Ramses is ready to set out for a visit to his friend, Nebre, commander of Ramses' fortress on the Libyan border with Egypt. According to him, they will spend their time retelling stories of adventures long past whilst partaking of much red wine. Despite everything Ramses says, alarm bells are ringing with Kate and Alex. If this is such a friendly visit, then why is Ramses so vehement that they must remain in Luxor? And, more to the point, why, when there is nothing except desert between Luxor and the fort, where the only thing they are likely to die from is a lack of drinking water, is Ramses moving with the vast contingent of his massive army? Does visiting a friend warrant such a show of force?
Kate and Alex are all too aware that Alex’s closest ancient relative, Aryamani, left Luxor some months ago to deliver a message sent by Ramses. To whom, they do not know, though it is presumed that the message was never delivered: because nobody has seen or heard of him since. Pharaoh Nakhtifi, at Ramses’ insistence, along with a decent section of his army, left Luxor in search of Aryamani. Nobody has seen or heard from him either.
Kate never suffers fools gladly, whilst Alex remains extremely wary of coincidences: the message that Ramses sent must have been for Nebre. The contents of the message they can only guess at, because Ramses refuses to say, but there is no way that they are going to let Ramses leave Luxor without them. Just as they are developing a plan, Cairo turns up with the perfect solution … at least it starts out as perfect!
Anticipated publication date: Mid 2019
“Where is Ramses?” Cairo only uttered what Alex had been thinking.
Ramses, along with the elite of his army, should have been stretching out in front of them, only there was nothing except sand for as far as the eye could see. That was not quite true. There were several two-metre-tall horned sand vipers with muscled arms and legs. Their bodies were that of steroid induced bodybuilders. One stood close either side of the waggon, where they could have easily taken hold of either Alex or Cairo. They had not, for one very simple reason: they had not been ordered to do so. Two more held onto the horses. A few more, though only a few, ringed them, looking out towards across the desert. No more than a dozen stood before them.
Alex slid across the seat, despite the proximity of the nearest viper. Without hesitation, he stuck his head out to look back. Where Ramses’ foot soldiers should have been, thousands of foot soldiers, along with waggons brimming with supplies, there was nothing, nothing except white sand for as far as the eye could see. How could this be? They had been travelling roughly in the middle of a vast moving army, directly behind the waggon transporting the royal tent, which itself was directly behind that of Ramses’ royal carriage. Now they were alone in the desert, ringed by little more than two dozen Vipers in human form.
“Confused? You should be. It is a rather neat trick, is it not?” The voice of the ancient queen appeared to come out of a single massive rock jutting vertically up from the desert like a small mountain. “Think about it for a while. Take your time. Chat amongst yourselves. Bring the girl out to join you, let her get some air. Really, Alex, she must be suffocating in that box. And I thought you were a gentleman.”
“What do you want of us?”
“Of you, of all of you, to die, of course. What else could I want?”
From: Book 7, Missing in Egypt, Chapter 5