Why Egypt ?

I’ve written before about my visit to Egypt as a teenager.  It sparked a lifelong fascination with its ancient history and led, many years later, to me writing my modern mystery-adventure series set in the land of the pharaohs.

In this enduring fascination, I know I am not alone.  One only has to visit any of the museums of the world housing Egyptian collections to see these galleries always thronged with people.  So, what is it about ancient Egypt that so excites our imaginations?

I suspect the epoch-defying age, neck-craning scale and breath-taking beauty of the monuments and statuary surviving over thousands of years head the list.  The pyramids, of course; the great pyramid one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  Not to mention buried treasure, vast quantities of gold, preserved mummies of pharaohs and ordinary people alike, and a whole pantheon of curious animal-headed gods and goddesses.

But I think it is more than all that.  Egypt is relatable.  An ancient civilization – arguably THE most ancient civilization – it feels curiously modern.  Here are some reasons why…

  •  It had a system of government and hierarchy much like our own.  The pharaoh supported by viziers, nobles and layers of bureaucracy and administration.
  • Its belief in Ma’at – translated as balance, order, the natural way of things, truth and justice – was an underpinning belief in “rightness” that still resonates.
  • It had a successful military and a police force, the Medjay, upholding law and order, plus a judiciary.
  • Women had rights – able to own property and seek divorce.
  • People drank wine and beer and clearly loved a party.

And I suspect Egypt feels somehow familiar because many of us grew up listening to stories from the Bible.  We heard about Moses in the bullrushes, raised at the court of Pharaoh, about Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt, about the Exodus of the Israelites.  Stories to spark the imagination.  And then along came the musical theatre production Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Pharaoh depicted as an Elvis Presley-like superstar!

So, Egypt is extremely ancient yet curiously modern.  It is embedded in our shared psyche.  We can relate.

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 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.

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 Belzoni’s Bequest

I am looking back on the locations I’ve used my travel, fiction, mystery-action series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  Partly this is a way of re-visiting treasured memories from my own trips to the land of the Pharaohs, and partly as a way of traveling in my imagination since Egypt is off-limits to British tourists right now.

I am now up as far as Book 7 in this trip down Memory Lane.  Belzoni’s Bequest is different from the other books in the series in that it is the only one set in London, England.  Due to various circumstances (some beyond her control but some of her own making), Merry has been required to return home.  Even so, another Egyptian-themed adventure awaits her.  Before long, she’s up to her neck in a new action-adventure-mystery, this time linked to the nineteenth century adventurer and explorer Giovanni Belzoni, who made so many amazing discoveries along the Nile when he was there in 1815-20.

The action starts in England’s premier cultural tourist location, The British Museum.

Here, Merry sees some of the museum’s spectacular Egyptian treasures.  These include artifacts and wall reliefs from the beautiful Theban tomb of Nebamun.  What is fascinating about this tomb is that, having been discovered and stripped of many of its contents for the museum, it was lost again.  Today, nobody is sure of the location of this stunning sepulcher, although it must be somewhere in the Theban Hills.

The British Museum contains an impressive Egyptian collection, always the most crowded of the many galleries.  Among its many treasures are mummy cases, statues of Ramses I and others and, of course, the immense bust of Ramses II (The Great) which stands on a tall plinth in the huge ground floor hall.  The novel considers the argument for restitution of the treasures: whether the Egyptian artifacts and – more particularly – the Elgin Marbles ought, perhaps be returned to their home nations.  I find I can argue this case both ways, and you can read in the book some of the arguments for and against.

As ever, Merry gets caught up in a mystery-adventure.  Trying to unravel what it might mean, she goes first to the John Soane Museum in Holborn.  This fabulous little London Museum is crammed full of collectibles from its’ original owner’s travels.  Of course, Merry finds more there to see than simply what is on display.

