This novel, published in 2018, is a standalone sequel to the Herbert West Series. Readers who enjoy a combination of realistic adventure and supernatural elements in an exotic setting — Luxor, Egypt and the Theban Necropolis — may wish to have a look. It’s available in both ebook and print form.
Categories: Literary supernatural fiction and Women’s adventure fiction
October 1962. The developing nuclear missile crisis in Cuba is of no concern to Francesca “France” Leighton. Recently turned 21, France travels from her home in Providence to a job at an archaeological dig in Luxor, Egypt. She takes with her two gifts—an emerald ring from the grandfather she never knew, and an antique cello from his friend, a man she loved like a grandfather. Eudora, the cello, is more than a musical instrument; for France, she is a means of revelation and insight.
The dig disappoints. France is relegated to sorting chunks of stone, the dig’s director makes unwanted advances; rivalries and mistrust are everywhere. And it’s too darn hot! Visiting a pharaoh’s tomb is a relief from the heat and glare. While viewing images painted on the walls and ceiling of the burial chamber, France experiences the first of several hallucinations. Or perhaps they are visions?
Tasked with playing her cello at a gathering of archaeologists, France meets the enigmatic but fascinating nuclear physicist Adam Dexter. She’s smitten, especially when he promises to show her the wonders and secrets of Egypt, including a hitherto undiscovered tomb. Adam invites her to seek him on the west bank of the Nile, near the Valley of the Kings.
After a risky balloon cruise to view geological formations, France is forced to leave the dig. Despite warnings against solo explorations on the west bank, she resolves to find Adam Dexter. A fall renders her unconscious, and she awakes in his eerie house near the Theban Necropolis. Adam’s promises are alluring, but he is both more and less than he seems, and his motivations are disturbing. So are his two identical servants, who take possession of France’s cello, Eudora. France escapes the house, but not before she makes a horrifying discovery.
Through an image of Osiris, France discovers the true reason for her presence in the Theban Necropolis. While the world teeters on the brink of nuclear war, she must call upon resources both within and beyond herself to meet the challenges that await her in the world of the dead beneath the Western Peak.