Only one week to the publication of SHADOWS ON THE NILE in the UK on 20th June – and things are hotting up.
One of the utter joys of writing books set in exotic locations is the need to explore them for research purposes. Of course much of my research is done through books, photographs and old film footage, but there is nothing like seeing a place with your own eyes, engaging your senses with its unfamiliar sights and smells.
I love to get involved. Riding its trains, rattling in its buses, fighting your way through its markets, handling its cabbages, talking with local people. Even finding you’ve been rooked over postcards and getting the money all wrong is part of the fun.
In Egypt the colours are different. I was struck by the way there seemed to be three that dominated the life there – the vast sheet of blue overhead, the soft undulating beige dust of the hills and roads that finds its way into everything, and the vivid luminous green of the irrigated fields that roll out in strips on each side of the Nile. And always the desert lies just a heartbeat away.
A mesmerising country.
This photograph I took at one of its finest monuments, the awe-inspiring mortuary temple of the female pharaoh, Hatshepsut. What a woman! She ruled Egypt for 21 years and made a great job of it. She was the first known person in the world ever to import trees from abroad – she filled her gardens with the foreign trees frankincense and myrrh. She even had herself immortalised as the Ancient Egyptian god Osiris in this magnificent row of statues outside the temple. A bit like Harry Potter dressing up as Dumbledore! Sadly they were largely destroyed by later ill-tempered envious pharoahs, but they are still impressive.
I hope I have conveyed some of this wonder and beauty in SHADOWS OF THE NILE. Scratch me and I will bleed desert sand. So check it out and let me know what you think.