Tag Archives: Ancient Egypt

Book Blitz: ‘Cobra Kingdom’ by Michael A. Mattia

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.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Excerpt:

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

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Book Review: ‘Amarna Book I: Book of Ida’ by Grea Alexander

Title: Amarna Book I: Book of Ida: A fictional interpretation of the true events that took place in Ancient Egypt & Hattusa before & after Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s death

Published: 29th April 2017

Publisher: SeaMonkey Ink LLC

Author: Grea Alexander

 

Blurb:

Did the Amarna line really end with King Tut’s Death? 

Ancient Egypt: 1324 BC

The last living male descendant of the Amarna line, Pharaoh Tutankhamun, has died suddenly under mysterious circumstances. His wife, Queen Ankhesenamun, is left without a male heir. The ambitious vipers, Ay and Horemheb, are nipping at her heels in their bid to seize power.

Queen Ankhe has but one hope to maintain her hold on the throne – an alliance with the Hittites. With Ay and Horemheb watching her every move, there is only one person she can trust to save her and her line – a girl, a slave – Ida.


Amarna is a ridiculously, historically accurate drama set in Ancient Egypt, Hattusa & Syria that is centered around the strange but true events surrounding the battle for the throne of Egypt following Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s death and the interconnected events that took place in the Hittite empire.

It includes an end matter feature that details what did and didn’t really happen (at least as far as historians believed at the time it was written).

 

Review:

A fictional interpretation of what life was like around the time of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Exploring his early life and love along with what occurred just before and after his death to those closest to him.

Love all things Egyptian so found this tale interesting to see how the author created a new version of events loosely linked to what really happened around that time. Not too much detail given on the world as a whole but more closely following the love and heartache that follows the forbidden romance of Ida and her Tutankh. When they were both younger they could dream of the possibility of being together. A childhood love that stayed close in her heart. But things changed when his father Akhenaten died, and he married Ankhesenamun, becoming the new Pharaoh. A Pharaoh and a slave could never be, well not publically that is.

Everything comes to a head when Pharaoh Tutankhamun dies in mysterious circumstances. With no male heir the thrown is in danger of being claimed by those that would do more harm than good by wanting to erase all mention of Akhenaten and his family line from Egypt’s history. Queen Ankhesenamun’s only hope is a new alliance with the Hittites by marrying one of the king’s sons but to get the message to him she needs to send her slave Ida in secret. She knows others will be watching but trusts no one else. You may think this is because she likes her but let’s just say after you read some of the things she put Ida through you think she can have what’s coming her way.

Ida begins on this perilous journey where danger falls on her from many sides. It’s through her journey that we learn more from her memories about her past with Tut and what the secret she carries could mean. Even though you know she travels long distances the ‘getting there’ parts aren’t really written. Makes it almost seem like each place is sort of the same. Perhaps describing more of the locations – the Nile, Valley of the Kings, landscapes surrounding her while travelling etc – would have given it a more realistic feel to what she went through on her journey. Might have also shown how tensions between places and people arose, and why. It’s these tensions that could spell danger for Egypt, and Ida too if she doesn’t find someone to trust soon.

Ends on a bit of a cliffhanger note where you have to wonder whether what Ida is shown is truly real or not. Interesting historical fantasy read that I enjoyed.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Daughter of the Sun’ by Zoe Kalo

Daughter of the Sun

Title: Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat Book 1)

Published: 1st April 2016

Author: Zoe Kalo

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Zoe-Kalo

Twitter: @zoekalowriter

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew.

But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities.

Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

CULT OF THE CAT – Series Blurb

According to ancient Egyptian prophecy, three feline goddesses—Bastet, Sekhmet, and Mafdet—would one day be reborn as triplets during a solar eclipse.

But someone—or something—separated them at birth. Because if ever they were reunited, they would unleash a blistering power that could destroy the world.

In an adventure where the past confronts the present, and blood, betrayal and secrets abound, the triplets face each other for the first time. And discover they’re the only force able to stop the evil god Apophis from enslaving humanity.

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2016 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a beautiful cover. If you like cats, Ancient Egyptian mythology and history, mystery and intrigue then this is the book for you. Luckily I like all the above so this was a great book for me to get stuck into.

