HOLIDAY READING: NOVELS SET IN EGYPT



THE SCRIBES FROM ALEXANDRIA, set in Egypt Novels set in Egypt - what a great way to set the scene for your holiday in Luxor, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens!

Here are both bestselling authors - like Elizabeth Peters or Christian Jacq - and our own discoveries of great novels which feature Egypt in one way or another. (Yes, there is a lot of overlap!)

Most are your usual 'printed' books - for audiobooks please visit the special audiobooks section

You are welcome to tell us your favourite books featuring Egypt - even send us a brief review (telling us if you would like your name to appear with the review).



THE"AMELIA PEABODY" Murder Mysteries
- a series by Elizabeth Peters, set in Luxor, Egypt

Children of the StormElizabeth Peter's best-selling Amelia Peabody murder mystery novels

The Amelia Peabody murder mystery novels are set in Egypt - usually around Luxor. Fascinating, gripping and amusing, they are populated with archaeologists ('contemporaries' of Howard Carter) and a host of intriguing characters. A genuine Egyptologist (her real name is Dr. Barbara Mertz) and a spectacularly good novelist, she makes Egyptology fascinating to even the most reluctant historian! Under a third identity, Barbara Michaels, she writes gothic suspense novels.

The first in this long series of excellent Amelia Peabody Murder Mysteries set in Luxor was Crocodile On The Sandbank – and this is one series that really does benefit from reading in chronologcal order, so that you can get to know (and appreciate) Amelia's growing circle of family and friends. By the time you get to the exceptionally good Children of the Storm the multiplicity of characters would be hard to get to grips with and you would miss a lot of the sub text.

FALCO
arrives in Egypt!

ALEXANDRIA - the Marcus Didius Falco Mystery (set in Egypt), by Lindsey Davis ALEXANDRIA by Lindsey Davis (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries)

The recent Marcus Didius Falco Mystery has an Egyptian setting!

FALCO MYSTERIES

CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK by Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody Murder Mystery 1)

We first meet the inimitable Amelia en route to Egypt. She is clearly not the fainting kind of Victorian lady - and is not about to leave a travelling acquaintance (a destitute young woman abandoned by her lover) to the mercy of would-be kidnappers. The dangerous, parasol-wielding Amelia is impelled to unravel the puzzle of suspicious accidents and mysterious visitations - and to deal with assorted whirlwind romances, dastardly deeds and intrigue amongst the Egyptian excavations - all 're-told' with marvellous humour.

CHILDREN OF THE STORM

By the fifteenth book, Amelia's family is growing to include grandchildren - but the perilous missions undertaken by her son Ramses for British intelligence during the second world war mean that Amelia has to deal with a new adversary, unlike any she has previously encountered. Her beloved family is squarely set in the path of destruction.

I think these novels are even better as Audiobooks (when narrated by Barbara Rosenblatt) . She brings Amelia's tongue-in-cheek, self-parodying humour into brilliantly funny relief.

see more on the AUDIOBOOK FEATURE

THE CURSE OF THE PHARAOHS by Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody Murder Mystery 2)

The Curse Of The Pharaohs is a great follow up to the first Amelia Peabody story - there's no danger that having a baby will slow down Amelia! As one reviewer says, she still "insists on being flung head first into every crisis". Emerson and Amelia just can't keep away from Luxor - or each other! Amelia has a charmingly cheeky rather un-Victorian way of letting you know precisely how much she and Emerson 'enjoy' each other . . . Amongst the entertaining array of characters in 'The Curse Of The Pharaohs' are a few Elizabeth Peters has borrowed from Conan Doyle!

Two other murder mystery series written under the Elizabeth Peters pseudonym are the "Jacqueline Kirby" series and the "Vicky Bliss" series, as well as 'non-series' fiction.

Barbara Mertz / Elizabeth Peters: Special Features

Barbara Mertz is so popular - both under her own name and under her psuedonyms as a novelist, that we made special pages for you.

THE"SPQR" SERIES, by John Maddox Roberts

The ancient worlds of Egypt and Rome meet in the two"SPQR" books reviewed below. John Maddox Roberts' complex, multi-layered "SPQR" series is set in Ancient Rome, during the same period that the Ptolemies ruled in Egypt, and Alexander the Great made Greece great.

In allowing the hero, Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, to have rather 'modern western' world view (rather in the way Ellis Peters does with Brother Cadfael) John Maddox Roberts may offend some historical pedants, but succeeds in creating an accessible, appealing character who (like Lindsey Davis' fictional investigator, Marcus Didius Falco) doesn't put on any 'airs'.

