Locations in Ramses’ Revenge

Ramses’ Revenge - Book 10 - hi-resEgypt remains on the red list for travel from the UK while the pandemic still rages across the globe.  This means we Brits can travel there in an emergency only.  So I have been consoling myself with my photo albums, revisiting past trips.  Many of the awe-inspiring archaeological sites and ancient monuments on both banks of the Nile have provided locations for key scenes in my travel series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  There are now ten books in the series.  They are modern mystery-adventure stories, all with an ancient Egyptian mystery at their heart.  So if you, like me, are missing the opportunity to travel freely, you might like to join me on this spin through some of my favorite places in the mystical land the pharaohs.

I have now reached the last in this series of travelogues as I am now on book 10 in the series.  Published in early June this year, 2021, Ramses’ Revenge is Merry’s most recent adventure.

The majority of the action takes place at the impressive temple of Medinet Habu on the West Bank near Luxor.  This was the mortuary temple, or “Mansion of Millions of Years” of Pharaoh Ramses III.  It has long been known that Ramses III was the victim of a Harem Conspiracy, led by one of his wives, to replace him on the throne with her son. But it was long believed that the pharaoh survived the attempt on his life – although dying soon afterwards.  Then, in 2012, the CT scan on his preserved mummy revealed a deeply slit throat, a wound so vicious it must certainly have killed him instantly.  My story seeks to unravel the circumstances surrounding this violent chapter in Egypt’s royal past.  It provides the identities and motivations of some of the key protagonists in the ancient murder-mystery.

Medinet Habu is the best preserved of the truly ancient temples.  It dates from the early 20th Dynasty of the New Kingdom, some 1,100 years BCE.  Its fantastic state of preservation is largely thanks to its use as the headquarters of the West Bank necropolis in ancient times, meaning it wasn’t dismantled so its stones could be re-used in other building projects, which was the fate of many of the memorial temples dating from this period.  Much of the original color can still be seen, audit’s possible to get a sense of what the temple would have looked like when brightly painted and intact. There are some fantastic wall carvings, many showing Ramses III’s successful war campaigns against the ‘Sea Peoples’.

Here are some typical scenes of the local people going about their business; scenes Merry sees every day as she has made a home in Egypt.

One of the key scenes in the book takes placate Karnak, where the action unfolds in the Barque Temple of Ramses III and the Temple of Khonsu, which was commissioned by Ramses III.

As ever, it wouldn’t be a Meredith Pink book without a visit to one of Luxor’s iconic hotels.  This time, the charming Al Moudira Hotel, tucked away discreetly on the West Bank in the foothills of the Theban Mountains.

There is also a visit to the Valley of The Queens, where it’s possible to see tombs of sons of Ramses III who died before their father.  The wall reliefs show the pharaoh introducing his dead son(s) to the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient Egyptian Pantheon.

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One of the sons of Ramses III

And so, my series (so far) and my photographic tour through favorite memories and locations for key scenes in my books has come to an end.  I plan soon to start writing book 11, with more planned for the future.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at my pictures, and that you might consider joining Merry & Co on their adventures in Egypt.  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.

Ramses’ Riches Scene Setting

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

Book 9. Ramses’ Riches.

I have been taking a look at photos that bring back great memories of my travels to Egypt.  Many of the hotels and archaeological sites have provided locations for the key scenes in by 10-book series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  All the time it’s not possible to travel freely, it seems to me the best way to get away is to read about foreign places and/or to look at pictures, which help to bring us a bit closer to what we’re missing.

I am now up to Book 9 in my series, Ramses’ Riches.  This novel explores possible links between the court of Ramses The Great and the legendary tales about Helen of Troy.

After a spell in Luxor, Merry & Co decide to travel south down the Nile and then across Lake Nasser.  Their destination is the glorious Temple of Ramses the Great at Abu Simbel.

While on their Nile Cruise, Merry and her friends and associates visit some of the most popular tourist sites along the banks of the river.  What’s so great about a cruise along The Nile is that the ancient temple ruins are dotted along its banks at intervals.  It makes for a leisurely touring itinerary and nothing is too far away from the boat.  Key stops on the journey south to Aswan from Luxor include the Ptolemaic temples of Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo.  Merry & Co visit Kom Ombo at night, soaking up the atmosphere of a full moon.

One of the many pleasures of a Nile cruise is looking at the scenes along the river bank, especially as the dusk sweeps in and the palm trees become a charcoal smudge against the glowing embers of the sinking sun.

