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.


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.

Travel during Lockdown

Right now much of the world is in lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the planet.

But, to my way of looking at it, we can still travel.  Just not literally (by which I mean physically).

But we can read books set in far-flung places.  I can pick up Alexander McCall Smith’s wonderful series about the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency and be immediately transported to Botswana.  It’s a country that remains on my bucket list but, even so, I feel as if I’ve been there.


In the same way, I hope my series following Meredith Pink on her adventures in Egypt can mentally take readers to the heat, light, dust and magic of the Land of the Pharaohs.  Here’s the first couple of lines to whet your appetite:  “At first, when I found myself locked in Howard Carter’s house for the night, I thought it must be an elaborate prank.  A little later, when I smashed one of his pictures, I stopped seeing the funny side.”

We can also look at pictures and photographs to remind ourselves of the wonders of far flung places we might long to travel to.  Here are a few of my favourites taken on my travels in Egypt:

Feluccas on the Nile – Aswan

The Great Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel

Elephantine Island, Aswan

The Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan

Elephantine Island, Aswan

Elephantine Island, Aswan

Temple of Isis, Philae

Kiosk of Trajan, Philae

Philae Temples

The Nile

Obelisk at Karnak Temple

Rebuilt Pylon at Karnak Temple

Medinet Habu

Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple

Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple

Denderah Temple of Hathor

Egyptian sunset

The Open Court – Karnak

Hypostyle Hall, Karnak

Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple

Mortuary Temple of Seti I



Fallen colossus at the Ramesseum

Colossi of Memnon

The Winter Palace Hotel, Luxor

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, all available on Amazon.

To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

My top 10 historical sites in Egypt

I’ve visited Egypt 11 times in total, since falling in love with it on my first visit with my parents in 1983.  Now I write a fictional adventure / mystery series set there : Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  There are six books in the series so far.  Each is a modern adventure with an ancient Egyptian mystery at its heart.

As a frequent visitor to Egypt, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of my favourite places to visit.  This list is my personal top 10, so feel free to disagree with me. I think I’ll do it as a countdown …

IMG_4517So, in at number 10. The stepped pyramid at Sakkara (or Saqqara as it’s sometimes spelled). My lead characters Merry and Adam take a trip to see the stepped pyramid in my first book Carter’s Conundrums. II was last at Sakkara in 2008.



At number 9, the Temple of Edfu, probably the best preserved of all the ancient Egyptian temples. It dates from the Graeco-Roman period, and is included on any Nile cruise itinerary. It’s the location of a scene in Hatshepsut’s Hideaway, the third book in my series.

Here I am outside the main pylon – March 2008.


IMG_4215At number 8, the Temple of Philae, near Aswan. It’s a lovely temple, also dating from the Graeco-Roman period, and dedicated to the goddess Isis. It was rescued by UNESCO as after the British dam was built in the early twentieth century it spent half the year under water. UNESCO moved it piece by piece to the nearby island of Agilika. Not yet used as a location in my books. Here I am in January 2012.



IMG_4505Number 7 is the pyramid and sphinx (not sure if it’s cheating to put them together) on the Giza plateau in Cairo. The pyramids tower over the surrounding suburbia. Merry sits near the swimming pool in Le Meridien hotel, gazing in awe at the pyramids in my second book Tutankhamun’s Triumph.



At number 6, I’ll go for the Temple of Medinet Habu, built by Ramses III and located on the West Bank at Luxor. It’s not always included in the touring itineraries, but well worth an independent visit. The original colours are beautifully preserved.

Not yet used as a location in my books.





At number 5, The Valley of the Kings. A barren, desolate and rather forbidding place … once stuffed with enough gold to sink a battle ship, buried in the tombs of the dead pharaohs. It’s forbidden to take photographs nowadays – so here’s one of me taken back in 2004. The Valley of the Kings features prominently in all of my novels.



scan0141Number 4, the wonderful Winter Palace hotel. I was lucky enough to stay here for New Year in 2008-9; the best New Year’s Eve ever! Frequented by both Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in the years leading up to the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun.

Once used literally as a palace for King Fuad and King Farouk I used it as a location in both Carter’s Conundrums and Farouk’s Fancies.


DSCN5281So, to my personal top 3.

At number 3 I think it has to be Hatshepsut’s Temple on the West Bank in Luxor. It features prominently in all six books. Set dramatically against the craggy cliff face at Deir el Bahri, and backed by the Valley of the Kings, it’s rich with dramatic potential.



At number 2, the complex of temples that make up Karnak. The Hypostyle Hall takes my breath away every time I go there. The temple is the largest religious structure ever built. Words are inadequate to the task of describing it. As yet, I’ve perhaps not made as much of its dramatic potential as I could.  Merry and Adam go there to look at the obelisks in Carter’s Conundrums.