The Temple of the Muses: Spqr IV by John Maddox Roberts THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSES: SPQR IV by John Maddox Roberts

Young Roman senator - and sleuth - Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, grabs the chance to join a delegation on a diplomatic mission to Alexandria, currently ruled by the first Ptolemy, Ptolemy Soter. A cult leader is exerting a disturbing influence, but Decius manages to behave rather like an enthusiastic tourist - until a mathemetician - a pupil of Archimedes - is murdered. The mortuary skills of Asclepiades, a Greek doctor, come in very useful, but Decius has failed to leave his enemies behind, and the web of deceit is more twisted - and far more extensive - than he could have imagined.

THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATES (SPQR) by John Maddox Roberts

Decius is in Cyprus to suppress the growing piracy of the region, but his resources are meagre.

The visiting Egyptian princess Cleopatra lends her support to his"toy navy" but he's still not gaining the upper hand, and the Roman governor of Cyprus is murdered. Is this tied up with the piracy - or does the criminal element go all the way to the top?

CHRISTIAN JACQ

Christian Jacq is another prolific novel-writing Egyptologist, whose books are set in ancient Egypt.

The Divine Worshipper</em> (Vengeance Of The Gods 2) by Christian Jacq The Ramses II Series THE DIVINE WORSHIPPER (Vengeance Of The Gods 2) by Christian Jacq (2008)

Best known are the five books about pharaoh Ramses II, which weaves true historical details into an epic tale of love, life and deceit.

THE DIVINE WORSHIPPER
528 BC. In a tormented Egypt, threatened both by the Greeks' over-mighty influence and the Persians' desire for conquest, the struggle for power has taken the form of a deadly conspiracy - and young scribe Kel finds himself unjustly accused of murder, the helpless scapegoat at the centre of a sinister Intrigue of State. As he strives to prove his innocence, the only person Kel can rely on is Nitis, the beautiful young priestess with whom he is deeply in love. But then Nitis vanishes, and Kel throws himself into a desperate quest to find her, his destiny and that of Egypt inexorably bound together. Will he survive long enough to uncover the truth, expose the conspirators and restore his good name? Nothing is certain. For when human beings choose to follow a path paved with violence and death, they cannot avoid the vengeance of the gods.

The first book in the 'Vengeance Of The Gods' trilogy is MANHUNT (Vengeance of the Gods 1) by Christian Jacq (2007)

THE JUDGE OF EGYPT TRILOGY: Beneath The Pyramid; 
Secrets Of The Desert; Shadow Of The Sphinx - by Christian Jacq THE JUDGE OF EGYPT TRILOGY in one volume: Beneath The Pyramid; Secrets Of The Desert; Shadow Of The Sphinx by Christian Jacq

The Temple of a Million Years: Vol. 2 (Ramses) by Christian Jacq THE"RAMSES" SERIES, by Christian Jacq

RAMSES: SON OF THE LIGHT: l (Ramses)

THE TEMPLE OF A MILLION YEARS: ll (Ramses)

LADY OF ABU SIMBEL: IV (Ramses)

See the entire THE"RAMSES" SERIES, by Christian Jacq

Traditional Egypt article about Christian Jacq:

read article: CHRISTIAN JACQ

RECENT CHRISTIAN JACQ BOOKS at Amazon
EARLY CHRISTIAN JACQ BOOKS at Amazon
CHRISTIAN JACQ at Amazon
RAMSES at Amazon

PAUL DOHERTY - AND HIS PSEUDONYMS

Paul Doherty writes historical mysteries set in the Middle Age, Classical, Greek, Ancient Egypt and elsewhere. He has used a variety of pseudonyms (see below)

Paul Doherty
and his 'Pen Names'

Track down more books by Paul Doherty at amazon - under his pseudonyms!

Writing as himself -
PAUL DOHERTY

Paul Doherty writing as
ANNA APOSTOLOU

. . . as C.L.GRACE

. . . as MICHAEL CLYNES

. . . as ANN DUKTHAS

. . . and as VANESSA ALEXANDER

SERIES FICTION by PAUL DOHERTY

Paul Doherty has embarked upon several series set in ancient Egypt: THE"AMEROTKE" MYSTERIES (the 'Ancient Egyptian Mysteries'), The Egyptian Pharaoh Trilogy and The Alexander the Great Mysteries - and others set in other times and other places.

The Poisoner of Ptah, by Paul Doherty THE"AMEROTKE" MYSTERIES THE POISONER OF PTAH (Ancient Egyptian Mysteries 6)

In the 7th"Amerotke" mystery, three of Egypt's leading scribes die violently on the Temple forecourt, a peace treaty signing between Egypt and Libya in Thebes. They have been the victims of a vile poisoning . . .

