Egypt: Locus Focus

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Locus Focus is hosted every Saturday at Shredded Cheddar.  Write a post about your favorite setting and go share your link!

Can you imagine Peter Pan without Neverland?
Lemuel Gulliver without Lilliput and Brobdingnag?
The Pied Piper without Hamelin?

A good setting is more than just a backdrop!

Join us every Saturday as we write about our favourite settings and the books that make them come alive!

I’ve been busy and haven’t made time to do this recently, although I love the idea. It gives me an excuse to go digging for pictures of settings that I like.

I read Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters recently and loved it! Thanks to Allison at The Allure of Books for the recommendation!

Crocodile on the Sandbank takes place in Egypt in the 1880s. Miss Amelia Peabody has embarked on a tour up the Nile to visit all the ancient places that she and her father loved to study together. She is bitten by the archaeology bug when she first visits Giza and sees the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx.  This is her first impression:  “I had seen engravings of the Great Pyramid and read extensively about it; I thought I was prepared for the sight.  But I was not.  It was so much grander than I had imagined!  The massive bulk bursts suddenly on one’s sight as one mounts the steep slope leading up to the rocky platform.  It fills the sky.  And the color!  No black-and-white engraving can possibly prepare one for the color of Egyptian limestone, mellow gold in the sunlight against a heavenly-blue vault.”

Photo of the Great Pyramid and Sphinx
Photo of Khafre’s Pyramid and the Great Sphinx taken by Hamish2k and shared on Wikimedia Commons

Miss Amelia is determined not to be one of those travelers who publishes repetitive memoirs about the “local color” and the scenery, and she’s mostly successful.  She seems to have a soft spot for sunsets though, and has to interrupt her reveries over the amazing sunsets in Egypt pretty frequently.  With sunsets like this, I can see why!

Photo of the Cairo Skyline at Sunset
Photo of Cairo taken by Arria Belli and shared on Wikimedia Commons

Most of the book takes place in Tell el Amarna, where Amelia and her companion meet up with the Emerson brothers, archaeologists excavating the site. In typical fashion, Miss Amelia quickly finds a way to make herself invaluable and pretty much tries to take over things. She has met her match in the oldest Emerson brother though.  Instead of tents, they end up sleeping in some of the hillside tombs.

Photo of the Northern Tombs of Amarna
Photo taken by JLCA and shared on Wikimedia Commons

And this is one of the sites they would have been excavating, The Small Temple of the Aten.

Photo of The Small Temple of the Aten
Photo taken by Alensha and shared on Wikimedia Commons

That’s it for me this week!  Do you feel like a world traveler?  Are there any settings, real or imagined, that you’d like to write about?  Visit Shredded Cheddar, link up, and see where other readers have virtually visited!

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  1. Wow! Gorgeous pictures.
    1880s – 1920s Egypt is one of the most fascinating places ever. So much was going on with the archaeological digs, and the tremors felt as the English Empire began to slip. Shamefully, I don't know nearly enough about it. I tried reading one of the Amelia Peabody books several years ago and couldn't quite get into it, but I think it's time to try again.

  2. I think I'll stick to pictures too. My supervisor at work wanted to cruise up the Nile for her 50th birthday but that didn't happen. Maybe she'll get to do it later. It's great that your friend gets to visit!

  3. I haven't been to Egypt, no, but pictures of it look magical. My sister's best friend is in love with Egypt, though, and this fall his biggest wish will come true: he's travelling to Egypt for two weeks! I myself wouldn't go to Egypt, I confess. It's one of those countries that I love to see in pictures, but wouldn't visit myself. I'm a fan of northern countries, UK, Scandinavia, that area.

  4. Enbrethiliel, it's hard to think about how big it is, especially when you consider that it was built without any machinery! Holy cow! Makes me tired just to think about it! 🙂

    Irena, have you been to Egypt yourself?

  5. What a great meme! You chose such a great setting. Egypt really is breath-taking and your described the setting very well.

  6. +JMJ+

    Great setting! =D A friend of mine visited Egypt recently and blew me away with her own descriptions of the Great Pyramid. It really does fill up the sky when one comes upon it for the first time. It took my breath away to hear that it was over twice as high as my apartment building–not that my building is very high or anything, but that one doesn't really think about how high the Great Pyramid is, does one? =P

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