Tomb robbers and claustrophobia

I wrote the first Eye of Isis novel, Death of an Eye, before I went to Egypt. When it came time to write the second in the series (Disappearance of a Scribe) I knew I had to have a better sense of the Red Land and the Black Land than I could get on YouTube, so off Barbara Peters and I went in December 2019.

I knew at some point I was going to write about tomb robbers, which meant I was going to have to climb down inside a pyramid to know what that felt like.

Meet the Red Pyramid at Dahshur,
the third largest pyramid in Egypt. Distances are deceiving. Those stairs are a lot steeper and taller than they look from here.

And down we went. And down. And down. And down. It was dark, and it was close, and it was hot, and it was airless, or it felt like it.

And then we got to the bottom, where you get to see the pyramid from the inside out.

We were the only people there. It was very quiet. Too quiet. It gave one to think, which is not necessarily something one wants to do inside a 4,500-year old pile of rocks in earthquake country. What could possibly go wrong?

In a tomb no one can hear you scream.

And back up again. The climb out went much more quickly because we were motivated, and there was fresh air at the top.

The post-descent and -ascent trophy shot. Notice all the tomb dust we carried away with us on the knees of our pants.

The expression on my face says it all.
The things writers will do for research. At least you’ll know that I knew what I was writing about in that tomb scene.
The third Eye of Isis novel publishes on November 3, 2022.
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Chatter Eye of Isis

Dana View All →

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