THE MASK OF RA, 1998 (Ancient Egyptian Mysteries 1)

THE HORUS KILLINGS (Ancient Egyptian Mysteries 2)

THE ANUBIS SLAYINGS (Ancient Egyptian Mysteries 3)

SLAYERS OF SETH (Ancient Egyptian Mysteries 4)

THE ASSASSINS OF ISIS (Ancient Egyptian Mysteries 5)

Paul Doherty's 'EGYPTIAN PHARAOH TRILOGY'

AN EVIL SPIRIT OUT OF THE WEST (Egyptian Pharaoh Trilogy 1)

THE SEASON OF THE HYAENA (Egyptian Pharaoh Trilogy 2)

THE YEAR OF THE COBRA (Egyptian Pharaoh Trilogy 3)

The"Alexander the Great Mysteries" by Paul Doherty

Paul Doherty writing as Anna Apostolov

A MURDER IN THEBES Anna Apostolov (aka Paul Doherty)

In this follow up to A Murder in Macedon (Mystery of Alexander the Great) , the city of Thebes has succumbed to Alexander the Great, and the days following are filled with murderous treason. Lysander and Memmon, Alexander's two favoured officers, have been killed by a dangerous spy, and Alexander's rule is precarious until he solves the dangerous riddle of Oedipus' crown.

Pseudonyms of Paul Doherty

Dr.Paul Doherty now writes only under his own name.

Early in his writing career he wrote The Katherine Swinbrook Mysteries As C.L.Grace

Under the pseudonym of Michael Clynes
he wrote The Sir Roger Shallot Mysteries - which all feature fancifully amusing titles as:
The White Rose Murders: Being the First Journal of Sir Roger Shallot Concerning Wicked Conspiracies and Horrible Murders Perpetrated in the Reign of King Henry VIII' (Michael Clynes Tudor Mysteries 1)
Roger Shallot's close friendship with Benjamin Daunbey, the nephew of Cardinal Wolsey, drags him into a web of mystery and murder, following the Scottish defeat at Flodden and the death of James IV. Moving between London and Scotland in 1517. The faceless assassin always leaves a white rose, the mark of 'Les Blancs Sangliers', a secret society plotting the overthrow of the Tudor monarchy. The only clue is a poem of riddles. Then it becomes clear that the riddles are linked inextricably with a series other gruesome murders.

Other titles in the Tudor Mysteries series are The Poisoned Chalice, The Grail Murders, A Brood of Vipers, The Gallows Murders and The Relic Murders

The Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelsan (as Paul Harding) and others as Ann Dukthas and as Vanessa Alexander

THE"LIEUTENANT BAK" MYSTERY SERIES, by Lauren Haney

Lauren Haney's investigator, Lieutenant Bak, commands the Medjay police in Buhen - a city in ancient Egypt.

A Cruel Deceit by Lauren Haney A CRUEL DECEIT by Lauren Haney

Everyone - sovereigns and supplicants, the pious and the proud - has poured into the capital city of Waset (Luxor) for the Feast of Opet, so Lieutenant Bak decides to break his journey too. But he is distracted from the revelry by the murder of a Hittite horse trader, his throat savagely cut. When further murders occur within the Temple of Amon, Bak eagerly agrees to aid in the investigation - a decision he will regret as he becomes embroiled in a terrifying conspiracy implicating the court of Queen Hatshepsut and brings down terrible repercussions on himself.

Elizabeth Peters says: "Haney's Egyptian police lieutenant is appealing, sympathetic and totally convincing in a setting drawn with skill."

LAUREN HANEY at Amazon

THE"MAMUR ZAPT MYSTERIES" by Michael Pearce

Mamur Zapt

Policing old Cairo is the job of the Mamur Zapt, Captain Owen - head of the Egyptian Khedive's Secret Police - and his patch includes the souks and bazaars of 1900s Eygpt.

"MAMUR ZAPT MYSTERIES" "THE MARK OF THE PASHA" - 'Mamur Zapt' Series, book 16 by Michael Pearce (Poisoned Pen Press, 2008)

A fascinating book with compelling characters. Unlike his British colleagues, Owen, the Mamur Zapt, works for the Khedive - and what was an uncomfortable position soon becomes downright dangerous as political, social and religious intrigue accellerate. His wife, Zeinab - a pasha's daughter - has troubles of her own. She is attempting to bring about much needed reform through her job as a hospital administrator - enraging traditionalists.

