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SIROCCO, Storm over Land and Sea: a thriller (Legends of the Winged Scarab Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Length: 259 pages..
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I first learned of this, Inge H. Borg’s, series of novels taking place in Egypt, (Ancient and Modern) directly from the author. I was provided copies in print format, free of charge in exchange for honest reviews. Sirocco is the second in the series. Although it harkens back to Ancient Egypt, it is set in Egypt just after Mubarak’s ouster as the country is seeking its way to an open, democratic society based on one man, one vote.
As my own followers know, I spent a large chunk of my life in Egypt during Mubarak, and some two years after his removal, necessitated by a mostly peaceful protest that besieged the man referred to by many as the Last Pharaoh.
I was skeptical that a writer could well bridge Ancient Egypt with contemporary Egypt. I was fairly concerned that the writer might not well understand the issues being confronted by the Egyptian establishment, the Egyptian revolutionaries, and by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The author was taking on far more than most mortals could well enough assimilate, so I could dispel my disbelief and sit back to enjoy a yarn of intrigue, for the sake of the story. I mean, let’s face it, when writing of one’s own society adjusting to change is difficult, at best, when it is used merely as backdrop to a drama. The likes of Stephen King, John Grisham, James Patterson and even the late Michael Crichton were able to pull such a feat, but it is far more difficult than one can imagine. Trying to do such with Egypt, especially post-Mubarak, ought to be nigh on impossible.
Yet, I found Borg was able to fairly impress me with the little stories within the story. Early on she displays a better understanding of Egypt politics and geography far better than even I could have done. I worked as Health, Safety, Security and Environmental Manager on several projects, large and small, throughout Egypt’s Delta. One of those was the Al Maza Airport. In just a couple of lines you get an understanding of some of the significance of Al Maza.
Elsewhere, you gain some perspective into the value placed on names of people in Egypt that is not so well grasped by foreigners. In fact, I had a little game I played, for awhile, with many of the less sacred names. I would reverse pronounce them. It went a little like this. Hosni reversed would be insoh. Although not exactly correct, with a slight adjustment, the meaning was, according to my Egyptian friends, forgotten, or forget me. Thus, Hosni Mubarak would not live in fame. The point of my little game was to see if there might be a connection between what the leader should be remembered for according to his name, and what the actual result might be. And, for Saddam Hussein, Saddam becomes maddas, loosely translated, my friends say, means the soles of one's shoes. The lasting image for most all the world of Saddam Hussein in the toppling of his statue, showing, interestingly, the soles of his shoes.
My point here, though, is different. Borg draws us a somewhat accurate insight into traditional Egyptian thinking. Bear in mind, it is not all encompassing, but, rather, just a glimpse into a mindset that, honestly, lends only a cursory understanding.
She also, using a different name for the head of the Antiquities, effectively captures the undercurrents of Egypt’s transition during the days leading to the election. Possibly, some of this was hindsight, for it was not as certain Egypt would elect Morsi as alluded to, and Morsi certainly was not viewed by any Egyptian I spoke with (before or after the election) as strong. Still, the general brush painting of the tussle even then ongoing or suspected as ongoing, is well depicted by Borg.
So well did Borg dispel my disbelief that, even though I have a print bound version of Sirocco, I broke down and purchased the Kindle version, so I could read it during breaks at work.
This fictional book is targeted to is targeted to people much the same as an Indiana Jones fan, but with less dramatic (and forced) action. Put succinctly, imagine Indiana Jones in the real world instead of the world dreamed up by special effects director Stephen Spielberg.
By the time Part One comes to a close, we have gained a solid understanding of Egypt during its transition; of the personality of the Head of Antiquities and his precarious position as a former proud member of the deposed regime whose main purpose, ostensibly, is to protect Pharaohnic history; and of our heroine, Naunet, and her companions. We also get an intriguing glimpse into a side story regarding her mother. We’re wondering just where this story is headed and, more importantly, why were have been transported to this time and place in the birthplace of modern civilization…
What was the Amazon Rank on the date this review was published? Approximately 574,000.
Is this a book that I can read without having to read others first? Yes, you can, but it is most highly recommended you start with Khamsin, first in the series. The ending of this book hints at what is to come, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a cliffhanger. A reader could, conceivably, read this book and imagine a possible sequel without necessity of reading it, to be content. With the quality of this story, however, I find such a choice as less likely among anyone who understands what they are reading. I know I, for one, intend to jump right into the next story.