So, we’ve arrived at number 1. Personally, for sheer egotistical magnificence, I don’t think you can beat the temples of Abu Simbel, built by Ramses II. Yes, I’m cheating again. There are actually two temples… one for Ramses himself, and a smaller one for his great royal wife Nefertari. I walked around the latter with a lump in my throat – it’s exquisite. They’re also a marvel of modern engineering, raised to higher ground by UNESCO to escape the rising waters of Lake Nasser.


So, there you have it. My personal top 10. I’ve not mentioned Luxor Temple, the Ramesseum, Denderah, Abydos – all equally awe-inspiring. … Great! Another reason to go back and loads more opportunities for book settings ! I guess maybe I should have done a top 20!

Fiona Deal

Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, available to download or in paperback on Amazon.



Egypt – a timeline – ancient to modern

Egypt’s history spans an amount of time so immense it’s head-spinning.  I remember as a sixteen year old, on my first visit to Cairo, looking up at the Great Pyramid of Giza and finding it impossible to get my brain to compute a passage of something like four-and-a-half thousand years.

Frankly, I have the same problem today.  On a Nile cruise, it’s typical to see monuments spanning at least fifteen centuries, from the ‘old timers’ like Karnak through to the relative ‘newbies’ such as Philae.

Trying to sort them into some sort of chronology is no easy task.  As an author (of the series following Meredith Pink’ Adventures in Egypt) it’s important I’m accurate about the age of the ancient monuments relative to each other.  So, primarily to keep it all straight in my own head, but also to help travellers to the land of the pharaohs, and those with an interest in Egypt but – like me – no scholarly background … I’ve had a go at producing a timeline.  Here’s the result …




On location in Luxor

Luxor in Egypt provides the setting for my books following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  I’ve stayed many times in Luxor.  It’s a kind of open air museum.  All the key sites are within easy travelling distance, on either the East Bank (where most of the modern hotels are located) or the West Bank of the Nile.

Some of those who’ve been kind enough to write reviews of my books – and have obviously travelled to Egypt themselves – have said the books bring back great memories for them.  Egypt really is a place once visited, never forgotten.

For those of you who may not have been lucky enough (yet ?!) to travel to the magical land of the pharaohs, here’s a short video I put together.  It’s my take on some of the most impressive historical sites Luxor has to offer.

I haven’t yet used all these archaeological sites as settings for scenes in my books.  And there are a few locations I haven’t included in this video.  The Ramesseum for one, and the Temple of Seti I – both located on the West Bank.

That’s the whole thing about Egypt … there’s so much to see … so much history.  It’s hard to know what to include and what to leave for another time …

And it keeps drawing me back.

Fiona Deal

What sparked my enduring fascination with Egypt?



img230Ok, so here I am aged 16  with the ram-headed sphinxes at Karnak.  It’s October 1983.  I’m on my half-term break.  I’m in Egypt with my parents and younger brother, on the cheap, courtesy of my dad working for an airline and qualifying for concessionary travel.

Cute red pixie shoes, huh?  It took me almost thirty years to actually start writing adventure stories about the land of the pharaohs.  Yet the fascination was sparked back then.  Why?

Perhaps something in the light quality?  It’s a soft pink in Egypt – you can kind of see it in the sky in the photo as it fades to the distance.  I think this has something to do with the quantities of sand and dust in the atmosphere, and so little rain.  Whatever, it makes for some of the most spectacular sunsets on earth.  And a filmy haze over everything that’s like looking at everything in soft-focus.  There’s something very romantic about light quality I think.

Then there’s the immense SCALE of everything.  Standing on the giza plateau and craning up at the great pyramid.  Likewise in Karnak, dwarfed by the columns in the Hypostyle Hall.  How did they do it without modern equipment and engineering?  Was it spacemen?  As a teenager, this was an intriguing thought!

And, of course, the history.  Stepping into the thick, stifling atmosphere of a centuries-old tomb that looks as if the artisans laid down their paint-pots just yesterday.  Learning from the guide that they got light into the depths of their ancient sepulchres while they were carving and decorating them by reflecting the sun from great sheets of electrum at the tomb entrance.  True?  Possibly – not sure if it was really electrum !  But the guides demonstrated it ably enough with a metal biscuit tin.

Standing inside Tutankhamun’s tomb … gawping at the sarcophagus that still contained the remains of the boy king …  Trying unsuccessfully to grapple with the unimaginable period of time – thirty-or-so centuries – that he’d been there.

Or perhaps it was the weird and wonderful stories about the pharaohs and their queens themselves.  Did Ramses II REALLY have more than two hundred children, some by his own daughters?  It was a thought to make me squirm – standing alongside my own father listening to the guide.  Were brothers and sisters REALLY married to each other?  I remember looking at my fourteen year old brother and thinking ‘ugh’.

So somehow, it’s all larger than life, a little bit Hollywood, and desperately mysterious and intriguing.  Nowhere like it on earth !  It reached out and grabbed me.  More than thirty years later it shows no sign of letting go.