Large Print edition

MURDER HALF-BAKED: A MAMUR ZAPT MYSTERY (2008) by Michael Pearce

RECENT MAMUR ZAPT MYSTERIES at Amazon

MAMUR ZAPT MYSTERIES IN PUBLISHED ORDER
MICHAEL PEARCE NOVELS
MAMUR ZAPT AUDIOBOOKS
MICHAEL PEARCE - IN OUR AUDIOBOOKS FEATURE

Other Novelists writing about Egypt

hb 2007 black swan pb export hb 2007

NEFERTITI: THE BOOK OF THE DEAD by Nick Drake (2006)

Nefertiti and Akhenaten rule equally - but their 'enlightened' new religion (with its magnificent new capital in the desert) launches the society into revolution. Whilst the old priesthood loses its traditional power and turbulence on the country's borders unsettles the army, there's a growing resentment towards the new religion - and suddenly Egypt's glorious window-dressing of luxury and pleasure becomes merely a window-dressing disguising power struggles of epic proprotions.

Just before an important festival Nefertiti, the most powerful, charismatic and beautiful Queen of the ancient world, vanishes. Rahotep - 'Seeker of Mysteries' (and youngest chief detective of the Thebes division) has just ten days to find the Queen. Success will bring glory - but if he fails, he and his young family will die . . .

A brilliant and well researched literary thriller - dark and evocative

also see 'TUTANKHAMUN' by Nick Drake (2009)

THE SCRIBES FROM ALEXANDRIA, by Caroline Lawrence, 2008 THE SCRIBES FROM ALEXANDRIA (2008) by Caroline Lawrence (Orion Childrens)

A wonderful adventure for 8 - 12s starting in Romano-Egyptian Alexandria - site of the great lighthouse, the Library and the tomb of Alexander the Great - and leading them down the river Nile to pyramids and sphinxes, temples and tombs, crocodiles and hippos. Can the child detectives solve the codes, riddles, anagrams and hieroglyphics? And how will the journey end - with treasure - or death?

HORSES . . .

OUR HORSES IN EGYPT OUR HORSES IN EGYPT by Rosalind Belben (2008)

A superb novel - the story of Philomena, an undistinguished English hunting horse requisitioned by the British army in WW1 for service in Egypt and the parallel story of Griselda, her former owner, now a young war widow.
Click the link and read the reviews on amazon (towards the bottom of the page) - what more could I say?

(If you are interested in horses, be sure to visit the Brooke Hospital for Animals when you visit Luxor - and see "For the love of Horses" (below).

FOR THE LOVE OF HORSES: DIARIES OF MRS.GEOFFREY BROOKE

The story of the Brooke Hospital for Animals in Luxor, which was set up out of compassion for ex-cavalry horses.

ROSALIND BELBEN at Amazon

RABIH ALAMEDDINE

THE HAKAWATI by Rabih Alameddine THE HAKAWATI (Hardcover 2008) by Rabih Alameddine

From the dunes of ancient Egypt to the war-torn streets of 21st-century Lebanon, The Hakawati is 500+ pages of exuberant, humourous and ingenious storytelling - with plenty of surprises.

DUNCAN SPROTT - The Ptolemies Quartet

The Ptolemies Quartet THE PTOLEMIES QUARTET by Duncan Sprott

The Ptolemies Quartet is the epic, often scandalous, sometimes humourous and always spectacular story of the Greek Pharaohs of Egypt - twelve generations from the death of Alexander the Great to the fall of Cleopatra. Expect tragic queens, pampered mistresses and turbulent children, matricide, infanticide and various other murders, conquest, madness, royal intrigue, and incest . . .

HOUSE OF THE EAGLE: Book1 (Ptolemies Quartet) by Duncan Sprott

DAUGHTER OF THE CROCODILE: VOL 1 (Ptolemies Quartet)
DAUGHTER OF THE CROCODILE: VOL 2 (Ptolemies Quartet) by Duncan Sprott

Philandelphus, the Ptolemy of"Daughter of the Crocodile", fills his life with science, feasting and concubines. He largely ignores affairs of state - leaving things wide open for his sister (her life in ruins) to set about ousting his wife, marrying him herself and becoming the saviour of Egypt. A complex train of multiple murder ensues. Meanwhile the people of Egypt are planning revolution. Seshat, the Egyptian goddess of writing, the lady in the leopardskin dress, must write down their bloody history.