Are there other books by this author that might also be helpful? Not only has Borg published four full length books, there is a novella that enlightens us about one of the main protagonists, Edward. I haven’t read it yet, but I did buy it, for it seems key to grappling with this vital character.
Are there a lot of typos/misspellings, grammatical errors or other editing failures? No. I did find two, but the author corrected them immediately upon reading my review. That may be the greatest value of Kindle Publishing and Amazon's Customer Review process - interactive book publishing - loving it.
Is it a quick, easy read and is the writer enthusiastic in his/her approach? This is more of a sit back and relax type of read, rather than let me speed read to the end. It is not as long and winding a story as is the first in the series, but it does have many plots and subplots worthy of your close scrutiny.
Is there humor? Is it wry, laugh-out-loud funny? Is it moronic? Although there is the occasional quip or irony, this would not be properly regarded as a humorous story.
What sort of language does this writer use to amplify the points made? It is written in everyday English language and is told from an omnipresent point of view.
Is this, or should this, be available on audible.com? It definitely should be offered on Audible.com. The narrator should be female to capture the essence of the viewpoint, Naunet’s, and the nature of the story. In fact, I recently listened to The Glassblower, written by Samuel Wilcocks, narrated by Kristen Watson Heintz. I believe Heintz would be ideal as the narrator, for she has just the right soothing, soft, touch with an ability to hint at intrigue in her reading.
Is this better to read, or is it better to listen to? Probably equally good either way, but would love to listen to the story unfold while driving cross country.
I was going to read all three sequels to Khamsin, The Devil Wind of the Nile, then post reviews of each on the same date. But, although I am reading the next book already, I decided it is better to post this review before the story becomes forgotten. Further, since I abhor reviews that whet my appetite for a good story (by imparting too much detail of the story itself) and because I even more strongly loathe spoilers, I changed my mind and am posting each review separately.
Bottom line? If you love good historical fiction laced with intrigue (political, as well as devious villains) and romance, you are in for a thrilling ride. I hope though that you don’t have too stressful a day job, for you are going to be transported to another time, another place, more exotic than you might imagine.
Dr. El-Masri, the Pharaoh and Egyptian antiquities director that asked them to come to Cairo has his own political problems to deal with and is soon whisking them away to Luxor, a high security site, to continue their work. The problem is that they have lost all internet connection and have no phone service to get in touch with their boss back in the states. They are out of the loop on what exactly is going on in Egypt, feel like they are being used, and wonder if they will be able to get back to the states safely.
When Edward, antique's dealer, enters the picture Jonathan's gut tells him the man is no good, but Naunet is enthralled with this guy and he cant convince her otherwise. He also cant hop onto the internet to get more information, proof, that Edward is not what he says he is.
Meanwhile Naunet has been invited on a short vacation with Edward. Happily she says yes, and from the moment she's alone with Edward and his companion Karakurt, who she had no idea was joining them, she regrets leaving the Luxor behind.
This is a fast pace book, well written, well researched, and has enough going on to keep you on the edge of your seat. I like the fact that things continue to go wrong for the bad guys in this story.
This well-written plot of the Legend of the Winged Scarab, Book 2 of 5, is, at once, informative for its wealth of research. Entertaining for the thrill it confers through latent danger and violence. Illuminating for its depiction of timeless vistas and people. And engaging through the believable portrayal of characters as diverse in their thoughts and feelings as the mysterious land of the pharaohs.
While looking forward to reading book 1, 3, 4, and 5 of the Legend, I am giving Sirocco, Storm over Land and See, a well-deserved five-star rating.
I really like the way the author made a smooth transition from the first book, Khamsin, to this book, even though there were thousands of years between the stories. I do recommend you read the first book first so the background storyline is set.
The author did a great job of developing a tale of adventure that is full of action and plot twist. Her storytelling style makes the book easy to follow even with all the twist and turns. It will not let you put it down or get the story out of your mind.
I liked the way Inge H. Borg developed her characters as the book progress. You could see them mature and grow stronger as the story move forward. They were easy to identify with and they were very believable.
I found Sirocco by Inge H. Borg to be a very good book to read and I highly recommend it to all readers.