The drama really start to heat up once Merry reaches Aswan and visits the island-temples go Philae.  The main temple is dedicated Isis.  Once sited on the island of Philae, the temples were dismantled to save them from the rising flood waters after the British dam was built in the early part of the 20th century.  They have been re-sited on the nearby island of Agilika on higher ground.  Looking at them today, you would never know they had been moved – a remarkable feat of modern engineering to rival the ancient artisans’ skill.  Philae is very beautiful, surrounded by lush vegetation and the blue waters of The Nile near the first cataract.

Ultimately though, Merry’s destination is Abu Simbel.  She is lucky enough to approach over water across Lake Nasser.  Here, the sunsets are also beautiful.  And the approach towards the great temples is breathtaking.  Like Philae, both the smaller temple of Nefertari (dedicated to the goddess Hathor) and the Great Temple of Ramses II were rescued by UNESCO from the rising floodwaters of Lake Nasser, this time after the building of the Aswan High Dam in the mid-1960s.  Every stone was painstakingly dismantled and moved to higher ground close to their original location.  These two originally rock-cut tombs were reconstructed inside huge concrete and steel-enforced domes, like aircraft hangers.  Again, it’s hard to imagine, seeing them so apparently intact today.

Inside both temples, the walls are covered with reliefs.  The smaller temple of Nefertari – a key location in the novel – is covered with intimate scenes of Queen Neferari and her husband making offerings to the goddess Hathor.  Inside the mighty temple of Ramses the Great, the wall scenes depict his war exploits against The Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh.  Ramses claimed this as a great military victory.  In truth, it was more likely to have ended in a stalemate that led to the first peace treaty in history some twenty years after the infamous battle.

Abu Simbel is truly one of the most impressive of Egypt’s ancient temples, dating to the New Kingdom, some 3,000 years ago.  Not as immense as the pyramids, nor as sprawling and neck-craning as Karnak or as beautiful as Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple, it has an egotistical majesty that is quite awe inspiring, declaring one man’s power and glory, and his love for his Great Royal Wife.  He called Nefertari “she for whom the sun shines”.

The bulk of the action in Ramses’ Riches takes place once Merry & Co reach Abu Simbel.  The key question is whether something might remain buried behind the inner sanctuary of the temple, protected by the four seated statues of the gods, and whether this might somehow prove a link with the mythical Helen of Troy, or perhaps a more recent news story.

As always, there’s plenty of action and adventure along the way as Merry unlocks more secrets from Egypt’s ancient past.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at my pictures of my visits to Egypt that have provided settings for keystones in my books, and that you might consider reading them for some light, escapist fiction with a dose of ancient Egyptian history thrown in.  If so, I suggest you start with the first in the series, Carter’s Conundrums.  All my books areavaailable on Amazon.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

Speaking of Inspiration…

I posted recently about the amazing author Elizabeth Peters and what an inspiration her Egypt-based Amelia Peabody series was to me.

My fascination with Egypt was sparked as a teenager when my parents took my brother and me on a half-term break to Egypt: a flying visit to Cairo and Luxor.  I think it’s fair to say that once Egypt grabbed hold of me it never let me go.   It’s become a lifelong fascination.

And I know I’m not alone.  One only has to look at the Egyptian galleries in the major museums of the world, always thronged with people.  The Metropolitan in New York, Le Louvre in Paris, the amazing Museo Egizio in Turin and of course our own British Museum.

Here I am outside the Egyptian Museum in Turin:

Switch on the TV on almost any night, skim through the channels and you’re bound to come across Egypt-themed documentaries.

But I thought I’d use this short post to highlight a few other amazing sources of inspiration for my Egyptian mystery adventure series.

Starting of course with the magnificent Agatha Christie – apparently only outsold by Shakespeare and the Bible !!  Her book Death on the Nile has been made into films that I watch over and over – capturing the romance of cruising along the Nile, and shot on location at some of my favourite hotels and historical sites.

And I’m excited to say it looks as if a new dramatisation is scheduled for movie release later in 2020, with Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot (reprising the role he took in Murder on the Orient Express a couple of years ago).  I can only hope the Coronavirus pandemic currently sweeping the world doesn’t put this on hold for too long.

 

But my greatest source of inspiration of all has to be the box-set documentary-drama “EGYPT” produced by the BBC in 2005.  I’ve watched these over and over.  They tell the stories of Howard Cater’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb (inspiration for my first three novels), Giovanni Belzoni’s remarkable discoveries along the Nile (inspiration for books 7-9) and Jean-Francois Champollion’s decipherment of the hieroglyphic language (also drawn on in books 7-9).  I love the format which manages to combine history with drama to tell the story and bring the characters to life.