DUNCAN SPROTT at Amazon

WILBUR SMITH - The Egyptian Series

River God RIVER GOD by Wilbur Smith

Audiobook editions:

MP3 CD - Unabridged 1423328752 /   |   MP3 CD - Abridged  |   CD - abridged   |   CD - abridged   |   Tape Cassette - unabridged   |   Tape Cassette - abridged

Ancient Egypt is a kingdom built on gold and on a legend shattered by greed. Now, the Valley of the Kings lies ravaged by war, drained of its lifeblood as weak men inherit the cherished crown. When Lord Intef commits murder, the avenging son, Tanus, snatches the Lord's daughter. She is beautiful beyond her fourteen years; he, a proud, young army officer. Together with their mentor, Taita, a wise and formidably gifted eunuch slave, Tanus and Lostris stand in the city of Thebes at the Festival of Osiris, isolated from the excited crowd by their feeling that the Pharoah is only a symbol of a kingdom's fading glory. They share a dream: to restore the majesty of the River God, the 'Pharaoh of Pharaohs', on the glittering banks of the Nile.

THE SEVENTH SCROLL by Wilbur Smith, CD audiobook THE SEVENTH SCROLL by Wilbur Smith, Tape Cassette - abridged

THE SEVENTH SCROLL by Wilbur Smith

Audiobook / other editions:

CD - abridged   |   Tape Cassette - abridged

A follow up to River God - but you could read The Seventh Scroll as a stand-alone book.

When the tomb of Queen Lostris was discovered, the scrolls it contained stirred up murderous greed - as Duraid Ai Simmu and his beautiful wife Royan are now finding out. Their present-day search for the vast treasure buried with Pharaoh Mamose (as detailed on the scrolls) results in danger, death and misery. Can Royan find courage enough to discover what's behind it all, with the help of a treasure trail left 4,000 years ago by Taita?

Wilbur Smith at Amazon

BOOKS BY EGYPTIAN WRITERS

GAMAL AL-GHITANI has been awarded both the Egyptian National Prize for Literature, and the French Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In between, this energetic Egyptian novelist founded and became editor-in-chief of AKHBAR AL-ADAB (a literary Arabic weekly newspaper)

His first short story was published when he was 14. He was trained as a carpet designer, but wrote in his spare time, incured the wrath of the authorities for his critical commentary on the regime of Gamal Abd el-Nasser and was imprisoned for about 6 months. In 1969 he took up journalism with the Egyptian newspaper Akhbar El Yom ('The Day's News'). He is also married to a journalist. He writes widely - historical fiction, often set in Cairo, culture and politics, and helped to found the literary magazine"Gallery 68" and in recent years he has been the editor-in-chief of one of Egypt's primary literary magazines.

AWARD WINNING BOOKS

NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE
Naguib Mahfouz Cairo Trilogy Egypt's First Winner: Naguib Mahfouz

The books of Naguib Mahfouz are 'great reads' in the sense that Mahfouz won the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as Egypt's 'National Prize for Letters' and the 'Collar of the Republic' (Egypt's highest decoration). Many of his novels have been made into films, and many of his characters' names are now household names throughout Egypt. But Mahfouz writes in a florid classical Arabic style which is quite hard work, and his novels are not cheerful reading. He has a bleak, nihilistic view of the world - not what most people would call a 'great holiday read'. Don't say we didn't warn you!

At the age of 7, the security of his childhood was shaken by things he saw during the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, and Naguib Mahfouz had already written his first three novels by the age of 27. His stories are usually about very real people dealing with extraordinary events in their lives, amidst the modernization of Egyptian society and the temptations of Western values.

"Palace Walk" (the first of his "Cairo Trilogy" ) begins during Britain's occupation of Egypt immediately after World War I. The trilogy is a sweeping and evocative portrait of both a family and a country struggling to move toward independence in a society that has resisted change for centuries.

Other editions of the"Cairo Trilogy"

"Children of Gebelawi" (1959) is one of Mahfouz's best known works. It chronicles a family feud over Gebelaawi's new mansion built in a desert oasis. Echoing, to a certain extent, the stories of certain Bibical characters, the book was banned in Egypt and throughout the Arab world, except in the Lebanon, for alleged blasphemy over its allegorical portrayal of God.

The Thief and the Dogs During the 1960s Mahfouz's stories became more existentialist. "The Thief and the Dogs" (1961) is a dark, hopeless tale of a Marxist thief, who has been released from prison and plans revenge.

His outspoken support for Sadat's Camp David peace treaty with Israel caused to his books to be banned in many Arab countries - until he became the first Arabic writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. During his 70-year career he published 34 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts and five plays, and has many Arabic-language films to his credit.

NAGUIB MAHFOUZ at Amazon

THE BOOKER PRIZE

Booker Prize nominee
THE MAP OF LOVE by Ahdaf Soueif

On a trip to Egypt in 1900 Lady Anna falls in love with an Egyptian Nationalist, a man utterly committed to his country's cause, Sharif Pasha al-Barudi - a man who seems to stand for the real, secret Egypt.

