Title: Cobra Kingdom
Author: Michael A. Mattia
Genre: Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery, Suspense, and a bit of Fantasy set during the 18th Dynasty in Ancient Egypt
About the Book:
During the 18th Dynasty in Egypt, King Amenhotep III ruled (1386 to 1349 BC) along with his Great Royal Wife, Tiye. Amenhotep’s only son, Thutmose nicknamed Mose by the Pharaoh, along with his chariot instructor were ambushed by unknown assailants and left for dead. When Mose disappears the beginning of a great evil dawns over the Empire and the belief of deadly magical cobras playing a part. While the Nile River delivered life sustaining water and fertile soil throughout the Kingdom, it started to also deliver death, young pregnant concubines were washing ashore. Tiye’s father, YUYA, a principal advisor to the King, investigates and suspects the women are casual sex partners of the Pharaoh. Someone in the palace wants to eliminate these mothers before an infant is born and becomes the heir apparent.
The story includes the origin of the ancient Kingdom, inception of the Creator stories, detailed preparations of royal wedding feasts, the operation of the Women’s House, and military horse and chariot training. It is Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery and a bit of Fantasy.
In ancient Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty 1386-1353 BCE, King Amenhotep III ruled. His reign was a period of unprecedented prosperity and artistic splendor and all firmly believed a satisfied balance of life called Ma’at to be a treasured gift from the gods.
They believed their myriad of deities saw everything and punished accordingly … and all affected Ma’at. As the gods watched a terrible scene was taking place.
A small bald head pierces through an undulating
sea of sturdy golden stalks of wheat. Her skin black as the soil beneath her feet. Her head shifts upwards presenting a youthful round face and matching puffy cheeks bracketing a small broad nose. Six days prior, this young woman joined a party of similar dressed women and men, all peasants from various neighboring villages … a contingent of unskilled labor … harvesting the ripened crop.
Her bald head rotates side-to-side shifting wide open chestnut colored eyes outlined with scraggly black lines of eye makeup produced from an ore—a compound of lead and sulfur. The substance is de rigueur for males and females, not for fashion but to protect eyes by absorbing the blazing rays of the sun. Left, and right glances with an intervening pause to listen for movement convinces the youth the area is clear of intruders.
The androgynous face moves forward to reveal a slim round neck atop rounded shoulders. Her long arms part the wheat stalks as even longer legs stride forward. Wide linen shoulder straps drop down over nipples then expand into a linen shift which descends to mid-thigh. The dress, fluid body movement and the hint of breast development confirm she is a young woman.
Her short slow steps allow her gaze to search the soil for clusters of gilded berries, the rough husks hold precious grains of emmer wheat, which days prior perched atop each stalk. The young teen had been part of a harvest labor force several days prior. A male, carrying a scythe, walked down a row of wheat cutting a cluster of berries and flipped them over his shoulder to the female carrying a wicker basket. As the cutter tired, his wrist flick drifted off target forcing the girl to shift wide to catch the berries. As his wrist grew strained his toss veered forcing her to dive into harvested stalks.
A veteran of many harvests and devout pupil of devious tricks, the young lady took advantage of every lunge which shielded her from the cutter’s view to drop valuable berries onto the ground from where she can snatch them later. Today she returns to these fields to gather her ill-gotten treasure. I should have at least fifty clusters along here I can trade for a rarely used dress.
The omnidirectional sound of hoof beats cascading down from the heavens was a noise she
heard before. Soldiers on maneuvers? Not this time of day. Maybe nothing to be concerned about.
Several seconds pass and the sound of muffled rhythmic beats grew louder. The origin a bit clearer and flowing from the south, where the end of the wheat field intersects the stone road to the city.
Her mind races … Wooden wheels, a cart? Both prolific during harvest. An overseer of the crops, checking if any buds, like mine, were missed? The thought of an overseer returning to check for missing berries like the ones she had hidden creates a surge of fear and prompts a terrible memory. Visions of an overseer who discovered a young man hiding berries, and the thrashing delivered left the boy unable to walk for days.
I cannot let that be me. She falls to her hands and knees, rolls onto her right side, and grasps both knees pulling them to close to her chest secured by her chin. Shivers of fear pulse throughout her small body, as she inhales and holds her breath until certain who operates the cart.
After what seems an endless pulse of rapid heartbeats, a grey and white horse hauling a sanded brown chariot appear in her sight. Two men, a young man in front, and an older man with white-knuckled grips on the side rails. Thoughts ran through her head … Royals mainly use a chariot, and I am in the Pharaoh’s field unassigned. Now I am in real trouble.
About the Author:
I am 67 years old and Cobra Kingdom is my first novel. I had a 40 plus year career in workplace safety and OSHA compliance and published several dozen article and a dozen training videos. BA from University of Maryland and MBA from St. Thomas University.
Social Media Link:
Only social media is with Facebook, www.facebook.com/michael.mattia.77