Location Shoot Nefertari’s Narrative

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

Book 8. Nefertari’s Narrative.

I am over halfway through my trip down Memory Lane, re-visiting my photo albums and looking at the fabulous archaeological sites in Egypt that have provided settings for some of the key scenes in my travel-mystery series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.

In book 8, Nefertari’s Narrative, my central protagonist, Merry, is enticed to return to Egypt after a spell back at home in England.  She’s lured by the opportunity to search for some fabled stone tablets purported to tell the origins of the famous Queen Nefertari, Great Royal Wife of Ramses II (The Great).

Her latest adventure in Egypt begins in Cairo where she is granted the rare opportunity to climb (lawfully) to the top of the Great Pyramid.  Climbing the pyramids has been forbidden since the mid 1980s, although some still take the risk.  As you might expect, things don’t go entirely according to plan and Merry & Co’s time at the Giza Plateau is not without incident.  Here are a few pictures of the Pyramids.  The one taken from the top of the Great Pyramid is not mine, so appears courtesy of Wikipedia and Google images.

Having cruised up the Nile from Cairo to Luxor … (I feel I should clarify that you cruise UP the Nile as the water flows DOWN from its sources deep in Africa to spill into the Mediterranean) … Merry is caught up in a mishap while visiting the Ramesseum on the West Bank of the river.  This was the mortuary temple, or “Mansion of Millions of Years” of the Great Ramses II.  Today, it is a picturesque ruin, and one of the less-visited tourist sites on Luxor’s West Bank.  This is where the head-and-torso-bust of Ramses II, now on display in the British Museum, was discovered.  Giovanni Belzoni, Italian adventurer and explorer arranged for it to be dragged across the agricultural land to The Nile and onto a boat for transportation to Alexandria.

Of course, a novel about Queen Nefertari wouldn’t be complete without a visit to her stunning tomb in The Valley of the Queens.  This exquisite ancient Egyptian work of art was closed to the public for decades while The Getty Institute worked to conserve and restore its beautiful wall reliefs.  Only recently re-opened to the public (although numbers are limited) it is a highlight on any visit to Luxor, and rates one of the top experiences of my life.

Speaking of tombs, one of the key scenes in the book takes place inside the spectacular tomb of Seti I.  Even though I have already featured this, here are a few more pictures.  Another highlight of any trip to Egypt … although perhaps not for Merry, given what happens while she is here.

The dramatic action concludes in the Theban hills.  These are criss-crossed with ancient footpaths which wind their way across the barren landscape between The Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple and the ancient workmen’s village of Deer El Medina.  In this adventure, Merry is here at nightfall – a dangerous time to visit.  Here, you can see what it looks like during the day.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at this selection of photographs, which have provided the backdrop for one of my adventure stories.  If you are interested in finding out more, you might perhaps consider reading the series.  If so, I suggest you start with the first of Merry’s adventures from which all the others flow, Carter’s Conundrums.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Locations used in Seti’s Secret

As you may have seen if you’ve been following me over the last couple of weeks, I’m re-visiting the Egyptian locations that provide the backdrop for my mystery-adventure series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.

This is an excuse to dig out some of my favorite photographs and re-live treasured memories of past trips of my own (especially as it’s not possible to travel to Egypt right now).  I hope it will also bring to life many of the settings for key scenes in my books for any readers who may not have visited Egypt; or bring back memories for those that have.

In this post, I am now up to book 6 in the series, Seti’s Secret.  Books 4, 5 and 6 in the series all explore the possible links between Pharaonic history and the Old Testament of the Bible.  Of course, they are fiction.  But there are some intriguing hypotheses put forward by certain Egyptologists.  From these, I have woven my stories.  In Seti’s Secret, Merry & Co have stumbled across a set of clay tablets that seem to provide a link to the mysterious Copper Scroll found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves of Qumran.  The Copper Scroll exists and is on display in Jordan.  Merry is intrigued to know whether the Copper Scroll (which appears to modern scholars to be a list of buried treasure) might provide a link between the ‘heretic pharaoh Akhenaten and Moses of the Bible.

Some historians describe Pharaoh Akhenaten as ‘the first individual in history’.  He was the first pharaoh to worship one god – the sun disc – Aten – whom he rose above the ancient Egyptian pantheon of animal-headed gods and goddesses. Did this make him founder of the first monotheistic religion ?  He was unusual, for sure, and had himself depicted with elongated and exaggerated features.

As usual in a Meredith Pink story, there’s plenty of action along the way, with characters old and new joining Merry on her latest adventure along The Nile.