Nearly a century later, Isabel Parkman, recent divorcee and a descendent of Anna and Sharif, falls in love with a New York based Egyptian, Omar-al-Ghamrawi. An old family trunk captures her imagination - she dcides to take it - in person - to Omar's sister Amal, who lives in Cairo.

As the tensions and dangers in contemporary Egypt become more threatening, Amal unpacks the trunk. The old love stories - love of Sharif and love of Egypt - seem intertwined with the difficulties of her own life - living, as she is, poised between two cultures.

other books by Ahdaf Soueif

ROMANTIC NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD

2007 Romantic Novel of the Year Award.
IRIS AND RUBY by Rosie Thomas

Iris Black's peaceful, or stiflingly quiet and claustrophobic, house in Cairo is suddenly disturbed by the unexpected arrival of a rebellious, confused teenage runaway - a stranger - her granddaughter Ruby. With the tentative growth of trust between them Ruby is able to help her grandmother reclaim her deteriorating memories of her frantic love affair in the glittering, cosmopolitan Cairo of the second World War - which ended in tragedy. But even as the two women are learning from each other, they are led into terrible danger in the Egyptian desert.

DVD / VIDEO: FILMS OF NOVELS SET IN ANCIENT EGYPT

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

Pure escapist fiction

ANCIENT EGYPT DVDS

A mixture of titles including fact and fiction.

GENERAL EGYPT DVD's at Amazon

NEW:"MARCUS DIDIUS FALCO" BOOK - with an Egyptian setting!
ALEXANDRIA  - the NEW Marcus Didius Falco Mystery by Lindsey Davis ALEXANDRIA (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries) by Lindsey Davis

"Alexandria", a recent Falco book, was set in Egypt, in the first century AD when Alexandria was ruled by the Roman Empire.

also see: SATURNALIA (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries) by Lindsey Davis

THE MARCUS DIDIUS FALCO COMPANION: Characters, Plots, Places, Events And Historical Elements In The Novels

HISTORICAL DETECTIVE FICTION SET IN GREECE OR ROME

THE"RUSO" or"MEDICUS" SERIES by R S Downie

Gaius Petreius Ruso is a divorced Roman army surgeon who took his posting in Roman Britain with the intention of making a career and a fortune - but he finds himself turning detective.

Quick word of warning - UK published versions of the books use 'Ruso' in the title; USA published versions of the same book use 'Medicus' instead - so take care you don't end up with two copies of the same book!

Ruso and the Demented Doctor (2008) Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls (2007)

Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire Medicus and the Disappearing Dancing Girls

"NOVELS OF ANCIENT ROME" by Steven Saylor

Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series, set in ancient Rome, features the detective "Gordianus The Finder".

THE VENUS THROW by Steven Saylor

Gordianus finds himself unable to prevent the murder of Dio - a former mentor, now a philosopher and Egyptian ambassador. Pompey, Caesar and Crassus are contemplating annexing Egypt, aided and abetted by its exiled king. When Gordianus finds himself the ally of Clodius and Clodia, the two most notoriously dissolute siblings he discovers that nothing is quite as deceptive as what we think we know . . .

more titles in the series:
A Murder On The Appian Way
Catilina's Riddle, The Triumph Of Caesar, Arms Of Nemesis, Roman Blood, Roma

BOLESLAW PRUS: Polish journalist and novelist

Boleslaw Prus (born Aleksander Glowacki) was a Polish journalist and novelist - but it was his novels which made his name.

THE PHARAOH AND THE PRIEST, VOLUME 1: AN HISTORICAL NOVEL OF ANCIENT EGYPT by Boleslaw Prus (Paperback, 2008)

Originally titled 'PHARAOH' - An Historical Novel Of Ancient Egypt , this is his Boleslaw Prus's only historical novel. First published (1895-96) as a Warsaw newspaper serialization (as were his other books) the author later retitled the novel"The Pharaoh and the Priest".

Another of his novels, The Doll - has become a central European classic

Also available as: THE PHARAOH AND THE PRIEST (2 volumes), translated by Jeremiah Curtin:

VOLUME 1 (Feb 2007) | VOLUME 2 (Feb 2008) | LARGE PRINT EDITION

pb1pb2lg

"The Pharaoh and the Priest" is the story of a brave young Pharaoh, Rameses XIII, determined to bring about reform. The book reveals the mechanisms of political power, as sacred and secular powers clash - supposedly in the Twentieth Dynasty and the New Kingdom, but the book reflects both the Polish tradition of political fiction stretching back to the 16th century and the author's interest in the metaphor of 'society-as-organism'. A thoroughly enjoyable (sad) story of life at every level of ancient Egyptian society - in 1966 it was adapted as a Polish feature film, directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz.

