The Forgotten Pharaoh
by Laura DeLuca
Publisher: Pagan Writers Press
Release Date: March 28, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller
Length: 322 Pages
About the book:
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.
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.Laura DeLuca
True fear unlike any other suddenly gripped Djedefre’s heart. It overshadowed even the horrendous pain and drove him to his knees. At last he realized where they’d taken him for this unfair trial. Djedefre recognized the hieroglyphics etched into the walls and the face on the many sculptures he’d commissioned. Each one of the effigies bore his likeness. This was his tomb, one of the many chambers within the confines of his great pyramid—the place where his body was supposed to rest so his soul could be reborn. Only it was obvious his well-laid plans were about to be upheaved, as well as the magnificent structure he’d spent the whole of his reign creating.
One by one, the priests of Ra seized each of his statues and smashed them against the walls, shattering them to fragments. Other officials chiseled away at his visage on the paintings upon the wall. Each strike was an assault far more painful than the gaping wound on his side, for this was an attack upon his very soul. To destroy his image was the greatest offense that could be done to any man. Every blow erased part of his spirit and robbed him of an afterlife in paradise. Only Khafre cast his eyes away from the destruction of his brother’s sacred burial grounds. The young prince recoiled each time he heard the granite shatter while their sister Hetapheres wailed her grief with her arms outstretched to the heavens, as though begging the gods to intercede. Still no divine aid came for the fallen pharaoh.
“No,” Djedefre pleaded. “No, you cannot do this. Leave me here to die, but leave my soul to the mercy of the gods!”
The priests ignored his pleas and beside him the newly awakened Manetho appeared to have lost what was left of his mind. He cackled at each new strike through bruised and swollen lips while Djedefre and his family wept at the heartless defilement. As if to prove madness had claimed him completely, the lay priest went so far as to use his tongue to lap up the blood pooling upon the limestone floor.
“Djedefre, you are disgraced. Since you are unable to prove your innocence, you are henceforth stripped of the title of Pharaoh.” Djedefre flinched at the new wave of pain that washed over him when the priest yanked the golden ankh from around his neck and discarded it amongst the piles of fragmented effigies. “You have no right to bear the sacred symbols of Egypt. You are no son of Ra. Stone by stone, your pyramid shall be torn to the ground, but your body will remain imprisoned, left here to wallow in the blood you have spilled, trapped between life and death for all eternity.”
“Bound to this earth until all wounds are set right. Forbidden to walk in Ra’s holy light,” the other priests chanted along with their leader. “Soiled blood has sealed your fate, until your heart relinquishes hate.”
“Your name and your tomb will be lost to the world,” the ancient leader intoned even as his subordinates continued to chant. “Henceforth, you will be known only as the Forgotten Pharaoh.”
Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the editor of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. Her works include romantic thrillers, paranormal fiction, contemporary romance, and young adult.
Laura DeLuca is giving away an Egyptian pen, papyrus bookmark, scarab, ankh necklace, pharaoh pin and ankh charms.
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