A swiftly paced, imaginative Egyptian murder mystery anchored by a randy band of tomb raiders.
Dedicated to “everyone who has ever been entranced, thrilled, and mesmerized by the glory, grandeur and mystery of ancient Egypt,” Michaelson’s (Romosa, 2013, etc.) thriller is set in Cairo’s sweeping Valley of the Kings, home to scores of pharaohs’ tombs. Professor Omar Sayeed, an esteemed archaeologist, leads an intrepid excavation troupe of Sorbonne University students into intricate, multichambered tomb “KV5.” This communal burial site, which supposedly holds the sarcophagus of the first son of Pharaoh Ramesses II, would bear proof of the presence of Hebrew slaves in Egypt, a fact validating Sayeed’s life’s work. The hefty importance of the dig isn’t lost on others who prefer to keep the site sacred, such as the cryptic cult Sons of Ramesses, who for centuries and with deadly force have been protecting the Ramissede dynasty burial grounds from desecration. Also challenging the professor’s work is Sayeed’s professional rival and archnemesis, Arthur Guttman. A hot lead redirects the exploration team elsewhere to excavated ancient ruins in Luxor, where six clay vases are unearthed containing papyrus scrolls scripted with curses on anyone who desecrates the tomb. With Guttman’s henchmen on his tail, Sayeed and his crew return to Cairo to continue the excavation of KV5, but death threats toss two unexpected characters into the fray: the professor’s daughter, Yasmin, and Dr. Parker Ashworth, a pathologist and fledgling archaeologist. Both ably sleuth through the suspense from Egypt to Paris and continue the good professor’s excavation spadework as danger lurks ever closer. Is Guttman capable of coldblooded murder, or has an ancient spectral curse been unleashed across the Cairo desert? Bringing the precious mythology of ancient Egypt into clear focus, Michaelson’s fascinating Egyptian lore adds an appealing narrative boost, while his deft characterizations further bolster the serpentine nature of this rousing mystery.
A bold, atmospheric tale of murder set amid the ruins of a mystifying ancient civilization.