Friday, December 7, 2012

Edward, Con Extraordinaire

Edward, Con Extraordinaire, is a dreamboat of a man to every middle-aged woman he courts. While he never directly asks for anything, gifts are bestowed upon him. He lives well, drives a racy Jaguar, and charms and entertains new lady-friends with panache--mostly on their money. And he always has a Plan-B, as he skips easily from one benefactress to the next--mostly around San Diego and its well-shod neighboring La Jolla.

Take Betsy, for instance. After sipping a bit more of her heady Chardonnay, the smitten Mrs. Bunting hits upon a brilliant idea. Would he take her ill husband’s place on a prepaid Egypt tour? In a strictly platonic sense, of course.

That week, the dapper Edward Guernsey-Crock, Esquire, reads several guide-books on Egypt (he told Betsy he was familiar with Cairo). Then he buys himself a pith helmet.

We encounter him again in Sirocco, Storm over Land and Sea, as he bedazzles Dr. Naunet Klein, a beautiful Egyptologist on a research mission in Egypt.

A Review from the Kindle Book Review Team:

4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Romp with a Cad, January 29, 2013
By Jim Bennett (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As always, don't just count stars. This is a lighthearted story of a hardhearted con man, cad, almost-womanizer. Edward is introduced quickly and effectively in the first short story. Eight smoothly connected short stories follow, one or more for each victim; and an ambiguous conclusion. Borg has cleverly left the door open for further exploits of Edward, in additional books.
The writing is good, the language sophisticated, but I didn't need Google, so if your vocabulary is roughly equal to mine, you'll get pretty much everything right off. Okay, I did have to look up `lazy jacks', but I could have guessed and been OK, and real sailors would know. The women are gullible, but I found their being conned quite believable. Edward really is a s..t, but a smooth and clever and manipulative one. He cons everyone: police, car dealers, locksmiths, everyone. Only one person in the story sees through him at once, and her advice is muted and ignored.
If you're waiting for the tiny carps, there aren't any.
Usually in a review I include memorable quotes, but not this time: I don't want to spoil surprises for you. While Borg is not (yet) William Faulkner, and will not hurt your head too much, she may make you think, perhaps to wonder if you've ever been conned, or if you could con like this. In Edward, Con Extraordinaire, you will find a fun story, very enjoyable. If you like a sort-of romance, sort-of (very light) social commentary, and keen personal insights, you will get pleasure from this book. The writing is very smooth, very intelligent. Another good tale from Inge H. Borg. Definitely Recommended.

Jim Bennett (Kindle Book Review Team member)


Thursday, December 6, 2012

SIROCCO, Storm over Land and Sea

Sirocco, Storm over Land and Sea,
is a present-day thriller with tie-ins to the historical fiction saga
Khamsin, The Devil Wind of The Nile.

Egyptologist Naunet Klein and her two scientist colleagues arrive in Cairo to assist museum director Dr. Jabari El-Masri in deciphering golden tablets inscribed with dire predictions from an unknown ancient culture predating the Egyptians. The tablets are a translation done by the First Dynasty High Priest of Ptah, Ramose.

She never dreamed that she would meet a handsome stranger. Nor had she and her two colleagues expected to be embroiled in Egypt’s political upheaval, and an audacious theft that culminates in kidnapping and murder. But a thousand pounds of gold bring out the worst in those dealing with illicit ancient treasures.

During a perilous sailing trip from the Red Sea to Crete, Naunet learns the truth not only about the charming Edward Guernsey-Crock, but also about the ancient writings. Time is running out.
Will the Legends of the Winged Scarab become a devastating reality?

