog of the dead in ancient Egypt. The black jackal-dog was said to guard the necropolis and early archaeologists used to follow their tracks to find tombs.



He also represents the black dog of depression. You see, I’ve been in some deep, dark places in my life that were not always tomb shafts, underground sanctuaries, or tomb pits like the ones in my photos.



They’re inside me. And I’ve never been alone in these places. The 'black dog' of depression lopes along behind me. So I’m peculiarly qualified to talk about this very dark subject. I’ve lived closer to death than most of you out there. I dwell on it. Hell, I’m probably half in love with it and the whole death taboo thing, although I must say I have a horror of modern day graveyards.



Death of the ancient variety has been my teacher as an Egyptologist. Ancient Egypt is the great university of death. Death and the funerary beliefs of ancient Egypt taught me everything I know. Without their funerary practice and belief in survival, I’d be pretty much in the dark about this mysterious ancient civilization. So would we all. No tombs. No Tutanhamun. No Nefertiti… well, that’s a work in progress.



So let’s start with a dissection. I’m not going to unravel and cut open a mummy in front of you today the way they did for Victorian audiences – here's one being performed by Margaret Murray in front of an audience of 500 at Manchester Museum.

A literal public dissection of death and the mummy

But I’d like to reveal just how seriously the Egyptians took it.



Ancient Egypt is the only civilization in history that directed government funded research into death and what comes next.



They threw everything at it, the state, religion, their entire culture. 
The Egyptians truly believed. People are 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 tombs. 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 denies god and laughs at the devil, people can’t see both sides. But they need to believe in the light and the shadow and to hold both in their minds, not least the shadow. The shadow gives things shape and form. Without it there’s just blinding, unrelieved glare, like the sunlit desert.

Was the Egyptians’ 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? 

Do I believe in survival after death? I’m unusual in that I grant value to the sacred of ancient Egypt. Also, I haven’t let go of Christianity. So you are not going to get the knee-jerk agnostic reflex about religion that mainstream academics feel obliged to display. Some days, when I think about it, I say no. But what about when I don’t think about it, but merely feel it, at a deeper level?’

Humans, they say, are the only creatures that must live life with the knowledge that one day they’re going to die and our culture is 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 from the pitiless cruelty of death. Instead their culture came to grips with death in an attempt to overcome its tyranny. The glowing painted underworlds of the tombs, the Books of Coming Forth By Day, or the Book of the Dead as they called these religious texts - were grappling with 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 and a collective salvation for all Egyptians. The Egyptians even had maps showing the routes to the underworld painted on the bases of coffins.

Carl Jung asserted that ‘The unconscious psyche believes in life after death. The founder of analytical psychology wrote of a near-death experience after a heart attack and reported a spiritual existence outside of his body.


The architecture of tombs may also reflect modern ideas about death. So-called Near Death Experiences. OR NDE’s.

There is a theory about Palaeolithic cave art, that it is the result of a cave in the mind, created there by the wiring of the human nervous system, and that deep caves inspired the idea of a subterranean spirit-world. In a cave, the mind is said to fill the space with spirit-animals and beings.

Are the tombs of Egypt also the result of our internal wiring? The tomb in the mind? Or is the Egyptian tomb the mirror of something else – death itself?

Like the modern NDE?
I am interested in the theory that the Egyptian tomb may have been inspired by the so-called Near Death Experience. Consider how closely an Egyptian tomb echoes the classic NDE. Both involve a journey along a tube-like passage, with surrounding ministering beings, and both come to a scene of judgement where the dead person reflects on his life and answers for his actions. Was it something experiential, and not just spiritual and intellectual, that inspired the Egyptian tomb and religion?


The record is filled with people, some scientists and doctors, who have experienced NDE’s where they entered a bright tunnel of light and found themselves in so-called heaven with their friends and families.
Cynics say they are experiencing graphic, neuro-chemical spasms of an oxygen-starved brain, or perhaps the tricks of demons. 

The Egyptians regarded tombs and sarcophagi as resurrection machines. That’s why they were quite happy to recycle the machinery of death and resurrection. We have plenty of evidence of reuse of coffins by the ancient Egyptians. And also of the re-use of tombs, secondary interment by later generations.

