Monday, December 19, 2011

"Egypt: The Book of Chaos"

Nick Drake's critically acclaimed novel Nefertiti was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award; his Tutankhamun was a Publishers Weekly top 100 books selection. He has published two award-winning collections of poetry, and his play Success was performed at the National Theatre in London, where he is a literary associate. Drake's screenplays include the critically acclaimed Romulus, My Father (starring Eric Bana), which won Best Film at the Australian Film Awards in 2007.

He applied the Page 69 Test to the final novel in his trilogy featuring Rahotep, Egypt: The Book of Chaos, and reported the following:
On p69 of Egypt: The Book of Chaos, detective Rahotep is on a boat, crossing the Nile, returning to the great city of Thebes; he's just been to the Royal Palace for an interview with Queen Ankhesenamun and her Chief Advisor, Nakht - who happens to be one of Rahotep's dearest friends. Rahotep's life has long been entwined with the Royal Family; he found Nefertiti, the mother of Ankhesenamun, when she vanished, and brought her back alive (in Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead); and he tried to defend her husband, Tutankhamun, against the death threats that ultimately brought his life to a premature end (in Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows).

The Queen has instructed Rahotep to undertake a highly secret, perilous mission for her; he and Nakht must travel north, across the Egyptian borders, through the dangerous and unstable territories of the Levant, to deliver a letter containing an audacious offer, to the King of the Hittites, whose base is in modern-day central Turkey. She asks the King to send her one of his sons for her to marry, and to join her on the throne of Egypt. The stakes could not be higher, for if they fail, or if the offer is refused, her dynasty will almost certainly be crushed by Horemheb, the General of the Army.

The Hittites were Russia to Egypt's America at this time; their power was expanding rapidly, and they were taking control of kingdoms and principalities which had for long been dominated by the might of Egypt. On p 69 Nakht explains to Rahotep the secret reasons for their journey into this unstable world; but what Rahotep doesn't tell Nakht is that he also has a personal reason to go; his side-kick Khety has been murdered in the most barbaric way by the mysterious leader of a merciless and powerful opium cartel; Rahotep has reason to think he might discover more of the identity of the killer outside Egypt; so, breaking a promise to his wife and children not to leave them again, in the pages that follow, he decides to accept the Queen's command, and undertake a journey into the great unknown.
Learn more about the book and author at Nick Drake's website.

--Marshal Zeringue