In a parallel universe – one in which the coronavirus COVID-19 is not rampaging around the world – I would be spending this Easter weekend in Cairo, Egypt.
As it happens, the bank holiday weekend weather here in the UK is glorious: warm and sunny. So, with Britain (alongside much of the world) in lockdown, and with the sun shining, I am using my time productively. This entails sitting in my back garden and reading everything I can lay my hands on about Ramses III. For he shall be the historical subject of my next novel. A man murdered by a conspiracy from within his own household, led by one of his queens. Known as the Harem Conspiracy, his death marked the beginning of the end for the once mighty New Kingdom of Egypt – the so-called Empire period.
So, I am a millennia forward on the ancient Egyptian timeline this weekend than where I had anticipated being. The New Kingdom of ancient Egypt is the period in which all my books so far have been set. It’s the time of almost all of the A’List Pharaohs: names such as Tutankhamun, Hatshepsut, Thutmosis (pick a number I – IV), Amenhotep (again, pick a number I – IV), Seti and Ramses.
Of those named Ramses, there numbered eleven in total. Many sought to emulate, but none was able to recapture the might and majesty of Egypt under Ramses II – the Great. After Ramses III (known as the last of the warrior pharaohs, and subject of Merry’s next adventure) who ruled approximately 50 years after his more famous forebear, came the long dying. Egypt would never regain its earlier New Kingdom glory.
But there had been an older glory. The Old Kingdom. The Pyramid Age. This was already a thousand years in the past when the Ramses ruled, its pyramids already considered tourist attractions.
I have not yet set one of Merry’s Egyptian adventures in the Old Kingdom – so maybe that will have to come. So, to remind me of what I am missing out on this Easter weekend and to perhaps provide some future inspiration, here are some pictures of what I would have been doing in my parallel universe before COVID- 19 took hold:
Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, all available on Amazon.
If you feel like travelling to Egypt this weekend, even if only from your back garden on armchair, you might want to join Merry on her adventures. Please click on each picture for the link. Happy Easter, and happy travels.