There have been reports of looting in the Valley of the Kings, so Merry joins a team to check this out.  She visits one of the most spectacular tombs in Egypt: that of Seti I, second pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty of The New Kingdom.  It is the largest in the Valley and has only recently been re-opened after decades closed to the public.

The action also takes Merry and friends to the Luxor Museum, where they hope to study an ancient papyrus scroll and learn its secrets.  This is a fascinating Museum set on The Corniche on the east bank in Luxor, and well worth a visit.

It would be impossible for Merry to explore the links between Akhenaten and the Bible without visiting the site of the ‘heretic’ pharaoh’s ancient city of Akhet-Aten, modern-day Amarna.  This location has recently been added to Nile cruise itineraries sailing between Cairo and Luxor.  Amarna lies on the east bank, approximately mid-way between the two.  It seems the many tombs of the Nobles constructed there were never occupied.  Merry is intrigued to know why not and what may have happened to them ?  Is it possible there’s a link with the Exodus story of the Bible ?

Returning to Luxor having made a thrilling discovery at Amarna, it seems many of the answers to her questions might be found on the walls of the mighty Karnak temple.

It wouldn’t be a Meredith Pink story without a visit to one of Egypt’s lovely hotels, this time dinner at The Nile Palace, known for its clover-shaped pool, and great view across The Nile to the West Bank.

And so my sixth book wraps up with new insights into ancient history and lots of fun and drama along the way.  The big question remains, as Egypt is so turbulent in its modern history, can Merry continue to pursue her dream of making a new life for herself in Egypt ?

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my pictures and learning a bit about Merry’s adventures in Egypt.  You might like to consider reading the series for a bit of escapist fiction that takes you to the heat and sunshine of Egypt – great travel stories and ancient mysteries wrapped up in modern adventure stories.  If so, I suggest you start with the first in the series, Carter’s Conundrums.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Scenes from Akhenaten’s Alibi

I am indulging in a pictorial journey through some of the key locations used in my travel adventure series Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  Set in modern times, my stories all have an ancient Egyptian historical theme or mystery at their heart.  They are a fun, escapist series of books, with a chunk of Egyptian history thrown in for good measure as this has always fascinated me.

In book 5, Akhenaten’s Alibi, Merry is caught up in an adventure that explores links between ancient Egypt and The Bible, in particular whether Biblical Moses and the ‘heretic’ pharaoh Akhenaten might have had anything in common.

Merry is now living on The Nile in Luxor aboard a converted Victorian dahabeeyah.  Her daily life is spent enjoying the beauty of the river.  Here are some shots to show you the typical riverbank scenes that Merry looks at every day.

My challenge with setting my books in modern times is the need to stick within the boundaries of current events as well as be historically accurate.  This book is set during the protests in Egypt that resulted in President Morsi being forcibly removed from office.  This was a turbulent and violent period in Egypt’s recent history and provides the backdrop against which my story unfolds.

Some of the key action takes Merry on her first visit to Amarna.  This is the site of the ancient city of Akhet-Aten, built by the ‘heretic’ pharaoh Akhenaten, when he moved the religious capital from Thebes (now Luxor).  The city was systematically demolished after Akhenaten’s death.  Today, very little remains.  But it is possible to get a sense of the basic layout in the dustbowl between The Nile and the cliffs.  Modern visitors are now able to visit The Royal Tomb, although it is unclear whether Akhenaten (and other members of his family) were interred there.

As always, Merry & co get into innumerable scrapes and make some remarkable discoveries along the way.  A blend of fact and fiction, ancient and modern, adventure, mystery, romance and history, I hope you will consider reading them.  If so, I suggest you start with the first book in the series, Carter’s Conundrums, in which Merry gets caught up in her first Egyptian adventure.

It is always a joy to me to look at my photographs of treasured times in Egypt.  I hope you have enjoyed looking at my pictures too.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Location pictures from Farouk’s Fancies

I am taking a trip down memory lane, looking at treasured photographs of my travels in Egypt, since it’s not currently possible to visit for real due to the global pandemic.  Many of the fabulous places to see in Egypt have formed the backdrop location for key scenes in my fiction series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  Merry is good at getting herself into scrapes.  She’s also good at unlocking secrets from ancient Egypt’s mysterious past.  Set in the present-day, I think of my books as ancient mysteries wrapped up in modern adventure stories.