London Museum, John Soane

Home of Sir John Soane, collector, London

Another key scene in the novel takes place at Kingston Lacy in Dorset.  Now a National Trust property, this was once the home of the aristocratic Bankes family.  The gentleman traveller Willian John Bankes lived there during the years of his Grand Tour, which took him to Egypt.  There, he met the adventurer/explorer Giovanni Belzoni, who helped him transport a gigantic Ptolemaic obelisk from the Island Temple of Philae back home to the family seat in Dorset.  Belzoni almost lost the obelisk when, trying to lever it aboard a boat, it slipped into The Nile.  Thankfully, he was able to rescue it.  Visitors to Kingston Lacy can see it standing proudly in the grounds there today.

The action in the book concludes in the wonderful Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, also home to an extensive ancient Egyptian collection.

Oxford Museum, Ashmolean

Facade of Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England

It just goes to show that Merry doesn’t have to be in Egypt to have an intriguing Egyptian adventure !

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at some of the key locations used when writing Belzoni’s Bequest.  If you’d like to consider reading the books, 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.

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.

Location, location, location

If you, like me, are longing for a return of the days when we can travel without restriction, to venture off someplace hot, to learn about a different culture and see amazing sights, you might perhaps be dreaming (as I am) of a trip to Egypt.  Here in the UK, Egypt is currently on the red list, so no-go.  To console myself, I’ve been looking at photos from past trips (of which there have been many: Egypt is my favorite place on the planet).

In my series of action-adventure-mystery novels following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, 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 first book in my (now 10 book) series Carter’s Conundrums.

Howard Carter's House

Howard Carter’s House

The story starts with my female protagonist, Merry, on a post-redundancy holiday to Luxor, getting accidentally locked in the Howard Carter House.  This, where the famous British excavator lived while searching for and ultimately finding Tutankhamun’s Tomb.  Now it is a museum.  Sadly, many of the contents are not Carter originals, but it still gives an insight into what it might have felt like to call the place “home”.

My story starts with Merry trying to escape through the window shown in the picture below.

Howard Carter’s study – Carter’s Conundrums

Lucky for Merry, she is rescued without having to spend the whole night trapped in there.  But not before she has made a chance discovery.  It sets her off on a weird sort of treasure hunt to de-code a set of hieroglyphics and see where they may lead her.

While on her post-redundancy trip, Merry is staying at the Jolie Ville hotel.  Set on King’s Island, a private island in The Nile, connected to the mainland by a short bridge, it is a beautiful botanical oasis in dust-strewn Luxor.  I have had the pleasure of staying there, and can attest to the beautiful gardens, fabulous pools, comfortable rooms, great food and attentive service.  It also has a small zoo.  Oh, and Ramses the camel !

Things for Merry are about to get interesting. After a chance meeting in front of the perfectly preserved statue of Thutmosis III in the Luxor Museum, Merry runs into “thwarted Egyptologist” Adam Tennyson on the forecourt of Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple.  Here, she finds the original wall relief showing Queen Ahmes, Hatshepsut’s mother, shown here…

The first stop on Merry’s whirlwind treasure hunt is the magnificent Karnak Temple.  The largest religious structure ever built, dedicated to the Theban God Amun, it sits opposite Hatshepsut’s Temple on the other side of The Nile.

Next, to help her unravel the mystery she has stumbled across, Merry travels to Cairo.  There, she ends up staying in one of its most iconic hotels, The Mena House, once a Khedive hunting lodge.  This historic hotel is one of Egypt’s finest (named for Egypt’s first pharaoh).  It sits – literally – in the shadows of the Giza pyramid plateau.  Surely one of the best locations on earth !

While in Cairo, Merry visits the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, site of the Stepped Pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser, built by his architect, Imhotep.  Here, Merry has a breakthrough.  It’s a fabulous place, full of atmosphere.  The Stepped Pyramid is Egypt’s first, the prototype for he Giza pyramids, and pre-dates them all.