Excerpt from SIROCCO, Storm over Land and Sea, by Inge H. Borg

“During the war, the British imprisoned General Aziz El-Masri who was then Commander of the Egyptian Army. If better luck had been on his side, he would have liberated my country from its dictator, the Germans, as well as the British.”
“Any relation of yours?”
The answer was a shoulder shrug.
Jonathan pressed on. “Did the general survive the war?”
“Evidently,” El-Masri suddenly grinned. “I was born in forty-seven.”
Bill cleared his throat. “What are you planning to do, Jabari. You do realize that you have practically kidnapped us, which has the makings of an international incident, I might add. And I assume this plane is still the property of the Egyptian military, or at least of whoever claims to be the leader of your government these days. And once the existence of all these tablets becomes public knowledge, no doubt they will be classified as national treasures. So, it comes to mind—forgive me for pointing this out—that you are about to steal both.”
“Steal? Steal!” The Egyptian jumped to his full five-foot seven-inch height. As the Americans were seated, he towered over them, all indignation and spitting rage.
“You dare to call me a thief, when your woman abscondered with my Saqqara tablets!”
“My woman did not steal anything,” Jonathan exploded trying to jump up as well but failed, being hemmed in by the table and by Bill.
“Let me correct you, my young interferer.”
“Now hold on.” Bill was turning red himself now.
“No! You hold on. The world has been stealing from Egypt forever. They all came supposedly to explore and study. And then went back home with loot from our ancestors crammed into their lorries. Shiploads of sacred mummies, carted off to Europe for fertilizer. Fertilizer!”
“Mummified cats, I think,” Jonathan dared. A jab from Bill, and a scornful look from The Pharaoh made him retreat deeper into the hard seat.
“You cannot really believe that the likes of your glorified Carters and Champollions did not take whatever they wanted before leaving us the pittance of their finds. The British, the Germans, the French and, oh, let us not forget the Americans. What they did not damage and destroy, they grabbed with both hands. And now, that I have discovered the most incredible writings since the Rosetta Stone.”
Jonathan squirmed. This was not the time to point out Jean Fran├žois Champollion’s ground-breaking contribution to Egyptology.
“But now, my own people aim to steal from me. They have stolen before. Yes, I admit, I was forced to make some deals. Negligible objects, of course. What was I to do? To go against those in power would have been suicidal. The secret buyers came in droves.
“The Japanese in their private jets. The South Americans, mooring their ostentatious yachts off Alexandria. Too much money, and no respect. All they wanted was to squirrel away our antiquities in their private collections.
“And now this! My own people ordering me to melt down these tablets to finance their corrupt campaigns. People who assume that they are the next president.
“Such blasphemy! I cannot let this happen. I will save these treasures for Egypt. They are my heritage. They are,” the Egyptologist paused, seemingly exhausted. “They are my nemesis. I will safeguard them to the death.”
Stunned silence followed Dr. Jabari El-Masri’s impassioned testimony to his almost fanatical belief in his country’s glorious heritage. The man before them was neither a thieving scoundrel nor an uncaring zealot. He was through and through Egyptian. He was a world-renowned Egyptologist. And he was willingly endangering his professional credibility. Most likely he had already made personal sacrifices preserving the legacy of this awesome land of his. His whole life, he had painstakingly labored to unravel the enigma of a great bygone civilization, unequalled anywhere. The man standing before them was an Egyptian patriot who, in their eyes, now lived up to his name. It translated into Brave Egyptian.

The boats in SIROCCO:

The Valiant-40 cruising cutter on which Naunet was kidnapped by Karakurt Teryaki and Edward Guernsey-Crock, the "charming" Con Extraordinaire.

The "Bucanero," Lorenzo Domingo's mega-yacht (complete with the stolen Rembrandt and van Gogh paintings) to which the South American hoped to add the Ancient Golden Tablets.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

KHAMSIN, The Devil Wind of The Nile

KHAMSIN, The Devil Wind of The Nile, a historical novel, is an engrossing saga of intrigue, warfare and forbidden love in the colorful setting of the court of Egypt's First Dynasty King Aha – ca. 3080 BC. Complex main and subordinate characters come alive and are well delineated, as the briskly paced action evokes a violent, tumultuous epoch with attention to detail and cinematic presentation. The literate narrative of the book is divided into five major parts, with forty-three chapters, a poignant prologue, and a thought-provoking epilogue.

