So now is the time when I start chumming the waters for the new book.

It’s the second novel in my Eye of Isis series, which is set in Alexandria and Egypt in the time of Cleopatra. The first book, Death of an Eye, opened in May 47 BC. Caesar and Cleopatra have returned from a leisurely trip up the Nile and she is heavily pregnant with his child. A new issue of drachmas goes missing, the Eye of Isis is murdered trying to find out where it is and who stole it, and Cleopatra tasks her lifelong friend, the trader Tetisheri, with recovering the missing coins and bringing both thieves and murderer to justice. Buy it in e here.

The second book in the series publishes on January 15th. As you can plainly see, Head of Zeus has outdone themselves on the cover. Yes, they assure me, there will be gilt.

The action begins in September of 47 BC. Cleopatra is busy rebuilding Alexandria following the depredations of the Alexandrine War. People involved in the construction trade begin to disappear, brought to the notice of the authorities by the discovery of a man hideously murdered in Alexandria harbor. Cleopatra calls again on Tetisheri, the new Eye of Isis, to seek out the murderers and stop the thefts that endanger the completion of Alexandria’s rebirth as that shining city by the sea.

Barbara Peters calls Scribe “On the Waterfront, Cleopatra style.” Now that’s what I call an elevator pitch.

An excerpt:

…the Way, a broad boulevard stretching the breadth of the city from the Gate of the Sun in the east to the Gate of the Moon in the west. A full plethrum in width, there were two central lanes for chariots and for people on horseback and tradesmen delivering goods in donkey carts. They were divided by a median planted with trees and shrubs and featuring fountains and benches, and bordered on either side by lanes for pedestrians. Here traveled the lifeblood of the city, slaves and servants laden with bags and packages, mothers scolding children into line, scholars declaiming to students, street vendors filling the air with their cries, trying to sell out before they had to pack up for the evening. At one time or another during every day, all of Alexandria was on parade along the Canopic Way. It was the best free show in the known world.

But Tetisheri’s eyes were on the nearer prospect, a figure she could recognize at any distance in any weather. She had never wondered why until this year.

He was tall but not so tall as to set himself too much apart from his fellow man. He was trim in figure but the muscle was there for anyone with the eye to detect it. His hair was fair and thick and clipped close as a soldier’s, as he had once been. His knee-length tunic was well made, of good material but dyed an unostentatious brown and girt with a plain leather belt with a plain bronze buckle. One hand rested on the hilt of the gladius that hung from his belt in a boiled leather sheath. His lower arms were bound with wide leather guards worked with the double-headed eagle of Thrace. The guards were oiled and supple but showed signs of scarring, which one could imagine had been incurred in battle.

The man, too, bore the scars of those same battles, old and white, one across an eyebrow, another down a cheekbone, another, deeper, one across a calf. It was an eloquent history of service under arms, although his face was otherwise curiously unlined. She realized she had never asked him how old he was, and that he had never volunteered the information.

He turned and she felt again that faint shock at meeting those clear green eyes, the color straight out of the olivine mines of Punt. Their gaze was so direct and so entirely without judgement that she felt she could tell him any black secret from her past and he would not condemn her.

In fact, she had, and he hadn’t.

He smiled at her, and such was the effect that it took a moment for her to remember that she had feet and that they worked.

The book launches from the Poisoned Pen Bookstore on January 15, 2022.
Pre-order your signed first edition hardcover here.


Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. I can’t wait til January to be able to get my hands on a copy of this book! It is lines like this that if I were doing a database of things that happen Tetisheri, this line would be in the “fun things Dana has Tetisheri think” category. “He smiled at her, and such was the effect that it took a moment for her to remember that she had feet and that they worked.” I love the insight into Tetisheri’s personality.

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