Once Merry is back in Luxor, she visits the iconic Winter Palace Hotel.  This, where Earl Carnarvon stayed while Howard Carter was excavating King Tut’s Tomb, and where Carter made the thrilling announcement of the tomb’s discovery.  This is possibly my favourite place in Egypt.  I don’t imagine too much has changed since the days of Carter and Carnarvon.

And her first adventure, of course, has to take in the mesmerizing Valley of the Kings.  This natural wadi is dominated by the pyramid-shaped mountain of Meret-Seger (she who loves silence) which looms over it. The question is, is there still anything left here to discover?  And might Merry be the one to find it ?

IMG_E0918

Valley of the Kings

I hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of some of the fabulous sites in the Land of the Pharaohs, and that you might consider reading the books to find out more…

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.

Giving up the day job…

IMG_6698I am one of the lucky ones.  I had career I loved, working with amazing people in great organizations, doing roles I enjoyed.  Then, early in 2021, largely as a result of the global pandemic, an opportunity arose to apply for voluntary redundancy.  Now, those of you who have read my books will know that Merry’s adventures begin on a ‘time-out’ holiday, having taken a voluntary redundancy from a 15 year career in corporate communications (just because, really!).  My career has been just a little over double that timespan.  But I couldn’t help but want to follow in my central protagonist’s footsteps and see what might await me on the other side … if only I could be brave enough to take the leap…

Sadly, I doubt I will have adventures of the sort Merry finds herself wrapped up in !  But, inside my head, I might just be there at her side as she has them …

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

Book 1. Carter’s Conundrums.

My dream has always been to have time to pursue writing as something more than a hobby.  The first nine of my books charting Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt were all penned while I worked full time in demanding executive roles, in my case in Human Resources and Organisational Development.  Writing the books was my way of switching off, of escaping to a different life.  And of going to my favourite place on the planet – Egypt – in my imagination even when it was impossible to go there for real.  My first book in the series, Carter’s Conundrums, was written in the spring of 2012. In some ways, it seems a long time ago, in others, just yesterday.

I remember how the first line came to me, sitting at traffic lights, having filled my car up with fuel after going see a movie – Sleeping Beauty – with Julia Roberts as the queen and Lily Collins as Snow White.  I came home, fired up my laptop and wrote most of the first chapter of Carter’s Conundrums.

Now, nine years later, I’ve written ten books.  And now, I need to learn how to get them in front of people.

Ramses’ Revenge - Book 10 - hi-resI have just published book 10 in the series, Ramses’ Revenge.  I started writing it in the first UK lockdown in spring 2020, but found it impossible to get a clear run at it, given the much more pressing needs of the day job.  I think the idea was already starting to form that what I really wanted was to see if I could turn my writing into something more than a hobby.

Since leaving my last role at the end of March 2021, I have written solidly.  And the result is the tenth book in my series, published last week.

I self-publish.  As an executive with a demanding and rewarding day job, I always told myself my books were my hobby.  Again, I was lucky: I had hobby that paid me !  Not very much, admittedly.  But better than paying for a gym membership (I’m full of good intentions) or ski equipment, or whatever.

Now, I need to see if I can turn this passion into something that will actually pay the bills !!  I find I need to learn an entirely different set of skills.  It is not enough to write the books.  I must market them too.  I’m new to this.  I’m English too, so I find it hard to ask for reviews (but if you should be so motivated, I’d be ever so grateful !)

So, the purpose of this post is twofold:  First, I want to pay homage to an incredible career and to all the wonderful people who helped make it such a positive experience.  Second, to ask for your support in making this transition.  If you can like, or share, or, better yet, read my books and review them on Amazon and ideally recommend them to others, well, that would be amazing.

So, a shout out to some incredible people (you know who you are) Mary, Steve, Michael, Tracey, Tina, Rhona … you either showed me the way, or stood at my shoulder.

HR_Excellence_Awards_2012_080[1] (2)Together, we achieved a lot.  9th place in the Sunday Times Top 100 when I was Executive Director of Corporate Services AmicusHorizon.  Plus 6 x HR Excellence Awards.

