Tuesday, June 22, 2021

“After writing 13 children’s books, I have decided to write adult books,” I told my friends. “No,” I said, “not that kind of adult.”

You may have heard the book critic’s famous put-down of an author: ‘This author has penned 6 children’s novels. Unintentionally.’ Well I wrote over a dozen children’s novels - intentionally. Then I decided to raise my sights. “From now on I’m going to write adults books,” I said to my friends, after penning multiple series of novels for young readers. “Ooh,” they said, their interest sharpening. “No, not that kind of ‘adult’," I said. "Egypt-based adult thrillers and archaeological adventures.” “Oh,” they said. They were thinking ‘50 Shades of Egypt'. I suppose many adult writers are born as children’s writers. I remember reading Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ novels – fascinated by the group of jolly-holiday children adventuring on England’s mystery moors as I sweated in a bush town in the heart of Central Africa. To create a suitable atmosphere for reading, I used to draw the curtains and darken my bedroom to make it feel more like misty England “I can do better than this,” I told Enid Blyton. I sat down and wrote my first novel in a school exercise book and after a page and half of scribbling, I decided I’d given Ms Blyton quite enough of a scare. Then I proceeded to throw successive frights into Rider Haggard (She, King Soloman's Mines) and much later Mika Waltari (The Egyptian), Ernest Hemingway (The Snows of Kilimanjaro, A Farewell to Arms), CS Forester (Hornblower), Ian Fleming (Dr No) and legions of others. Then, as an adult, I wrote over my slew of children's novels. (One even won a Children's Book of the Year Award and amazingly some adults who read the books as children, still own the books and re-read them, according to Goodreads.) However there were hints that I should move on one day. My very first published short-story was an adult spy mystery in The Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, New York - 'Give a Man Rope'. "We have a hunch that nothing will stop this young man from achieving his ambitions," the publisher kindly said in the introduction to my story, yet I was simply content to be published in the same issue alongside Ian Fleming and his short story 'The Property of a Lady...' And my adult novels today? I hope they’re not 'adult novels' in the sense my friends hoped. They are mostly archaeological mystery thrillers (Egyptology has always been my passion) but there are a few racy elements – in 'The Smiting Texts' and 'The Egyptian Mythology Murders' to name a few. I write my adult fiction under my full name of Roy Lester Pond I use “Roy Pond” to differentiate the children’s books. At least I hope it differentiates them. (Roy Lester Pond fiction is available on Amazon Kindle and Paperback, as well as children’s titles by ‘Roy Pond’)

Sunday, June 20, 2021

What would Boy King Tutankhamun's golden treasures be worth today?

“What are King Tut’s golden treasures worth today?” a Today Show reporter asked. “Back in 2004, the conservative Swiss at their Museum of Ancient Art gave King Tut’s treasure a replacement value of three-quarters of a billion dollars. Yet the solid gold inner coffin alone weighed almost two hundred and fifty pounds. The golden death mask, in twenty-two carat gold, weighs over twenty-two pounds. The US has indemnified the exhibition contents for six hundred and fifty million dollars, the upper limit. But that’s laughably small when a single Da Vinci painting fetched four hundred and fifty million at a recent auction in New York, purchased by a Middle Eastern buyer. And then there’s the sublime artistry of the works. Back in 1923 they put a combined value of fifteen million on the contents of the tomb, a massive amount at the time. A mathematician at Johns Hopkins University recently calculated that if this amount had been invested at a secure six percent rate of return when the king died three thousand, four hundred years ago it would amount to a number we can’t actually express today and would look like this...” They flashed up a graphic. Value today: $14,288, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000. "In other words, all the wealth in the world. And that about sums it up. King Tut’s golden treasures are worth the world. Irreplaceable. Yet now, sensationally, they’re misplaced... so where are they right now?” (Excerpt) Amazon title

Saturday, June 19, 2021

"Why were there seven scorpions in the murdered archaeologists's cabin bed?" the Egyptologist Detective asked. (Kindle)

Nobody had missed the archaeologist until later. He had been stung to death by scorpions in his bed. Victim to the strikes of lashing tails. Daniel felt imaginary scorpions tickling up his spine and gave a shiver. “Multiple envenomations,” the cruise doctor said. “It induced coronary arrest. He died last night.” “Clearly introduced,” Daniel said. “Where are they now?” “They?” “The arachnids.” “Safely gathered up in a jar,” the Boat Manager said. “How many?” “Does it matter?” Ahmed Khadir, the SCA official, said. “It might.” “They found seven scorpions.” “Are you sure?” Daniel said. “Housekeeping scoured the cabin. Two of the scorpions had been crushed in the bed. Perhaps the victim’s beating and thrashing around might have made matters worse, attracting more attacks.” “Intriguing.” “Horrifying is a more fitting description,” Khadir said. “No, I mean the significance of the number. Seven. You see, Isis had a train of seven scorpions. They followed her in her wanderings, according to mythology. And our cruise is heading, where? Philae, the temple of Isis.” “As an official in antiquities, I regard Egyptian mythology as respectfully as any, Daniel, but you’re not suggesting –” “– I’m suggesting it’s no accident. But I suppose murder never is.” Khadir frowned. “Somebody wanted to reference the gods of Egypt?” “The printed note would confirm it.” Daniel read it out: Tomb Robber, may the scorpion’s stings be against you and your greed, and strike with the fire of the god’s anger

Friday, June 4, 2021

What would a Blockbuster Exhibition of Tutankhamun's gold be worth today?