And this is just to skim the surface.  If I listed all the books – fact and fiction – that have inspired me, I’d be here all day. Instead, I have writing of my own to do.  I’m underway with book 10 in my series, set in Luxor and inspired by the murder mystery surrounding the death of the last warrior pharaoh Ramses III.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, all available on Amazon.  If you’re interested in joining Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link. Happy travels!

Ramses’ Riches now published

Please click here to find out more or purchase

book 9 - v3On a mission to Egypt to retrace the steps of the great explorer Giovanni Belzoni, the next stop is Abu Simbel.  But Merry and friends have more reasons for wanting to make the trip down Lake Nasser than just to see The Great Temple of Ramses that Belzoni famously dug from the sand.

First, there’s the golden statuette of Helen of Troy apparently found there.  And second, the promise – on very good authority – of a stash of treasure.

Intrigued and mystified – as both are surely impossible – Merry sets sail to find out more.

This is the ninth book in my fiction series following Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt. The books are escapist fiction – adventure stories – set in the present day.  All have an ancient Egyptian mystery at their heart.

IDBC00078 Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt - Fiona Deal - CCThe first book in the series is Carter’s Conundrums.  It starts with Merry, on holiday in Egypt, getting trapped inside the Howard Carter Museum in Luxor, and making a discovery … This sets her off an a treasure hunt, and the adventure of a lifetime.

The books are aimed at adults who enjoy action, mystery and adventure stories.  And at anybody with at least a passing interest in ancient Egypt; its mysteries, treasures and enduring civilisation.

All books are available in Kindle and paperback formats on Amazon.  I do hope you enjoy them…

Fiona Deal

 

 

 

Nefertari’s Narrative Paperback

BookCoverPreview.doThe paperback version of Meredith Pink’s latest adventure in Egypt is now available on Amazon.  Nefertari’s Narrative takes Merry on a journey along the Nile where, of course, she gets caught up in another madcap mystery trying to discover what happened to an ancient set of stone tablets which seem to shed light on the origins of the beautiful Queen Nefertari.

As ever, things are not plain sailing for Merry.  A series of mishaps leave her wondering if things are quite what they seem, and whether she is the only one hoping to unlock secrets from Egypt’s ancient past.

This version of the paperback has the original style cover.  It will be available until end-January 2018 with this cover.  I’ll then update it with the new cover design.

I do hope you enjoy this latest Merry adventure.  If so please do leave a review on Amazon.  I also read and respond to all comments you leave here on my website.

The whole series of Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt, starting with Carter’s Conundrums, is available in both ebook and paperback on Amazon.

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Paperback version of Belzoni’s Bequest

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FINALLY … the new cover for Belzoni’s Bequest in paperback is available on Amazon.  It took ages to upload for reasons I don’t pretend to understand.

So now the whole series of seven books is available in both Kindle e-book and paperback versions, starting with Carter’s Conundrums.

 

For the uninitiated, these are a series of light, escapist stories following Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.  They’re modern stories, but each has an ancient Egyptian mystery at its heart.  I’ve made a start on number eight, which I hope to publish early next year.

 

A Cook Abroad: in Egypt

Photo credit : BBC

Photo credit : BBC

At last ! A programme about Egypt to warm the heart – whet the appetite –  and hopefully encourage tourists to return.  On Monday evening BBC2 screened the first of six episodes in a new series called ‘A Cook Abroad’.

First up TV chef and one half of the Hairy Bikers travelled to Egypt to experience the nation’s culinary offerings, and explore a bit of its history.

Travelling from Cairo to Luxor via Fayoum by motorbike, and then on to Aswan aboard the steamship Sudan (the inspiration for Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile), Myers took time to visit many of the country’s historical sites along the way.

After sampling street food for breakfast in Cairo – a bean dish called ‘ful medames’ – Myers headed out to the pyramids at Giza to fulfil his boyhood dream of standing in their shadow.

But it was his trip to the ancient necropolis of Saqqara that really got him excited.  There, he enthused over the tomb wall paintings dating back more than 4,500 years depicting the baking of bread.  As Myers pointed out, this must surely count as the earliest recipe on record!

In the oasis of El Fayoum Myers enjoyed dates pulled freshly from the palm tree, then attempted (with little success but much hilarity) to emulate the skill of the fellahin’s wife in tossing her homemade bread atop an oven-dish that looked like a pizza pan, the idea being to make flat bread of pancake-like proportions.

