Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fact in Fiction - Part 5 of 5


The Nile Conspiracy
Book 5 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab Series



Love the cover (if I say so myself). It’s part of an original photograph taken in Morocco’s desert by Canadian poet Jim Bennett. 
(Do check out Mr. Bennett's wonderful poetry here)
I approached Jim if I might use part of it for The Nile Conspiracy’s cover as it so aptly portrayed Egypt’s fight for water. He generously granted me the rights.

The main gist of the novel centers around the (real) Grand Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam – and Egypt’s grave and most real concern about the Blue Nile (from where the country receives 85% of its water). Could the Nile downstream turn into a trickle once the gargantuan dam reservoir starts to fill (supposedly taking up to five years). In the novel, Egypt sets out “to do something” about it with the "help" of one of my bad boys, Vergil. (Hopefully NOT to become a reality).

Read "An Interview with A Pirate" here on this blog:



Check out an Excellent BBC YouTube clip about the Nile’s Journey, entitled:
The Grand Renaissance Dam| Why Egypt Will Go To War with Ethiopia

When I stumbled upon the idea of using the Dam in my novel, it was supposed to be opened in 2016. I never imagined that it would become such a controversial project for Ethiopia, Egypt and the Sudan.
In July, Ethiopians were in shock and in a state of disbelief following the tragic death of Semegnew Bekele, chief engineer of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam who oversaw the multi-billion dollar dam project. Officially, his death was ruled a suicide due to mounting pressure about the dam’s delays and cost overruns. There is also an unconfirmed belief that he was murdered. So sad. He was a good man and a dedicated engineer.

Interspersed in the book are many other trials and tribulations my protagonists (and their adversaries) must face – along with a treasure hunt through the real Lost Labyrinth of Egypt
 
While The Nile Conspiracy brings the Legends of the Winged Scarab series to an end, there might be a prequel about Ancient Crete – way before the Minoans. Following a prehistoric eruption of the volcano Thera, could those survivors have become the first Egyptians of 7000 years ago? We’ll just have to wait and see if this writer can get off her ... well, you know.
For now, however, I hope your curiosity was peaked to pick up some of these historical fiction and adventure novels  which are best read in sequence, especially Books 2-5.

And – wait for it - around Thanksgiving, Sirocco is on Sale for only 99 cents. Further, you’ll get Edward, Con Extraordinaire, for FREE (this California charmer buys himself a pith helmet and blithely shows up in Sirocco – much to my protagonists ennui (to put it mildly).
 


 Check out the entire series starting with Book 1, in Khamsin's Ancient Egypt, to modern-day adventures in Books 2-5.



Monday, October 29, 2018

Fact in Fiction - Part 4 of 5


The Crystal Curse 
(Book 4 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab series).


Sailing around the island of Malta on their way from the Canary Islands to Crete, my protagonists must skirt a real  number of oil rigs surrounding this historically significant island. They are often towed through busy shipping channels creating hazards to transiting vessels (yes, there is an incident in the book).
  -- Remember the Malta Conference held January 30 to February 3, 1945 between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill planning a final campaign against the Germans. They also agreed on the undesirability of the Red Army pushing into Central Europe.
-- This was followed by the Yalta Conference in Crimea (February 4–11, 1945), between Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Premier Joseph Stalin, divvying up war-torn Europe by demanding the unconditional surrender of Germany, and other then-secret agreements.



In The Crystal Curse, once again, the new leaders of the supervolcano-devastated world plot on Malta, with China and South America in the fore. Here, I touch on the island-building fortifications by the Chinese on and around the hotly disputed Spratley Islands in the South China Seas.
If you think "well, that's far away," think again. This YouTube video may just tell us of how China ramps up its island-building for military purposes.
 
But mostly, together with my “goodies and baddies,” we explore the dangers and wonders of the Lost Labyrinth of Egypt near Hawara in the Fayum. The complex is deemed to predate Egypt's Old Kingdom by thousands of years.

This ancient underground maze was off-limits to researchers, and until something huge was proven by ground-penetrating laser,  the Egyptian Government largely denied its existence. Were they hiding something sinister or too valuable for it to be explored? 
Here a brief excerpt from an interesting article:
  "The labyrinth is said to be an extraordinary underground complex which could hold the key to mankind’s history. ... there, we could find details about unknown civilizations in history, great empires, and rulers that lived on the planet before history as we know it began."
 
 But back to the fiction in The Crystal Curse: 

 Will Naunet and Jonathan escape with their lives as the Curse of El-Hanash, the Crystal Snake, seems to befall all who enter the Lost Labyrinth.


Excerpt:

One by one, the heavy tablets were handed down the dangling starboard gangway and lifted into the A&N’s impressive captain’s launch. Hovering on the upper steps were an anxious Lorenzo and a very jittery Jabari. Despite both men suspecting they had lost their own claim to ownership of the ancient gold, every time the launch’s bumpers clanged against the small bobbing platform, the two men winced.
“Are you sure we’re doing the right thing?” 
Jabari adopted a conspirator’s tone. “What if he sails off in the middle of the night with our gold?”

“In the middle of the night, you and I will be on the A&N.” 
Lorenzo’s mood had turned as dark as the ominous haze bunching up on the southern horizon. “

 As soon as we’ve loaded the last of this lot, I want you to get my group together to be ferried on over.” By his group, he meant himself and Edward, as well as Jabari, Zahra, and Aziz. Cheryl and a more than reluctant Naunet made up the rest to spend the night on the Russian mega-yacht.
 Lorenzo pulled the two crystal halves from his pocket and handed them to Jabari.
“Here. Before we leave, have Browning glue these back together. And make sure the Wilkins woman knows her hocus-pocus. If I can’t persuade Alexei this thing has special powers, we’ll all be taking a long swim.”
* * *