The Egyptians even wrote letters to their dead. They wrote pleading letters to the dead on the sides of offering bowls imploring the dead to come to their aid and provide guidance with the insoluble problems of living. “Why are you punishing me when I treated you so well in life?” an aggrieved husband writes to his wife.

Maybe we can all learn from the ancient Egyptians and should start writing our own letters to the dead. It could be extremely cathartic and save years of expensive analysis. (Mumble into microphone) Make note to write a tetchy letter to my dead Egyptologist father who abandoned me as a child.

Think how many millions lived and died over Egypt’s long history. While other empires lasted a century or so, Egypt’s lasted for thousands of years.
Consider some recent estimates. If you take the average population of ancient Egypt at around three million and you say the civilization spanned around three thousand five hundred years, then some five and a quarter billion people lived and died on the Nile. Who are we to say that the ancients were wrong? That they went to their graves resting on a broken reed, believing in a non-existent eternity?


Standing beside mummies, it’s easy to understand what attracts people to the ‘first mystery’, death, to the gods and the magical afterlife of Egypt. There are few subjects on earth, or beneath it, quite so compelling.
The ancient Egyptians gave birth to the idea of heaven, the first to set out their beliefs clearly in texts and illustrations, while others, such as the Israelites, still believed that at death a person entered a dark realm of nothingness called Sheol.

I sometimes wonder if they achieved some sort of ghostly existence within the withered husks of their remains, suspended, like their bodies, in stasis, where the relative motions of space and time no longer operate.



So what is your post-mortem verdict? Were the ancient Egyptians on to something? The conviction about the afterlife carved on the tomb walls and monuments of Egypt urges me to believe. But the veil of mystery remains. Perhaps we were not meant to have the truth exposed so that we can endure this life.
Thank you. And thank you to the black dog Anubis for sitting here as patient as death itself."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

AFTERLIFE - and THE EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY MURDERS


Mummies - a reader magnet. This series of blogs reminds me of several 'afterlife' novels in my collection
Afterlife: Gifts from Thebes
http://australianmuseum.net.au/blogpost/science/afterlife-gifts-from-thebes


There are several novels in my collection with a strong and mysterious afterlife theme, such as:-

THE EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY MURDERS


Amazon Kindle


 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Legend of the undiscovered Great Egyptian Labyrinth persists in the news


Enter ancient Egypt's Lost Labyrinth (The Smiting Texts)




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


The Great Labyrinth is in the news again:

Researchers confirm: Giant Ancient Egyptian underground Labyrinth exists and could rewrite history

This structure, in its time considered more impressive than the pyramids, is at the heart of my archaeological thriller "The Smiting Texts"



THEY MOVED carefully through the next section of the labyrinth.


The passage abruptly widened into a cavern filled with water. They saw two lakes, like large swimming pools, one shaped like a stomach, the other like the liver. The water, stale and brackish, looked as dark as oil slicks. They went around them.


Scatterings of yellowed bones encrusted the edges of the lakes.


“Crocodiles,” Anson said. “The reptiles lived down here once. Perhaps the priests fed them, drawing them here along a secret channel that once linked up with ancient Lake Moeris.”


They circled the lakes.


Did something still live there? What would it be? He pictured saurian eyes, slivered like moons, breaking the surface of the water to watch them, then a crocodile head emerging, and then a body, but not the body of a reptile, but a slab-chested man, streaming water. Half man, half crocodile. Sobek.


They reached another passage that opened up around them into a vestibule and then passed into a vast porticoed hall.


It was a hall that represented the chest cavity of the god. It was also a treasure chest of staggering proportions.


“Dear God of our Fathers!” the Coptic monk Daniel said in a gasp.


“Out of the magic of its gold, heaven was born,” Anson said.


They were looking at the amassed hoard of the Neteru.

first in the Anson Hunter fiction series.




Thursday, November 5, 2015

Love watching documentaries and reading about Egypt?

Also see Amazon Kindle

If you want facts in your fiction as well as mystery, discover the real ancient Egypt and the Egypt of hidden dangers from the ancient past.

A range of Egypt based thrillers that spans the sites of Egypt.