“What are King Tut’s golden treasures worth today?” a Today Show reporter asked. “Back in 2004, the conservative Swiss at their Museum of Ancient Art gave King Tut’s treasure a replacement value of three-quarters of a billion dollars. Yet the solid gold inner coffin alone weighed almost two hundred and fifty pounds. The golden death mask, in twenty-two carat gold, weighs over twenty-two pounds. The US has indemnified the exhibition contents for six hundred and fifty million dollars, the upper limit. But that’s laughably small when a single Da Vinci painting fetched four hundred and fifty million at a recent auction in New York, purchased by a Middle Eastern buyer. And then there’s the sublime artistry of the works. Back in 1923 they put a combined value of fifteen million on the contents of the tomb, a massive amount at the time. A mathematician at Johns Hopkins University recently calculated that if this amount had been invested at a secure six percent rate of return when the king died three thousand, four hundred years ago it would amount to a number we can’t actually express today and would look like this...” They flashed up a graphic. Value today: $14,288, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000. "In other words, all the wealth in the world. And that about sums it up. King Tut’s golden treasures are worth the world. Irreplaceable. Yet now, sensationally, they’re misplaced... so where are they right now?” (Excerpt) NEW Egypt adventure, crime, mystery fiction by Roy Lester Pond 'THE BLOCKBUSTER PLOT' appears in my Egypt crime collection of fiction http://amzn.to/oWVTPV

The dangerous 'Stone Book of Thoth' falls into Hitler's hands... scene from The Ibis Apocalypse (Anson Hunter Egyptology adventure series)

Berchtesgaden, Austrian Alps, 1939 THE REICHSFUEHRER of the SS, Himmler, made the introductions. The newly arrived German Egyptologist, ushered into Hitler’s presence, felt terror grip his heart. Suddenly he understood how the ancients felt when they found themselves in the presence of pharaoh and ‘no longer knew whether they were alive or dead’. The Fuehrer might have been dressed for a hunt or a climb in the mountains, but for the fact that he suffered from vertigo and could barely bring himself to look down at the heart-stopping views beyond the windows of his chalet. Hitler regarded the archaeologist as if fitting him to a template in his mind. Freshly returned from fieldwork in Egypt, Manfried Faltinger had come here by urgent request to see the Chancellor at his ‘Eagle's Nest’ mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden, high up in the Alps of the Austrian border. The room filled with silence like air pressure, relieved only by the ticking of a Bavarian clock that split tiny cracks in the silence. It was a surprisingly optimistic and airy room decorated by the Fuehrer himself. Arrangements of cut flowers with starbursts of edelweiss, his favourite flower, freshened the chalet and eighteenth century German furniture, his passion, glowed in the room, which included a long table cleared for the occasion. “You have brought the power of the ages with you, Herr Faltinger?” Faltinger swallowed and heard his own voice reply. “Ja, Mein Fuehrer. Paper rubbings taken by my own hand from the original Stela of Destiny.” “Reveal it.” The weasel-faced Heinrich Himmler, a devotee of the mystical and the esoteric, now gestured to the long table. Faltinger brought the clear perspex tube out from under his arm. He unscrewed the end and gently began to tip the roll of paper forward before moving towards the table. “Wait!” The Chancellor held out his hands. He wanted to receive and hold the texts himself. Hitler knew better than most men the power of a book to change the world. It was a point of pride that he had built his Berghof mountain retreat solely with money from the royalties of Mein Kampf, which at that point had already sold over four and a half million copies, but this was an imprint of the Book of Books, the stone book of Thoth. Faltinger removed the length of paper rubbings from its tube and placed it gently in the cradle of the Fuehrer’s hands. Did the paper, fine grained and smooth, give a rustling sigh? Adolf Hitler rocked the Texts of Thoth like a baby and, for a moment, his sharpened, bristled features softened into a fatherly mould. His eyes were moist when he looked up. “Who else has possessed these words?” he said hoarsely. Faltinger sensed it was no time for small gestures and associations. This was a moment of history. “The author of legend, Thoth, also Prince Khaemwaset, Rameses the Great, and possibly even Alexander the Great.” The militant prodigals of history were all men of superstition, the Egyptologist had noted. They held a profound belief in the power of fate and of mysterious forces. Men like Alexander, Napoleon and now Hitler. “You have translated it?” There was a challenge in the Chancellor’s voice, as well as eagerness. Faltinger thought he detected a note of anxiety there too. What did the leader want to hear? “I have made but a small beginning.” Hitler nodded, apparently satisfied. “You will complete the work here. As for any reference volumes you require, my pilot Hansel flies in each day and will bring them to you. The contents of the scroll must never leave Berghof.” A private aerodrome lay below the greenery of Berghof’s lawns, Faltinger had learnt. “I understand, Mein Fuerhrer.” “Thank you, Herr Faltinger. You have honoured me and glorified the Reich - and you may be certain that in return we shall both honour you greatly. For this work your destiny shall soar like the Alps.” Excerpt The Ibis Apocalypse Amazon paperback and Kindle