Trinity has grown up in a convent all her life after being abandoned as a newborn on its steps. She doesn’t like to see the cruelty of others and can be very hot headed, so when she sees the convent bully tormenting a cat, one that she’s come to like, she goes right over to sort her out. Talking doesn’t work though so she ends up punching her in the face; the cat gets a few scratches in too! Unfortunately for her though the nuns just happened to come back out at that moment and not before when Beth was pulling a cord around the cats neck. She is called in to see Mother Superior and goes straight on the offensive to explain what really happened not realising that’s not why she was called in. A strange feeling comes over her before she notices another woman in the room. She gets a shock when she finds out the reason behind her being there. She has a grandmother Margaret, one who has been looking for her for years and now wants her to come home. A sense of malevolence is coming from the messenger Dr Nassri though but she has no reason behind where it is coming from – yet! Before she leaves, only when they are alone, Mother Superior gives her a letter that was left with her as a baby. Something she feels she needs to keep secret and safe for it holds a mystery. Now she has to leave almost straight away. She is excited and a little scared but more than anything she doesn’t want to leave her best friend Brianna behind. She is a little hurt that Brianna isn’t there when she gets in the limo to say goodbye but gets a pleasant surprise when the cat she had saved earlier – soon to be called Slugger – jumps in with her, Brianna might be closer than you think. She is thinking there is no chance she can keep her until Dr Nassri says ‘What’s one more’. She only understands this when she gets to the island. It’s called the Island of Cats and is full of them. They outnumber humans 3 to 1 I think, definitely only an island for those who love cats – dog lovers I think will have to get your own island.

Trinity’s first impressions of the island are that of beauty from the scenery and its people – well that is right up to before a guy on a jet ski goes past splashing water all over her. All she wants to do now, other than dry off, is talk to her grandmother. She needs answers but doesn’t get what she was expecting. Her grandmother is very sick; something she thinks she can help with from one of her many personal mysteries she has carried for years. Her grandmother does get to speak to her but only for a moment and only long enough for her to tell Trinity that the three of them must work together. Trinity has no idea what that is meant to mean and other than a ring her grandmother passes over to her she doesn’t know what to think. Deep in the first night there she decides to try and get back into see her grandmother to see if she can heal her only to be stopped by Dr Nassri – who seems to appear as if from nowhere after Trinity sees what looks to be an outline of a big black cat. The news is bad when she wakes in the morning though as she fines her grandmother has died.

With her grandmother gone she fears she will never get the answers she seeks. But being an inquisitive person it doesn’t take long before she starts looking for the answers herself. Along the way she gets help from her ‘cousin’ Ara. She might come off as stuck up to begin with but it’s just a front. Once she gets to know her she realises she isn’t the only one who has been kept in the dark all her life.

There seems to be only one distraction for Trinity, slowing her down from finding out what is happening to her and what is going on with the islands secrets. And that comes in the form of Seth – the boy who happened to soak her with the jet ski her first day there. She is drawn to him in a way foreign to her from being so sheltered within the walls of the convent. She wants to be near him at first but when she finds out about a curse in her family line she knows she needs to keep her distance to keep him safe. It’s easy in theory but harder in real life.

With more secrets coming to life and hidden passageways showing a darker side of someone and the island itself, it’s not just the festival Ara and her need to worry about it might be their lives. The longer Trinity spends on the island the more she starts to understand it, and her families, past. It will also bring out more questions though – like ‘why am I acting like a cat?’ Great story to keep you intrigued right to the end, loved all the Ancient Egyptian mythology and history told throughout (I even remembered quite a bit of it from another book I had read ‘Lost Voices of the Nile’, shows something stuck!) and leaves it open for a good start to the rest of the series which I will want to check out.

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4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Lost Voices of the Nile’ by Charlotte Booth

9781445642857

Title: Lost Voices of the Nil: Everyday Life in Ancient Egypt

Published: 15th August 2015

Publisher: Amberley Publishing

Author: Charlotte Booth

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Charlotte-Booth-Egyptologist

Twitter: @nefercharlie

Synopsis:

When we think of ancient Egypt, we think of the gods, the pharaohs and the pyramids. However, life for the average Egyptian was very different from this glorious perception and was not so unrecognisable from the lives we live today.