Curtin's translation, however, has received some heavy criticism, so you may prefer to track down Christopher Kasparek's 1992 translation of 'Pharaoh' published by Hippocrene (not available at amazon at the time of writing)

A ROUND-UP OF OTHER NOVELS SET IN EGYPT

THE YACOUBIAN BUILDING Dr Alaa Al Aswany

The Yacoubian Building was a highly acclaimed but controversial novel. The building itself, in Cairo, broadly reflects the social and emotional life the city. The statement of its architecture and history is obvious; the stories of love and power, sex and politics twist into a complex labyrinth. In Taha, the doorman's son, the conflicts find a personal expression.

No topic is off limits - Islamic fundamentalism, homosexuality, bribery and corruption are all woven in to a merciless and haunting story, at times harsh, but often funny.

PAUL TEMPLE AND THE SULLIVAN MYSTERY (Radio Collection Audiobook) Audio CD by Francis Durbridge (BBC Audiobooks)

Paul Temple needs to research for his next story - in Cario. So with and his Fleet Street journalist wife, Steve, he flies to Egypt in a seaplane (from the BOAC base at Poole in Dorset). A two day journey - routine in 1947 - now has a real period feel to it! But the Temples attract trouble - and are soon caught up with investigating a murder.

The entertainingly twisting trail of the Sullivan case is a 'period piece', with an escalating 'body count' in a rather fantastic tale — a remake of a 'lost episode' from 1947. This 8 part recording uses contemporary microphones, sound effects and the original Francis Durbridge scripts - but the over enthusiastic sound effects have been toned down for a contemporary audience

NAPOLEON'S PYRAMIDS by William Dietrich (2007)

THE SLEEPER IN THE SANDS by Tom Holland

As Howard Carter prepares to open the tomb of Tutankhamen he broods on a variety of mysterious warnings - Epic supernatural romance thriller - somewhere between a historical novel and a gothic chiller . . . hmmm! We've included here out of curiosity value . . .

"VICKY BLISS" MURDER MYSTERY SERIES by Elizabeth Peters

Vicky is an art historian in Munich. Her specialism, medieval Europe, whisks her from the 'safe' environment of the National Museum into the realm of brilliant artists and cold-blooded killers, forgers and art thieves. Danger ensues - and so does romance!

Large Print

THE LAUGHTER OF DEAD KINGS by Elizabeth Peters THE LAUGHTER OF DEAD KINGS
by Elizabeth Peters (2008)

Also recently, a Large print edition

Publisher's synopsis: The heist of the century has taken place in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, and Vicki's on/off boyfriend, Sir John Smythe, is a prime suspect.Despite his insistence that he is no longer in the business of stealing antiquities and art objects, even Vicky isn't one hundred percent certain he has not fallen back into his old habits. Pursued by Interpol, the Egyptian police, rival gangs of illicit antiquities thieves, and (worse of all) Vicky's inquisitive boss, Anton Z. Schmidt, she and John set out on a wild chase across Europe and Egypt in an attempt to clear him by finding the real culprits and retrieving the stolen object.

CRIME FICTION WITH HUMOUR, SET IN ANCIENT EGYPT

Large Print

The Lestrade Mystery Series are fun - a slightly comic 'tongue in cheek' humour. Don't bring a Sherlock Holmes mindset to these novels - they borrow only names from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

LESTRADE AND THE KISS OF HORUS (Lestrade Mystery Series)
 by M J Trow LESTRADE AND THE KISS OF HORUS (Lestrade Mystery Series) by M J Trow

In Lestrade And The Kiss Of Horus, retired Detective Chief Inspector Lestrade is called back in to help with several murders, including the mysterious death of Lord Carnarvon in Egypt. So Lestrade finds himself in the Valley of the Kings - and not enjoying it. There's a good sense of place and of fun . . .

ROMANTIC FICTION SET IN EGYPT

Romance, thrills and chills . . . a wonderful variety of novels set in Egypt.

hbWHISPERS IN THE SAND WHISPERS IN THE SAND

WHISPERS IN THE SAND, by Barbara Erskine WHISPERS IN THE SAND by Barbara Erskine

Recently divorced, Anna Coburn decides to cheer herself up by retracing a journey her great grandmother made in the nineteenth century: a Nile cruise from Luxor to the Valley of the Kings. Anna carries with her on the voyage two mementoes of her great-grandmother Louisa: an ancient Egyptian scent bottle, and the diary of that original Nile cruise, which has lain unread for a hundred years. As she follows in Louisa's footsteps, Anna discovers in the diary the chilling secret of the scent bottle and is pursued by the same terrifying spectres as her great grandmother.