Meticulous research of ancient sites and the way of life of the early Nile dwellers lends authenticity to this pre-Pyramid, pre-Pharaoh era of the Two Lands. Select Egyptian words and the usage of ancient city names are made comprehensible within context as well as through appendices and a glossary.

Many compelling characters enliven KHAMSIN. At the center is Ramose, the powerful High Priest of Ptah, practically ruling his weakling King Aha. We cannot but dislike his insecure second consort, the whining Queen Hent as she treats her willful step-daughter Nefret with disdain. Just as much as we have to adore the forever scolding Royal Nurse Amma who despairs at the clumsiness of the dark slave Dokki, but is rendered helpless by the impish pranks of her royal charge.

From the scheming Vizier Ebu al-Saqqara to Hanni, the bent Ostrich-Egg Gatherer, to Aha's military genius, Grand General Makari with his four powerful generals, we meet Ramose’s priests as well as Yadate (Yah-dah-tey), the spy from the Land of Punt (Ethiopia) who provides his beautiful supposed relative for General Barum's relaxation in the Kharga Oasis. Equally important to the action are Pase, a young Royal Archer, who loves Nefret’s companion-slave Safaga, but is unjustly killed by Nefret’s secret lover Tasar as "the messenger bearing bad news."

In the end, it is the Golden Tablets' disappearance during the raging Khamsin that left the door open for the modern-day sequel, SIROCCO, Storm over Land and Sea.

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Historical Novel Society -- Editor's Choice
Historical Novels Review, Quarterly Issue, August 2012
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue

Khamsin: The Devil Wind of the Nile - By Inge H. Borg

Borg’s exceptional novel Khamsin takes its name from the “devil wind” that ravages ancient Egypt for fifty days during the reign of King Aha, the second ruler of the First Dynasty (roughly 3080 B.C.). The Egypt of this setting is primordial even by Egyptian standards: this is a time before the Great Pyramids were built, and before the Sphinx.
But even in such an exotic setting, Borg adeptly demonstrates that some human passions never change – As the freak windstorm continues to rage, its turbulence is mirrored in the intrigues and battle scenes, the plight of queens and princesses, and the hopes of dozens of lesser (but still fully realized) characters.

Borg’s narrative structure is as supple as it is strong; this is a big book in every way (except in your luggage: it’s a well-designed e-book), sprawling, ambitious, and marvelously executed. It’s enthusiastically recommended.

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Excerpt from KHAMSIN, The Devil Wind of The Nile

... (Queen) Hent naturally aspired that (Prince) Dubar, the first of her issue, inherit the Two Land’s double crown despite (Princess) Nefret’s prior claim. When her time came to bear her child, Aha’s second queen made elaborate arrangements to have its royal afterbirth preserved. As soon as she issued forth her son, the bustling midwife scooped the bloody membrane into thick natron solution curing in a clay jar. Under the well-established Cult of the Royal Placenta, a protective birth sack was invested with exceptional powers as the royal placenta was placed in a special shrine. Upon ascension to the throne, the new ruler’s placenta was depicted on its own standard, to be carried aloft on ceremonial occasions. After death, this alter-ego was buried with the deceased.
Should the placenta, however, be damaged or destroyed, great disaster was foretold. Because of this belief, Hent entrusted no one with this twin-god of her royal son and decided that his urn should not stand unprotected in a temple. She would watch over it herself. She kept the delicate jar with its pickled membrane in her bedchamber. Sealed with beeswax, the jar was topped by an exquisitely wrought lid of yellow nub. Its own small stepped alcove became Hent’s premier place of worship. Dubar’s royal placenta had assumed the status of a god and each day, the mother implored another deity to bring her son good fortune and longevity.
One day, while the Khamsin raged and the two small royal children could not be taken into the courtyard to play, Hent again kneeled before this shrine. Dubar was crawling about behind her and Nefret, barely three, annoyed the queen by pinching her fleshy arm in an attempt to lend her unsteady legs support.
Dubar’s screams suddenly filled the hollow of the recess. The infant prince had stubbed his nose against a jutting corner of the alcove wall. In motherly haste, Hent jumped up to aid her howling son, shoving the clinging girl aside. Nefret tottered toward the low-stepped platform.
The tiny princess felt rejected. She was about to cry to regain the queen’s sympathies when a glitter caught her eye. Curious about everything, the child reached for the glowing top of the amphora and pulled it toward her.
The crash almost caused Hent to jettison her son from her comforting arms.
Aghast, she stared at the overturned amphora. Though it did not shatter, the beeswax seal split open. The lid clattered along the steps playing hop-scotch with itself. Like a lazy slug, a jellied mass escaped over the vessel’s delicate rim to slither down the steps, onto the reed-covered floor. Before the horror-stricken Queen could react, a yellow flash streaked past her legs. As it seeped into the woven mats, her own pampered hound slurped up her first-born’s quivering alter-ego.
“I never want to see that little monster again! Do you hear me!” The queen’s horse whisper turned a rushing Amma pale with concern for her beloved charge.
Hent’s face was as white as her wrapper and her pendulous breasts heaved. “Do you hear me,” she screamed at the mortified nurse. “And have that hound destroyed!”
No dog was ever seen again within the palace walls. Even the King was forced to leave his cherished hunting dogs in a kennel outside the royal compound. Hent insisted further that no dog would be buried in the royal tombs. Not with her, nor anyone connected with the royal family.
From that day on, Nefret was no longer allowed in the Queen’s wing.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Read More About My Titles Here:

