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Renegade Egyptologist and theorist Anson Hunter is dealing with two black dogs in his life.
The first black dog keeps appearing on a riverside walk, straining on a lead behind a young woman... a girl he recognizes as a famous Oxford Egyptologist and documentary television presenter.
Is she trying to attract his attention?
The other dog is a bad bout of the ‘black dog of depression’, something that has plagued him for most of his life, not helped by his rejection by mainstream Egyptology.
Which dog will lead Anson into greater peril in this mystery that reaches its climax in a forbidden sanctuary in Egypt?
(Excerpt from THE GIRL and the GOD DOG)
The black dog came along the Thames riverside walk, tugging the girl.
Neck arching, the sharp snout and ears gave the straining animal the look of a spiky cog winching a chain.
Anson had seen the pair for several mornings in a row as he sat on a bench beside the quiet tributary in Oxford, hoping the sunlight on the water would burn off the darkness of depression of the night before. Yet reeds at the water’s edge always looked twisted and choking and ducks paddling by, serene on the surface, worked grimly underneath, spreading frowns across the water.
He recalled the ancient Egyptian tale of The Doomed Prince. At the birth of the prince, oracular goddesses known as the Seven Hathors pronounced three alternative fates for the child.
‘He will die as a result of a dog, a crocodile or a snake.’
To protect him from his fate, his father built him a fortress. One day while on the rooftop, the prince spied a man and his dog below. “What creature is that?” he asked a servant.
“A dog, Your Highness.”
With the fateful turn of folktales, the prince became obsessed with the idea of owning his own dog. The king eventually succumbed to the youth’s pleading. “Let the boy have a coursing hound.”
“I cannot avoid my fate forever,” he told the king when he came of age.
He set off into the world to face his future, the dog at his heels. After various adventures he duly came up against a snake and a crocodile - yet survived the encounters. What happened next? Maddeningly, the only surviving record of the prince’s story suffered damage in an accident after discovery, leaving the prince’s fate and the reader of the story hanging by a papyrus thread.
Did the snake or the crocodile come back into the story to kill the prince? Or did the pet dog finally kill his master?
Anson guessed which creature had brought doom upon the prince.
‘And it might be the same with me in the end,’ he thought.
The black dog.
Not the one in the story, or a real dog like the one approaching on the path. Instead, he was thinking of the so-called ‘black dog of depression’. He’d had a bad case of it since returning from Egypt and the black shadow was dogging his footsteps more closely than ever before in his life.
The real dog and the girl were almost level now.
‘Get thee onwards, Anubis, into the underworld of Amenti, onwards, onwards,’ words from the Pyramid Texts sprang into his mind.
“Slow down a bit, Anubis,” the girl said to the dog as it came up ahead of her.
Anson couldn’t help giving a grim chuckle.“Something amusing?” the girl said, stopping...