FTUJ7144Then, at Network Homes, 5 x HR Excellence Awards, 39th place in the Sunday Times Top 100, and 2 x Personnel Today Awards.  In 2019, I won HR Director of the Year in two separate award ceremonies.  A legacy I’m proud of.

But now, I have given up the day job – must see if I can make the transition of turning a hobby into a new career.  I can live on my redundancy money for so long, but then I will need to get another position.  But I would love not to have to …

This is a peek behind the curtain into my life, who I am, who I have been. I don’t pretend, yet, to be any good at the promotional stuff – but I have to learn.  Some people may love my audacity.  Some will hate me for putting myself out there, asking for reviews or shares.  Par for the course.

So, please wish me luck as I start on this new chapter of my own life.  And, if you’re interested in seeing more about my own adventures in Egypt, please click here to see photos of me on my travels.

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.

Reviews really help

I am thrilled to see that I already have two 5-star reviews on my new book Ramses’ Revenge, less than two days after it was published.

Screen Shot 2021-06-11 at 09.18.18

Reviews make such positive difference, helping the mysterious Amazon algorithms to notice the book and link it to other similar products for more readers to find.

What makes me appreciate these first two reviews so much is that I don’t personally know either of the individuals who has posted them – they have both commented my website, which is how I am able to let them know a new book is available.

It is certainly true that friends and family occasionally can be prevailed upon to read the books and say a few nice words in print.  These account for less that 10% of the reviews I’ve received on my books over the years.

Of course, not all reviews are positive – it would be a boring world for sure if we all liked the same things.  I had a 1-star review a few years back on one of the earlier books from someone who said reading it was a bit like going round and round the M25 and not being able to get off. (For anyone not in the UK, that’s a circular motorway around London). It made my laugh, so I couldn’t be offended.

I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to leave me a review.  Naturally, I prefer the positive ones !!  And to FG and Deimos in particular, who have pushed Ramses’ Revenge out of the starting blocks – thank you.

So, if you are a reader of my books but perhaps less inclined to leave a review on Amazon, I am going to ask unashamedly for you to consider doing so.  This struggling, independent and self-published author would really appreciate it.  (I don’t quite live in a garret, but you get the gist!).  A positive review on any or all of the books really does make a huge difference.  Thank you 🙂

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’ Revenge now published

Ramses’ Revenge - Book 10 - hi-res

I am delighted to announce that book 10 in the series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt is now published.  Set in Luxor, Egypt, it offers an opportunity to travel for those of us still unable to venture to foreign climes due to the pandemic.  As always, it is a modern adventure story with an ancient Egyptian mystery at its heart.

Please click here to find out more or purchase from Amazon uk or click here for Amazon.com 

Meredith (Merry) Pink has a sixth sense when it comes to unlocking secrets from Egypt’s ancient past.  It’s possible she is not the only one. When a guest staying onboard Merry and Adam’s dahabeeyah reveals an uncanny – some might almost say paranormal – insight into events that took place around three-thousand years ago, Merry realises it may be possible to solve a pharaonic murder-mystery.  She sets out to discover what really happened when Ramses III fell victim to what has come to be known by Egyptologists as “The Harem Conspiracy”.
Join Merry & co on another Egyptian adventure, this time spiced up with a splash of Hollywood glamour.
 
 
 
Here’s what some reviewers have said about previous books in the series:
 
“Highly entertaining take on modern and ancient Egypt”
“Outstanding page turner set in an exotic location”
“If you love Egypt, you will love these mysteries”
“Adventure, antiquities, good friends, and tea – wonderful!”
 
 
And, to get you started, here is an excerpt from the first page…
 
There’s nothing quite like an Egyptian wedding for sheer joyful exuberance.  As such, it reflected the groom’s character down to the ground.

