Monday, April 14, 2014

The Forgotten Pharaoh - A Virtual Tour of Egypt


Julie Gerber isn't thrilled to be pulled out of school her senior year to follow her parents halfway around the world to unearth a lost pyramid. However, when the cute British guy and the mysterious financier of their project both fight for her attention, things start to get interesting.

The pharaoh known as Djedefre was cursed for the murder of his eldest brother. The work of the archaeologists brings new secrets to light, ones that prove the fallen god-king wasn't the villain history had painted him to be. Can they prove his innocence?

As the team digs deeper into the mystery, members of the party vanish or end up dead. Someone is determined to keep the truth hidden at all costs, even 4,500 years later.

 Be sure to add The Forgotten Pharaoh to your to-read list on Goodreads and check it out on Manic Readers!

I’ve never been to Egypt.  It’s on my bucket list, but with four kids and a tight budget, it won’t be happening anytime soon. Since The Forgotten Pharaoh is set in modern-day Egypt, this made writing it a little more challenging. I normally set my stories in places I’ve lived or at least visited.  In the months I was writing the novel, I spent a lot of time researching Cairo, Giza and Abu Rawash. I looked at photos and videos on you tube, and read dozens of books on Egypt past and present.  I probably did more research on this book than all my others combined. During my studies, I learned about several interesting tourist spots in Egypt and tried to include them in the story. Here are a few of my favorites, all of which Julie Gerber got to visit.

The Great Pyramid of Giza- This is one of the most well-known tourist locations in Egypt. It’s hard to get a good idea how large they actually are when you’re looking at pictures, but the pyramid built by Khufu is over 700 feet tall.  I also learned they now offer laser light shows outside the pyramids. That sounds like a show worth watching.

The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities – I changed the name of this museum because a lot of shady things happen there, but the fictional setting was loosely based on The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. This museum stores the largest variety of Egyptian artifacts on the planet.  You can view golden sarcophagi, mummies, canopic jars and much, much more. No trip to Egypt would be complete without a stop there.  

Cairo Marketplace – The Cairo marketplace is a giant bazaar that merges the old with the new. You can pick up electronics or ancient artifacts, both of which probably have a 50/50 chance of being authentic. Sample cuisines, peruse art, and just have a great time. Even doing window shopping online was fun.

The Colossi of Memnon – This place simply fascinated me. These two giant statues have stood for thousands of years and were a tourist attraction even back in ancient times. Noblemen from all over carved their names in the stones to show they had visited. The statues were named after Memnon, a hero of the Trojan War who was slain by Achilles. They called him the Ruler of the Dawn.  The thing that made this sight so special was that on certain mornings, always within two hours of sunrise, a lucky few would hear Memnon’s song rise from the lower base of the carvings. The stones would actually hum.  They believe now the phenomena had a natural occurrence. An earthquake shifted the stone at some point in time and dew became trapped in the crevices. When the sun rose, the rapid temperature increase inside the porous rock created a soulful sound.  Unfortunately, it’s been a very long time since anyone heard the statues sing, but it’s still an amazing story.

Cairo Tower – I stumbled across this place completely by accident while trying to decide where my characters should stop to eat. The free-standing concrete tower is crowned by a circular observation deck affording an amazing view of greater Cairo and the River Nile. The lattice work, which has been enhanced with purple lights in more recent years, was crafted in the design of a lotus, an iconic symbol of the pharaohs.  I watched a few videos of the view from the tower, and it was truly stunning.

Of course, there are many more captivating stops in Egypt and in my novel. It would take forever to talk about all of them. These are only a few that will be on my personal itinerary when I finally make it to Egypt. Until them, I’ll just keep reading about them. 

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