Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book One: Queen Hatshepsut and Egypt

Traveling was much easier when we first set out to see the world.  In the 90s the biggest fear was a long flight delay or missing luggage.  We didn’t even know how fortunate we were to see the sights we saw in Egypt, such as the Luxor Museum and the golden head of King Tutankhamen.

Finding a plot for a novel is much like a reporter’s search for a strong news story. What glorious tales we heard in Egypt, of pharaohs from Ramses to Tutankhamen.  But what struck us most was Queen Hatshepsut’s history, steeped in mystery and intrigue.  When we began to learn more about Queen Hatshepsut, the only woman pharaoh to rule Egypt, we knew we had our story!

By Szilas (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

About Queen Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut was the only woman to rule Egypt as pharaoh. She is depicted here in masculine headdress of the phararoh.  Her step-son, Tutmose III, was in line to be the next pharaoh, but Queen Hatshepsut’s claim to be of divine birth, daughter of Amon Re, caused her to be hailed as the next pharaoh in his place.  Her twenty-year reign was filled with peace and prosperity.

Deir el Bahari
© Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons

A visit to Deir el Bahrari showed us her eye for beauty.  Past the little village of Quarna, through a haze of brilliant sunlight, the huge mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut blends in harmony with the towering, rock cliff behind it.  The sprawling structure with slender, Greek like columns looked amazingly light and graceful.  Its glory gardens were filled with flowers, and myrrh trees lined the courtyard. The temple was constructed by Hatshepsut’s architect , scribe, and rumored lover, Senmut. 

The Vengeance of Tutmose III

Smashed and broken statues lay where an avenue of sphinxes once led up to the monument.  When Tutmose III regained the throne, he vented his wrath on all of the queen’s projects and obliterated Queen Hatshepsut's name wherever it appeared and replaced it with his own.  But Queen Hatshepsut's marvelous accomplishments were impossible to totally destroy and remain in the stately ruins of Del er Bahari.

The Curse of Senmut: A Fictional Tale Based on History

Our novel begins outside a small village near the Valley of the Kings, where archaeologist Ardis Cole has been summoned by her mentor, Jane Darvin, to help excavate a recently discovered tomb--that might be the tomb of Senmut.
Soon Ardis assumes responsibility for the project.  With the help of mysterious Blake Lydon, she must unravel the tomb’s mystery—an ancient secret concerning two miniature obelisks of gold hidden by Queen Hatshepsut’s love, Senmut, over 2000 years ago.  As Ardis uncovers the ancient mystery, she finds herself drawn into a modern action tale of hatred, murder, and revenge.

So, how much of the background in our story is true?  According to history, Queen Hatshepsut had a scribe named Senmut (also spelled Senenmut or Senmout).  For her he promised to guild two giant obelisks in solid gold.  A trip was made to the land of Punt where great treasures, some never seen before, were brought back for his queen.

Were the two lovers?  That was rumored, but no one knows for sure.  It is true that he built a secret tomb within the queen’s monument so he could be buried with her.  If they were in love, because of their roles in society, they could never marry. 

Most fiction is based on truth, but there is a place where they part company.  And that is where our adventure begins--with a newly discovered tomb and Ardis Cole and Blake Lydon as they unravel the secrets of Queen Hatshepsut’s gold.

The Curse of Senmut is available on Kindle and as a paperback. It is also available on


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