Book 4 in the series, Farouk’s Fancies, moves the action on from where we left Merry at the end of Book 3.  She is now living onboard a dahabeeyah.  These are traditional Nile sailboats, pioneered by Thomas Cook when he first started taking paying tourists to see the splendors along the Nile.  He took the basic design from prototypes carved onto the tomb and temple walls in Egypt.  Smaller and more intimate than the modern cruise boats, they are able to visit more sites along both banks of The Nile, offering an alternative for discerning travellers.

Much of the action in Farouk’s Fancies taken place in the wonderful Winter Palace Hotel.  Dating from the 1880s, this is where the Earl of Carnarvon stayed while he and Howard Carter were searching the Valley of the Kings for Tutankhamun’s Tomb.  I don’t imagine much has changed in the public areas since their day.  I imagine they could walk into the Lobby through the big wooden revolving door and still recognize it and feel very much at home.

Merry attends a lecture held in the huge Victorian Lounge, given by an author who is setting out his theories about how Pharaonic Egypt links to the Old Testament of The Bible.

There is a mystery attached to an illusive old lady who lives in a suite of rooms at The Winter Palace, leading off one of the lofty corridors.

When a visitor to Luxor goes missing, Merry and her companions meet in the beautiful grounds of The Winter Palace hoping he might put in an appearance.

One of the key scenes in the book takes place in The Western Valley, a remote branch of the famous Valley of the Kings.  Merry is good at marching in where angels would fear to tread, and this is no exception! There are a few royal tombs in the Western Valley, including that of Pharaoh Ay, who came to the throne after the death of Tutankhamun.

The action shifts back to The Winter Palace hotel, where Merry inadvertently spends a rather uncomfortable afternoon outside on a window ledge, from where she has to be rescued.

Finally back on board the dahabeeyah, Merry realists she has all the pieces to wrap up this latest puzzle.  I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my Egyptian photo album, and that you might consider reading my books, all available on Amazon.  If so, I suggest you start with Book 1, Carter’s Conundrums.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Key scene locations Hatshepsut’s Hideaway

I am re-visiting my photograph collection to remind myself of great times in Egypt, as I am currently unable to visit due to the global pandemic.  Egypt is crammed full of marvelous sights and ancient ruins, as well as wonderful modern (and some historic) hotels.  Many of these have featured in my series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  These are action-adventure stories set in the present-day but with an ancient Egyptian mystery at their heart.

Today’s post looks back on some of my favourite places, where I set many of the key scenes in book 3, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The first three books in my series stand as a trilogy.  In each, the action picks up where it left off in the previous story.  When the book starts, Merry is still staying as a tourist at the Jolie Ville Hotel, on King’s Island, just outside Luxor.  But she soon embarks on a Nile cruise on the wonderful SS Misr.  This original Nile steamship was once owned by King Farouk.  It is a real taste of what luxury Nile travel must have been like in its heyday.  Once on board, Merry is surprised to be joined by a blast from new boyfriend Adam’s past, who appears to be the victim of a series of unfortunate mishaps, and sets Merry off on a whole new adventure.

The traditional Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan makes its first stop at the impressive Temple of Horus at Edfu.  This dates from Ptolemaic times and is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt.  Its massive entrance pylon in still intact and the hypostyle hall still has its roof, blackened by soot from cooking posts of the people who lived there when it was still choked with sand.  Needless to say, Merry’s visit is not without incident!

Next on the Nile cruise itinerary, is the twin temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated jointly to Sobek, the crocodile god, and also to Horus-the-elder.  Also Ptolemaic, the temple dates from some 300 years BC. Merry admires the wall carvings showing medical instruments used in ancient times, some still familiar-looking today.  There’s also a display of mummified crocodiles.  When Merry was there, they were on display in a small hut, but have recently been moved to a larger air-conditioned museum on site.

A trip to see the Unfinished Obelisk still lying attached to the bedrock in the ancient granite quarry in Aswan is also included in the Nile cruise itinerary.  This place is full of atmosphere.  It’s easy to imagine the workmen have simply slipped away for their lunch break, and will return any minute.

While moored in Aswan, Merry visits Elephantine Island set in the middle of the Nile opposite the world-famous Old Cataract Hotel.  Here, she gets caught up in a thrilling discovery by a team of archaeologists exploring the temple of Satet, dated from the 18th Dynasty reigns of Hatshepsut and her nephew/stepson Thutmosis III.  This is one of the key scenes in the book and helps Merry to unravel the latest mystery.

Elephantine Island was known as Abu (meaning elephant) by the ancient Egyptians.  It’s not clear whether it got its name from the boulders strewn in the Nile, which look like elephants bathing, or whether it was once a trading post for ivory.