Ahmed, our police buddy – returned to the bosom of the Luxor tourism and antiquities police after a stint as our bodyguard – can, on occasion, be inclined to take himself the teensiest bit seriously.  But there can be no doubting the vim and verve he brings to life.  His wedding to Habiba – sultry and beautiful Ministry of Antiquities Inspector – was cause enough for elation.  After all, they’d got off to a somewhat sticky start.  He hadn’t taken kindly to being assigned her ‘babysitter’ when she’d been posted from Cairo to Luxor a while back to investigate reports of looting in the area.  Nor had he much appreciated her instinctive inclination to poke fun at him.  But from such inauspicious beginnings, love had blossomed.  I daresay stranger things have happened.  So, here we were in the local mosque, celebrating the nuptials of Ahmed Abd el-Rassul, descended from one of Luxor’s most notorious families of tomb-robbing ne’er-do-wells, and Habiba Garai, PhD graduate, one of the nation’s new crop of fully emancipated young twenty-first-century women, and a Ministry of Antiquities Inspector to boot.

Quite how they would square his tomb-robbing antecedence and occasional strays from the straight and narrow with her strict ethics and modern-crusader-like tendencies would remain to be seen.  That they loved each other was not in doubt.  And maybe love could conquer all.

Watching them declare their commitment to making it work, I squeezed Adam’s hand alongside me, suddenly dewy-eyed and nostalgic. I do so love a wedding.  I’d attended quite a few in recent years. Three of them were my own. 

 
It’s been a while since I published my last book – Ramses’ Riches back in 2018.  Sometimes real life takes over.  Before the craziness of the global pandemic, I took on a big new role in my day job.  This consumed a huge amount of energy, leaving little left for writing.  Earlier this year, I took the plunge and decided to take an opportunity (much like Merry) for voluntary redundancy.   I am now planning to devote myself to my writing.
 
I love to hear from my readers.  Please do leave a comment on my website.  And, if you enjoy my books, I very much appreciate review on Amazon.
 
I hope you enjoy Merry’s latest adventure of a rather dark chapter in pharaonic history.

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.

Lost Golden City

01-luxor-egypt-golden-cityIt is always so exciting to learn about new archaeological discoveries in Egypt.  The announcement, yesterday, of what is being dubbed “Egypt’s Pompeii” or the Lost Golden City offers new insights into one of the most glorious and controversial periods of ancient Egyptian history.

A team of archaeologists led by famous Egyptologist and former Minister of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, began excavations on the West Bank of the Nile near Luxor in September 2020. They were searching for the mortuary temple of Tutankhamun, a place where offerings would have been brought to honour the dead pharaoh.  Digging in a promising location between the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III (site of the famous Colossi of Memnon) and the huge temple of Medinet Habu built for Ramses III, they instead found the remains of an ancient city.  It had been buried under the sand for millennia.  Built approximately 3400 years ago, it dates from the reign of Amenhotep III.  He ruled in the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom, at the height of Egypt’s Empire period.  Hailed as “Amenhotep the Magnificent”, he had a long reign that may also have included a co-regency with his son, the “heretic pharaoh” who ruled as Akenaten (changing his name from Amenhotep IV).

Zahi Hawass and his team are hailing the lost golden city as the most important discovery since Howard Carter found Tutankhamun’s tomb.  And so it may prove.  Already human and animal burials are being found, along with items of jewellery, pottery and wine jar seals.  The team has unearthed remains of a bakery and kitchen, items related to glass and metal making and buildings with apparently administrative functions.  The team dangles the prospect of finding tombs filled with treasures.  Whether or not this hope will be fulfilled, it remains a remarkable discovery.  Some of the streets have walls almost ten meters high.  It promises to shed light on one of the most fascinating periods in ancient Egyptian history.  Evidence has been found to suggest the city was still in use under Tutankhamun and Ay, although Akhenaten abandoned ancient Thebes, building a new capital Akhet-Aten between modern Luxor and Cairo.

As a writer of adventure/mystery stories set in Egypt, it shows that it’s not so far-fetched to imagine new discoveries turning up all the time. The Lost Golden City is a story I will follow with interest.

Post images courtesy of Zahi Hawass.

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.