This book tells the history of the ordinary population of ancient Egypt, using the stories of real people – often strange, at times amusing and ultimately very recognisable. Booth introduces us to a number of fascinating people, including Taimhotep, who married a man twice her age and turned to the god Imhotep to help her to conceive a son; Naunakhte, who disinherited her children for neglecting her in her old age; Kenhirkhopshef, a man seemingly obsessed with making lists; and Paneb, the ‘bad boy’ of Deir el-Medina. History is made up of people and personalities, and each of these characters has a story to tell.

 

Review:

Quirky, well researched, interesting read and goes down as another off my 2015 Reading Challenge – A non-fiction book.

So much has been packed into this book with each section easily accessible. Good that there was a map at the beginning so when different areas were talked about you had an idea of where they were in relation to each other – also shows the distance some would have travelled to go from one settlement town to another.

The images inside of Deir el-Medina – which seems to be the main place spoken about throughout – show just how vast the area they lived in was. From just looking at the remains that are left you can get a feel for what it was like in its day, and that it would have been quite an imposing area to live in.

Many aspects of the Ancient Egyptians lifestyles are very similar to our own, showing that sometimes the old ways are the best. Took me a little longer to read than your everyday fiction book but I think that was due to the amount of information being given and letting it all sink in. I do love finding out about the history of the Ancient Egyptians and will always watch a documentary on the subject whenever there is one on TV as I find their way of life in general fascinating.

There were many interesting facts that I picked up along the way throughout this book that stuck with me from either being a little bizarre and quirky or just fascinating in seeing how aspects of the Ancient world still play a part in today’s society.

Passing the Time chapter – They seemed to have their own version of our present day Gladiators competitions where two men would try and knock each other down with polls. Only difference is that they were on boats, rather than podiums, on the River Nile and they would have to knock the other into the water, only then would they win. There was however a side of danger with this sport, once in the Nile there could be a high chance of being eaten by a crocodile or if your opponent got a bit too competitive they could harm you while trying to knock you down with the pole.

Household Religion chapter – The Ancient Egyptians had many gods and it is surprising how the stories go with how many times they could die and be reborn – usually being made out of clay. The story of Isis, Nephthys, Osiris and Seth is the main focus in this chapter and it goes round quite a few times with who dies and comes back. So much so that I did have to re-read to make sure I followed the correct path they were taking.

Love, Sex and Marriage chapter – I have to say the dream interpretations that they had for the very wide rarity of dreams they could have were just brilliant. They were very different between whether you were male or female. For a man to dream he is having intercourse with either his mother or sister this is good (friends will stay close or he will inherit something) whereas if he dreams he is having sex with his wife in the sun this is bad (maybe it’s the whole in the sun bit rather than being with their wife but either way the gods will see his miseries if he does). For a woman they are that much stranger. If she is dreaming that she is married to her husband she will be destroyed and if she embraces him she will experience grief. Then there are a few about if an animal has intercourse with them and if this happens mostly she will be either punished or is likely to die soon. The interpretations between the sexes is very different and you have to wonder whether they were thought up by men or women – either way I think most women at the time would have been wise to keep quiet about what they were dreaming about.

Childhood chapter – Adulthood started so much sooner for the children of Ancient Egypt than it would today, they were barely in their teens before they would be put to work. The boys would, more often then not, follow in their father’s footsteps and the girls would start to take on more roles within the family household. This did not stop them from having fun and playing games just like children of today though, only difference is that it did not last as long.

Working for a Living chapter – The everyday jobs that existed at the time are what you would expect them to be – farmers, labourers, scribes, priesthood and being in the military – where they were usually paid in food rations or with goods rather than with money. But the one I found most interesting was that women could become professional mourners. It appears that women of the deceased’s family would not be able to show their grief in public as it would be ‘considered unseemly’, so they would hire professional mourners to show their grief in their place. Most professions would be past down from father to son, mother to daughter, so it would seem if you didn’t like what your parents did for a living you didn’t have many options of what you could, or more likely would, be doing.

Overall a very informative read that isn’t too heavy to get through so if you are interested in what the everyday life of the Ancient Egyptians was really like then check it out.

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4 out of 5 stars

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