"Knowledge of Egypt is astounding." Amazon

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"The Obelisk Prophecy" - excerpt. Secret at the heart of a great world religion?


Egyptian obelisk, St Peter’s Square, The Vatican



(Excerpt from The Obelisk Prophecy - our investigators,  Egyptologist/Museum curator Jennefer and Antiquities policeman, Jon, visit the Vatican obelisk)


Flocks of believers, and the questioning, descended like pigeons on St Peter’s Square.

Many visitors were fearful, Jennefer noted, casting anxious eyes at the clouds of dust up above.

This was the Vatican, yet it put her in mind of Vesuvian Pompeii, the sky laden with disaster.

Jennefer caught up with her investigative partner who was busy circling the Vatican’s four thousand year old Egyptian obelisk that stood mounted on bronze lions and rose eighty-three feet into the dusty sky.

“What are you doing?” she said.

“I’m trying to tell the time.”

Jon followed a curve of pale travertine blocks set in the cobblestones like the hub of a wheel that fanned out in radiating lines.

“You have a watch, don’t you?” she said.

“We’re standing on one. This square is actually a vast sundial, the obelisk acting as the giant gnomon casting a shadow.” He stopped. “Even with this dust, I can tell it’s almost midday. Or perhaps midnight.”
“Midnight?”

“For the world, that is. Ironic that an ancient Egyptian obelisk is counting down the days to the end of civilization.”

She’d forgotten about the square’s role as a sundial, concentrating on the obelisk’s ancient past rather than on its present utility. It belonged to an unknown pharaoh from around the fifth dynasty, she recalled, and had travelled a great deal before its arrival here.

“I’ll tell you something else that’s ironic,” Jon said. “This circle around the shaft of the obelisk is a symbolic vagina. Those in the know are amused that there’s an act of copulation going on right in the heart of celibate city.” He pointed to the Pope’s balcony. “The Pope looks beatifically over it every time he addresses the throng from up there.”

She frowned.

They were trying to crack a code to stop a world calamity and he was cracking jokes.

But it was more than that. She felt uneasy to think that they were both standing on a marker of time inexorably measuring the hours, reminding her of the urgency of their investigation.

A count down to the end of civilization, he’d said.

The dust-laden sky made it look like the end.

The red dust haze turned St Peter’s Basilica, its cupola, and the embracing arms of Tuscan colonnades around the square into historical sepia that added to the place’s powerful sense of mystery.

“This obelisk is peculiar in being uninscribed,” she said, “which sadly doesn’t reveal many secrets to us.”

“Maybe we’re looking in the wrong place.”

“Meaning?”

He pointed up at a metal globe perched beneath a cross on top of the obelisk.

“What about the secret up there? That hollow globe. Great hiding spot. Legend tells that originally the globe held Julius Caesar’s ashes. But when they moved the obelisk here from an earlier site in Rome, they opened it and found the missing phallus of Osiris instead... no, just kidding. Only dust inside. And no mummy dust, either. Just plain old dust, like the stuff blowing in the sky.”

“Not very helpful, Jon. We’re looking for answers. What can we learn here?”

They learnt something sooner than expected - that their close inspection of the monument has been observed all the while by two burly shadows in black that now appeared unexpectedly at a few minutes past midday on the sundial.

“We wish to hear an answer too,” the one man spoke in an accent that sounded midway between Italian and… German? “You will come with us, please.”

Jennefer blinked in surprise at the two new arrivals. Fair men in black suits.

Swiss, maybe. Swiss guards in plain clothes?

Had their inspection of the obelisk brought them out of the shadowy heart of the Vatican palace?

“Have we broken some cardinal rule?” Jon said, pretending flippant unconcern at the intrusion.

“The Holy Father is hoping that you have learnt something from this monument that will help the world.”

That’s when it seemed to Jennefer that the sun stopped in the sky, just as the sun-god Ra’s boat sometimes paused in the heavens in Egyptian mythology.

Even the crowds of people in St Peter’s Square seemed to freeze, growing as still as the obelisk.

The Holy Father.

“His Holiness is waiting to see you.”

“Jesus,” Jon said.

“Not exactly. Merely Our Lord’s representative on earth,” one of the men said with a glimmer of a smile.

An audience with the Pope?

What next..?