Returning in a hurry to Luxor, Merry finds herself once more drawn to the Hathor Chapel on the lower terrace of the beautiful mortuary temple of Hatshepsut on the West Bank.  Here her latest adventure concludes, but not without some heart-stopping moments.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at my photographs as a way of visiting Egypt while it is advised against traveling there.  Maybe you’ll consider reading Merry’s adventures, all available on Amazon.  If so, I suggest you start with book 1 in the series, Carter’s Conundrums.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Location Shoot Tutankhamun’s Triumph

I’m re-visiting some of my photograph albums and the locations where I’ve set key scenes in my series of action-adventure-mystery novels following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt. I think of these as ancient Egyptian mysteries wrapped up in modern adventures.  The drama unfolds in and around some of the most iconic sites along the Nile.

So, I thought I’d combine a trip down memory lane with a few pictures of some of the key locations I used in the second book in my (now 10 book) series Tutankhamun’s Triumph.  A few days ago, I published the location photos from book 1 in the series, Carter’s Conundrums. The action in book 2 picks up literally where it left off in book 1.  Merry has solved set of hieroglyphic clues and made an intriguing discovery.  But this is only the start!  In book 2 her quest continues…

Merry is staying at the Jolie Ville hotel on a post-redundancy time-out holiday when she gets caught up in the adventure of a lifetime.  The hotel is a beautiful oasis, set on its own island (King’s Island) in The Nile, a little way outside Luxor on the east bank.  It has fabulous views of the Nile looking across to the Theban Hills.

Soon, Merry is on her way to Cairo, eager to rescue a damsel in distress from a gang of antiquities thieves.  In Cairo, the action takes in the Egyptian Museum, where Merry is lucky enough to see the behind-the-scenes parts of the museum.  This wonderful Victorian building is full of atmosphere but not big enough to display all its treasures.  Soon everything will be re-housed in the new Grand Egyptian Museum built near the Giza Plateau.

Once back in Luxor, a series of misadventures leads Merry to stake out The Luxor Temple.  This ancient structure dates from the “Empire” period and was extended in the New Kingdom by great pharaohs such as Amenhotep III, Tutankhamun and Ramses the Great.

One of the key scenes in the book takes place at the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut on the West Bank, and in the craggy hills above it.  This fabulous ancient temple is set against a curtain of cliffs that rise above it.  It is a wonderful example of a temple built in harmony with its natural environment.  Dating from the early part of the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom, it is some 3,400 years old.  It has been extensively restored over the last century from the rather more tumbledown structure that Howard Carter would have known.  The Hathor Shrine plays an important part in the story.

One of the most important ‘clues’ Merry has that will help her solve the mystery she has stumbled across relates to the Mehet-Weret Couch.  Howard Carter famously found this along with thousands of other fabulous funerary objects inside the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun.  Carter found the tomb in early November 1922.  The Mehet-Weret couch was on display in the Cairo Museum for many years.  It has been recently moved to the new Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza ready for the opening.

The Mehet-Weret couch will become the key to unlocking the ancient mystery that wraps up book 2.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing pictures from some of the key locations in Tutankhamun’s Triumph.  Maybe you’ll consider reading the books.  If so, I recommend you start with book 1, Carter’s Conundrums.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

The trouble with writing contemporary fiction

Hi, I’m Fiona Deal, author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, all available on Amazon.  My books follow the adventures of my thoroughly modern heroine Merry as she unlocks secrets from Egypt’s ancient past and unravels centuries’ old mysteries.

I started writing the books back in 2012 and decided to set them in the present day.  There are now nine books in the series, and I’m embarking on my tenth.

Deciding to make the books contemporary (rather than historical) fiction has been both a blessing and a curse.

I’ve been fascinated by ancient Egypt since I was a child, so researching its pharaonic history to provide the mysteries for my novels has always been a pleasure and never felt like hard work.  But to actually set my books in ancient Egypt ?  Well, that felt like a leap too far.  I wanted my characters to experience Egypt the way I do.  Part of the joy of writing them has been imagining myself into Merry’s shoes, and living her adventures along with her.  And hoping that my readers might do the same.

But it’s meant I’ve had to stay true to events in Egypt and around the world as they’ve unfolded.  When I started writing the series in April 2012, a little over a year after the Arab Spring I could never have imagined the political turmoil that would topple President Mohamed Morsi (Egypt’s first democratically elected president) from office just a year or so later.  Nor the terrorist atrocities that would rock its tourist industry.  And now we have the lockdown of the Coronavirus around the world. So travel to the Nile Valley (or anywhere else for that matter) is off-limits.