I just re-published the Second Edition of
Moments of the Heart,
A Book of Poems and Prose,
both for Kindle and in Print (POD)

Why is this Title listed under the "Devil Winds?"

Well, there is a Hurricane in here as well as other ocean storms, so I thought it would fit well.

A Review:

Jim Bennett (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
Wait: don't let the three stars decide for you. This is an interesting and difficult work to rate. Maybe three point four nine nine nine stars. There is a wide range of material covering many situations. The human condition is explored in eleven prose pieces and twenty poems. Make that ten plus twenty one, as the opening prose piece is quite poetic, Summer's Last Wild Irises.
You will be in a train in Russia, a garden at MIT, a boat in San Diego area, on the Eiger, and on the edge of a small lake. There is sadness in some of the love poems, and hope sometimes too. This poet isn't afraid to make a little fun of herself as well, as in Pacific Ode. In Offshore Sailing you will find new and strong images. Other poems are quiet, gentle reflections of nature. There is social commentary in A Common Feast, which takes place in a laundromat, and in A Conversation Between Friends, which almost becomes an argument.
In this second edition six new prose pieces have been added, plus one new poem, and they are strong. In Hugo you will feel the terror of being at sea in that hurricane. Journey to Kiev has been edited, and I like this version even better. This story should be re-read to appreciate how cleverly the situations are set up, and the passion allowed to come through. At the end we feel the protagonist's regret, unforgettably caught up in a dream/nightmare train image, taking love away.
If I had to make a tiny carp it would be that, sometimes, the phrasing could have been smoother, and the rhymes, when present, were occasionally imperfect.
Conclusion: in Moments of the Heart, you are in for a strange and wonderful trip, a most interesting read. Many of the individual pieces are quite unique. This is a writer of wide range and strength. Recommended.
Jim Bennett, KBR Review Team member.

Visit me at my Author/Sales Pages:

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I also published these e-books as Paperback Editions through Amazon's CreateSpace, and they are now available as listed under the above profiles.

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Preparing the manuscripts and designing the covers to include front, back and spine was interesting, at times frustrating, but ultimately rewarding for this technical newbie.

But CreateSpace walks you through it, provides templates and clear instructions, as well as plenty of opportunity to proof the outcome. It's a great resource of us Indie Writers.

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Please, feel free to post a review of my modern-day thriller SIROCCO, Storm over Land and Sea on my page.

Also, please feel free to review my Ancient Egyptian saga KHAMSIN, The Devil Wind of The Nile on