In Luxor, Myers sampled a delicious-looking stuffed pigeon in a local restaurant before dressing up to board the steamship Sudan, where the chef taught him to make a local delicacy called um ali (a sweetened bread and butter pudding with hot milk).  But first, he visited the West Bank where he sampled shasmi bread with a local called Mahmoud.  He noted how the design Mahmoud’s wife baked into her bread was the same as on the loaves depicted in the ancient wall paintings in Deir el Medina, the Village of the Workers.  Great to see that some things haven’t been lost down the centuries.

To mark the end of his journey, Myers was invited by a family of Nubians for a feast to celebrate the end of Eid Al Adha, and help prepare a traditional meal to be shared with family, friends and neighbours.

For Myers, the star of the show was the home-baked Egyptian bread, in all its various forms.  For me, it was seeing the warm welcome he was given by all the Egyptian people he encountered.

All in all, it was a programme that left me longing to return.  I was even nostalgic for the haggling game, watching Myers enter some good-natured bartering with trinket sellers near the Colossi of Memnon.  I can only hope others watching the programme had their appetites similarly whetted.  Well done Dave Myers on showing us the delightful side of Egypt and its people.

Since Egyptian food in singularly absent from what’s on offer in the UK – as Myers pointed out,  “Where can you go for an ‘Egyptian’?” – the best bet is surely to visit the Land of the Pharaohs and sample it with the locals.

Fiona Deal – author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt – available in paperback on Amazon or to download from Amazon or all major ebook sellers.

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Levison Wood. Walking the Nile

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Photo Credit : Channel 4

Last night I watched the last episode of Channel 4’s documentary ‘Walking the Nile’.  This four-part series followed former soldier Levison Wood as he set out to walk along the longest river on earth, from its source in deepest Africa, to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt.  That’s 7 million steps and nine months of solid walking!

This was an impressive undertaking, given the heat, the distance and the painful foot blisters (shown in all their graphic glory!).

I found myself unexpectedly moved when Mr Wood – or ‘Lev’ as he introduced himself – reached the end of his epic journey and dived into the sea before an emotional reunion with his family.

I’ll be honest and say I haven’t watched all four episodes although I’ve seen bits of the previous ones, showing Levison travelling through Ethiopia and Sudan.  It was the final leg of his journey – through Egypt – that I wanted to see.  I’d hoped this might show Egypt in a light that would encourage tourists to return.  In this wish, I was disappointed.

I’m sure much of the challenge for Levison Wood was to be seen to walk through parts of the world that might be described as ‘trouble spots’.  He’s a battle-hardened man, who’s made a name for himself trekking across war zones.  But, to me, it was disappointing to see Egypt given this treatment.

I’m not so naive as to think everything in the garden is rosy in Egypt.  The News reports over the weekend of clashes in Cairo marking the 4-year anniversary of the Revolution to topple Hosni Mubarak – which have left 18 people dead – are testament enough to the on-going political unrest.  But I thought the Walking the Nile documentary was overly skewed towards portraying a country apparently rife with gun smugglers, where the atmosphere is one of tension and mistrust of foreigners.

In my 11 visits to Egypt (including trips in each of the last four years 2011-14), I have never experienced this sense of unease at all.  Admittedly, I have been a visitor to Luxor, not to any of the towns previously strongholds for the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.  Even so, I thought Egypt was misrepresented in last night’s programme.

Levison Wood paused briefly to enjoy the hospitality of the famous Old Cataract hotel in Aswan.  Previously host to Sir Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie, the hotel was conspicuously devoid of guests.  He also made short stops at some of the temples along Lake Nasser (although we weren’t shown him visiting Abu Simbel, despite the promise of the opening titles) and in Luxor.  But the jaw-dropping history and archaeological sites of Egypt were given scant air time, brushed over in favour of scenes of Mr Wood being followed by the police.  In this, too, I felt the Egyptian authorities were done a disservice.  It seemed clear to me the police officers concerned were good natured and concerned for Mr Wood’s safety whilst in their country, nothing more sinister than that.

I’m not sure what it will take for tourists to venture back to Egypt.  To be fair, the purpose of Channel 4’s documentary was not to be a travelogue.  Nevertheless I thought it a shame that such a spectacular country, one with so much to offer its visitors, was represented as a war zone.

I applaud Levison Wood for his courageous journey.  What a remarkable achievement.  Nevertheless, I hope I will be believed when I say Egypt remains a fabulous destination for a holiday.  I hope to go again during 2015, and make it a fifth consecutive year for a visit.  True, I may not have Cairo on my itinerary – and I will certainly avoid the Sinai Peninsula.  But Luxor is a treasure not to be missed.  I hope even Levison Wood would agree with that !

Fiona Deal

Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt – a series of mystery/adventure novels set in Luxor.  Available on Amazon.

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