I’ve had to negotiate my way around these obstacles and – wherever possible – weave them into my stories.  All of which rather makes me wonder if my decision to write modern stories was the right one after all.

Lucky for me, I do have a couple of years to play with.  There’s an advantage to having been so deeply distracted by events in my own life recently.  These have included taking on a whole new remit at work, and also a new relationship.

Merry’s last adventure took place in early 2017 when tourism to Egypt was just starting to pick up.  (She herself may have had a small part to play in all that !!)  So I can let her plunge headfirst into some new adventures while also bringing her up-to-date.  And maybe Merry can somehow escape the Coronavirus-related restrictions altogether.

For the rest of us the options right now are more limited. I was lucky enough to visit Cairo twice last year.  And I spent two weeks over Christmas and New Year 2019-20 in Egypt exploring the sites of Aswan and Luxor, with a short Nile cruise thrown in for good measure.  But sadly my trip to Cairo scheduled for the 2020 Easter weekend became a Coronavirus casualty.

But on the upside… since world travel is impossible right now, it leaves only the opportunity of exploring foreign parts vicariously: through TV, films, books and online.  Speaking for myself, this means throwing myself into writing Merry’s latest adventure.  So I can take myself off to Egypt in my imagination and experience its sights and sounds, the dust and the heat and the wonder of its ancient monuments.

If you feel like travelling to Egypt right now, even if only from your armchair, you might want to join Merry on her adventures.  Please click on each picture for the link.  Happy travels.

The Jolie Ville hotel, Luxor (setting for 3 of my books)

The Jolie Ville hotel is a perfect place to unwind and relax.  It’s set on its own island in the Nile – King’s Island – a ten minute drive from central Luxor.  Currently ranked 9th of 63 hotels in Luxor on TripAdvisor.

Sadly right now it’s off limits and unable to welcome holidaymakers drawn by its fabulous botanical-like gardens, vast swimming pools and dreamy view of the Nile.  So while the Coronavirus lockdown is in place in so much of the world, those of you who, like me, love to travel in your imagination, might like a little look at where my central character Meredith Pink was staying when she embarked on her adventures in Egypt.

The Jolie Ville hotel really is the most magical place to stay.  These photographs bring it all flooding back, and remind me to book to go back just as soon as I possibly can.

Merry is on a “time out” holiday after taking voluntary redundancy from her job when she stays there. She couldn’t have imagined the thrilling escapades she was about to embark upon, unlocking mysteries from ancient Egypt.

Here are links (just click the picture) to the first three books, all based at this wonderful hotel – although Merry’s adventures take her all over Egypt.

 

 

My inspiration: Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series

Hi, I’m Fiona Deal, author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, all available on Amazon.

In a recent post I wrote about the challenges of deciding to set my Egyptian mystery adventure series in modern times. I wanted to write the books as if I were experiencing them myself, on a tourist holiday caught up in the adventure of a lifetime. They were conceived as modern escapist fiction, something to read on the commute (in my case) into London, or perhaps on a sun lounger on holiday.

They were also written to fill a huge gap. Back in 2008 (and purely by chance on an Amazon search for novels about Egypt) I stumbled across the Amelia Peabody series written by the wonderful Elizabeth Peters.  This is a writing pseudonym for the prolific Barbara Mertz, who also happened to be an Egyptologist.  Here are her first three (of eighteen) books in the series:

I came to the Amelia Peabody books pretty late on as they were first published in the 1980s.  By the time I discovered them their author was already in her nineties, although still writing.  To say I devoured them would be the understatement of the century.  A fabulous series of books, they differ from mine in being essentially murder mysteries and also set in Victorian times. But, like mine, they are (mostly) set in Egypt and draw from its glorious ancient past.

Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody stories were a massive inspiration for me.  And the void they left when I realised there would be no more was part of what inspired me to write an Egyptian-based series of my own.

I don’t claim to have the Egyptological credentials nor the writing pedigree of Elizabeth Peters (AKA Barbara Mertz) – she published vast numbers of books across different genres and under different pseudonyms.  But I do always take it as the most enormous compliment when I receive a review (and there have been a few) which liken my books to hers, and say I have gone some way towards filling a gap in their reading lives too.

So, thank you to Elizabeth Peters for bringing me the joy of Amelia Peabody and her wonderful family and hangers-on.  She was truly an inspiration.

If you’re locked down in the current Coronavirus crisis and feel like travelling to Egypt, even if only from your armchair, might I encourage you to read the Amelia Peabody series.  Or you might want to join my Merry on her adventures.  Please click on each picture for the link.  Happy travels.

In a Parallel Universe

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.