Monday, February 26, 2024

The Will of the Gods Series Tour and Giveaway

 


Ancient Egypt was a time when people believed that everything that happened, for better or for worse, was determined by the will of the gods. 

The Will of the Gods

Book 1

by Ian Lancaster

Genre: Historical Egyptian Fiction

The Will of the Gods trilogy is a work of historical fiction set in Pharaonic Egypt during the time of the New Kingdom. It comprises eight stories which form a continuous narrative, following the same principal characters through interconnected adventures. The stories are told in the first person by the characters involved, and span a period of about fifty years and the reigns of four kings. There are many adult themes.


Part 1 contains:


Conspiracy in the Sands

A short story set in Ancient Egypt about a young man who loses a love and finds a mystery.


Treason on the Nile

The sequel to "Conspiracy in the Sands", this extended short story continues the adventures of the embalmer's son, now part of the king's family. Tasked by the king to go south to restore a desecrated tomb, neither would have believed the dangers that would follow for either of them - and even for the kingdom itself!


Valley of Secrets

The third part of a series set in Ancient Egypt: the king has been murdered and his family is in great danger. But who is the enemy?


Sceptre of the Gods

A royal tomb has been violated and a foreign power threatens the king. How are these connected and what can be done to save the kingdom?


**Get it FREE 2/24 – 2/28!!**

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The beginning: Conspiracy in the Sands – Chapter 1

She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen and I had been in love with her for as long as I could remember. We were the same age and had grown up together – she on one side of the wall in luxury and me on the other in the dusty and filthy streets of the town. She didn’t even know I existed. I saw her once, close up, when we were both about ten, when my father was called to the Palace to see the vizier about the arrangements for embalming one of the king’s sons, but she was with her nurse and, although I smiled at her, I don’t think she noticed me and she quickly moved away out of my sight. This time, now seven summers later, was different.

The call had come late in the night, a banging on the door and a voice of authority telling me to open. There were several men, soldiers I think, and the figure I recognised as the vizier. Older now, of course, but still the unmistakable authority of one second only to the king. 

‘Where is your father? He is needed at the Palace. The king commands it.’

I explained as best I could, I was afraid by the urgency and by the presence of so many strangers in our small house at such a time.

‘He is away, up in the north, a family problem’.

‘You must come instead. Now.’

We made our way through the dark and empty streets to the gates of the Palace. Huge and intimidating enough in the day, even more sinister at night. 

‘Come, quickly’.

Endless passages, lit by guttering torches. Everywhere armed men at attention. Eventually into a small room, beautifully furnished with sumptuous cushions and curtains. At first I didn’t see him for the room was dark and only the area of the bed was lit by a small lamp. My attention was drawn to a figure on the bed, lying absolutely still. From the shadows a voice:

‘They tell me you have your father’s skills. You must use them all.’

I had never heard him speak before or seen him so close. He came into the pool of light and his voice almost broke with the weight of his emotion. 

‘She was found a while ago, like this, still and alone. The doctor could do nothing. We do not know what happened.’

It was only then, when I moved closer to the bed, that I saw it was her. If possible, she looked even more beautiful than I remembered with her long, lustrous hair spread out on the bed around her.

‘She will be brought to you in the morning. Prepare her for the afterlife. Give her the best, only the best. She was my favourite.’

With the utmost dignity he turned and left the room. All bowed and I hurriedly did the same. 

‘My Lord’ was all I managed to stammer and then he was gone. The vizier nodded to a guard to escort me away from the chamber and back through the maze of corridors to the street. 

I stumbled home in a thick fog of despair and confusion. She was dead and the greatest challenge of my all too young life would unfold with the rising sun. To prepare the king’s youngest daughter and the greatest love of my life for an eternity with the gods.

They came with the sun, a small procession led by the king’s first minister. She was placed on a small table in the workshop, a room with loose curtains to allow in the fresh air and having a view to the nearby river. 

‘You are aware of your responsibility? You will be guarded to make sure all is done as it should be. Call me when the day has come that we may take her to the royal tomb.’