MOON TIGER by Penelope Lively (Penguin Classics)

A love story set against the exotic background of Egypt and other countries - shifting between the narrator's life as an old woman remembering the past and her life as a young woman.

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THE TRUMPETS OF TUTANKHAMUN: ADVENTURES OF A RADIO PIONEER IN THE MIDDLE EAST by Rex Keating

As a broadcaster and writer, Keating specialised in archaeology and environmental issues - and has had a high profile at times: "Many people have beeen accused of starting the second World War. I am among them and have letters to prove it. It all began with a radio broadcast which involved the Curse of Tutankhamun, the late King Farouk of Egypt and an over-zealous British Army musician . . ."

That quote made me put this biography on my 'to read' list! Accusers said that Keating had invoked the curse of Tutankhamun (and thus started the war) by organising the first radio broadcast of Tutankhamun's Trumpets on the eve of World War 2.
click to hear the sound of the trumpet, as broadcast then scroll down to find the link (flash required)

Rex became a war correspondent and commentator for War Pictorial News, reporting the Desert war news from North Africa and in the 60's he worked with UNESCO to cover the anti-Aswan Dam campaigns which opposed the flooding of most of Nubia.

In his book NUBIAN RESCUE, Keating reports on UNESCO's spectacular archaeological salvage operation - invovling scholars, architects and engineers from all over the world - to conserve or excavate the ancient monuments, settlements and cemeteries which were doomed to destruction by the Aswan Dam project.

NUBIAN TWILIGHT NUBIAN TWILIGHT by Rex Keating

In Nubian Twilight Keating sees the High Dam as 'the twilight of Nubia' - a land he loves, and here shows us in detail. He covers its highway, the keeper of the door of the South, the 'Belly of Stone', 'The Guardians of the Cataract', Island of the King, 'Viceroys of Kush and Abu Simbel', 'Ozymandias', the 'Kingdom of Kush' and the 'Coming of Byzantium'.
Includes a chronology and maps

Related: THE ASWAN HIGH DAM AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT by Rex Keating

Naguib Mahfouz Cairo Trilogy THE COLLAR AND THE BRACELET: MODERN ARABIC STORIES (Modern Arabic Literature) by Yahya Taher Abdullah, translated by Samah Selim (The American University in Cairo Press, 2008)

Dark short stories of village life in Karnak, set against the backdrop of the British campaigns in Sudan, the Second World War, and the war in Palestine,"The Collar and the Bracelet" is the grim saga of the troubled Bishari family.

A modernist narrative tapestry of love and revenge with the flavour of a folk story.

HISTORICAL FICTION SET IN EGYPT

CITY OF THE DEAD (Egyptian Mysteries)

Tutankhamun dies in a chariot 'accident' on a hunting trip (designed to celebrate the pregnancy of his wife) - which triggers a vicious struggle for the succession. But was it really murder? The widow and her unborn child are in danger - and only Huy, the disgraced former scribe, can help.

Further 'Egyptian Mysteries' featuring Huy the Scribe
CITY OF DREAMS
CITY OF THE HORIZON

YEAR OF THE HYENAS: A NOVEL OF MURDER IN ANCIENT EGYPT by Brad Geagley

Not spectacular, but a readable ancient Egyptian mystery set during the reign of Ramses III. The down-and-out investigator, Semerket - a boozer who is still hung up on his ex-wife - had been clerk of Investigations and Secrets. Now that the authorities aim to cover up, not reveal, they fell he's a safe choice of investigator. But he's smarter than his employers suspect.

PAULINE GEDGE
Pauline Gedge has written two series set in Ancient Egypt, plus some stand-alone novels. The "Lord of the Two Lands" series deals with the rise of the eighteenth dynasty - and"The Twelfth Transforming" deals with its fall. The Hera Series is set in the nineteenth dynasty, and are written with a thread of mysticism.

JUDITH TARR
Judith Tarr writes historical fiction . "King and Goddess" is a dramatic novel about the notorious female king, Hatshepsut and her ruthless struggle to produce a male heir.

ANCIENT STORIES FROM EGYPTIAN PAPYRI

EGYPTIAN TALES TRANSLATED FROM THE PAPYRI Vols. 1 & 2 - 1899 (2003 edition) by Sir W.M.Flinders Petrie (Editor)

EGYPTIAN TALES, TRANSLATED FROM THE PAPYRI (first series, IVth - XIIth Dynasty) ed. by W.M. Flinders Petrie, illustrated by Tristram Ellis (2006)

EGYPTIAN TALES TRANSLATED FROM THE PAPYRI (second series, XVIIIth TO XIXth Dynasty) ed. by W.M. Flinders Petrie, illustrated by Tristram Ellis (2006)


HOUSE OF ILLUSIONS
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