I nodded and he left, leaving two men outside the door. Whether to guard the princess or me I was unsure. I could see them faintly through the cracks in the door but they made no sound and I soon forgot they were there. I took a deep breath and turned to my task. For someone so young to be given such a duty was unheard of. It can only be the reputation of my family that gave them such confidence. I was to work alone, this had been said to me firmly by the vizier, and no-one else was to enter the embalming room until the job was finished. This would be a hard task and I would have to take on roles normally allocated to several assistants but the instruction was clear. 

I removed the thin linen shroud that covered her and took a sharp breath. Her skin looked almost like alabaster, set off more starkly by her long black hair. I knew that royal and noble women were not usually sent to the embalmer’s workshop immediately after death in case of despicable practices being performed on them, but this was no more a possibility for me than my slapping the king. How could I defile the body of the one I loved so much?

I began by assembling my tools and then decided to arrange her hair into a bundle on top of her head to protect it from the oils I would have to use to keep her skin supple. It was then that I had to touch her for the first time. I knew she would be cold, of course, this was not my first body, but somehow the softness of her skin was unexpected. I was used to preparing the bodies of workers from the local villages, learning my skills on their coarse and often bloated corpses. She was as soft as though waiting for a lover’s caress. I took my hand away nervously. I closed my eyes to spare her the indignity of my staring at her nakedness and lifted up her hair. I had to look then, to gather it all together, and then I saw it. With her hair down it was not visible and not surprising that it had not been seen. The doctor must have given only a casual inspection, or perhaps the light was poor, but here it was clear. Behind her left ear was a small but obvious puncture wound. Made by a fine, needle-like blade which had penetrated her skull and undoubtedly killed her. The girl I loved most in the world had been murdered!

The Will of the Gods

Book 2

The Will of the Gods trilogy is a work of historical fiction set in Pharaonic Egypt during the time of the New Kingdom. It comprises eight stories which form a continuous narrative, following the same principal characters through interconnected adventures. The stories are told in the first person by the characters involved, and span a period of about fifty years and the reigns of four kings. There are many adult themes.


Part 2 contains:


Labyrinth of Fear

A novel set in Ancient Egypt and Minoan Crete at the time of the cataclysmic eruption of the island of Thera (Santorini).


An Alliance of Kings

Part six of the Egypt Saga. Set mainly on and around the island of Crete, where three kings meet to form an alliance against a mysterious enemy, known as The Sea People. Old passions are reignited and new relationships are formed, but an unpredictable encounter leads to a tragic outcome.


Amazon * Bookbub * Goodreads


The Will of the Gods

Book 3

The Will of the Gods trilogy is a work of historical fiction set in Pharaonic Egypt during the time of the New Kingdom. It comprises eight stories which form a continuous narrative, following the same principal characters through interconnected adventures. The stories are told in the first person by the characters involved, and span a period of about fifty years and the reigns of four kings. There are many adult themes.

Part 3 contains:


The Curse of the Sea People

Part seven of the Egypt Saga. The Sea People have returned and the island of Crete is in danger. A new king relies on family, where everyone has a role to play and each faces difficult challenges and adventures of their own.


Lord of the Two Lands

Afraid for the succession, a young king knows he must prove himself worthy before the gods. His chance comes in a most unexpected way when a new friend becomes a deadly enemy. This is the eighth and final part of the Egypt saga.


Amazon * Bookbub * Goodreads


A lockdown project inspired by ancient Egypt.

Having been a passionate avocational Egyptologist for most of my life, I often wondered what it might have been like to live in those far-off times. During the Covid lockdown I started writing a short story to pass the time, and this eventually developed into a saga about just such a fantasy (at almost 400,000 words I think it counts as a saga anyway!).

It started as a mystery involving the son of a humble embalmer who is told to prepare the body of the king’s daughter for the afterlife. Unknown to anyone else, however, he has secretly loved the girl for as long as he could remember and, when he discovers that she had been murdered, sets out to solve the mystery and prevent a plot against the king himself. Then, in the way of all addictions, the story grew as new adventures presented themselves and new members of the extended family were introduced.

The eight stories which make up The Will of the Gods are set in Pharaonic (‘Ancient’) Egypt during the time of the New Kingdom. Although published in three volumes, they form a continuous narrative. They follow the same principal characters, told in the first person, through interconnected adventures spanning about fifty years and the reigns of four kings. This novel contains a number of adult themes.


Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads


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