Day of the False King: A Novel of Murder in Ancient Babylon
  • Day of the False King: A Novel of Murder in Ancient Babylon
  • Day of the False King: A Novel of Murder in Ancient Babylon

Day of the False King: A Novel of Murder in Ancient Babylon

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by Brad Geagley
     
 

INTRODUCTION

Day of the False King continues the story of Semerket, Egypt's clerk of Investigations and Secrets. The time is approximately 1150 BCE, and the conspirators who plotted the overthrow of Pharaoh Ramses III have been tried and executed. But the old pharaoh has succumbed to the wounds

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Overview

INTRODUCTION

Day of the False King continues the story of Semerket, Egypt's clerk of Investigations and Secrets. The time is approximately 1150 BCE, and the conspirators who plotted the overthrow of Pharaoh Ramses III have been tried and executed. But the old pharaoh has succumbed to the wounds inflicted by his Theban wife, Queen Tiya; it is his first-born son who now rules Egypt as his chosen successor, Ramses IV.

Day of the False King takes place mainly in the city of Babylon (ancient Iraq). Geographically placed at the center of the Old World, where East literally meets West, Babylon was the crossroads for conquering armies and adventuresome merchants, and the prize of dynasts. From cruel tyrants to far-seeing visionaries, an ever-changing set of rulers have claimed Babylon's throne as their own. But they were not god-kings as in Egypt; in fact, there was no term for "king" in any of the Babylonian languages. Instead, they were called simply "strong man" or "big man." Then as now only martial strength determined who ruled. Strangely, or perhaps inevitably, the rights of the individual were first codified and set down as laws here.

Around the time that Day of the False King occurs, the Middle East is undergoing — just as it is today — a tortuous, protracted transformation. The old regimes have vanished, setting the stage for the aggressive emergence of the new nations of Phoenicia, Israel, and the Philistines; it is the fourth of these new peoples, the Assyrians, who will achieve dominance in the years ahead.

Babylonia in particular has suffered a series ofcataclysms. The old Kassite Dynasty, themselves invaders from the north, has been toppled. The nation of Elam (soon to be known as Persia) has launched a massive war to conquer Babylonia from the southeast. Native tribes in the country also see this moment as their own chance to evict the foreigners and re-establish a dynasty of their own.

Into this roiling alchemy Semerket's adored ex-wife, Naia, is thrust. She and Rami, the tomb-maker's son, have been banished to Babylon as indentured servants — punishment for their accidental roles in the Harem Conspiracy against Ramses III.

As in the first novel, most of the events in Day of the False King actually happened, and many of the characters actually existed. The Elamite invader King Kutir and the native-born Marduk truly vied for the throne of Babylonia. There really was a festival called Day of the False King, where the entire world turned upside down for a day, when slaves ruled as masters — when the most foolish man in Babylon was chosen to become king.

Brad Geagley

Copyright © 2006 by Brad Geagley

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Geagley revisits ancient Egypt-the scene of his successful 2005 debut Year of the Hyenas-and his detective hero Semerket, Egypt's clerk of investigations and secrets, in this masterful historical mystery. In the first novel, Semerket exposed a conspiracy to kill the pharaoh and seize the throne; repercussions linger as this adventure opens. The celebrated detective grieves for his adored ex-wife Naia, who was caught in the dragnet following the failed coup and banished to Mesopotamia. As luck would have it, the ailing pharaoh, Ramses IV, sends his trusted detective on a mission to Babylon to seek permission to bring the statue of Bel-Marduk-"Babylon's most sacred idol" which is believed to have curative powers-on a state visit to Egypt. The narrative begins at a leisurely pace but soon speeds up when Semerket arrives in Mesopotamia, which is in the throes of an indigenous rebellion against its latest conquerors. Caught between warring factions and stalked by the surviving conspirators of his previous adventure, Semerket must summon all his skill to survive in a foreign land where nothing is as it seems, even the identity of his wife, Naia. With his abundant knowledge of ancient history and well-crafted prose, Geagley has created a hero with staying power and a series to watch. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Just bumped up a month, this sequel to Year of the Hyenas brings back 12th-century B.C.E. Egyptian gumshoe Semerket, who faces shady doings in Babylonia (now called Iraq). With a seven-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In his second adventure, Egyptian cop Semerket makes a move on a Babylonian god. Bel-Marduk is a famously curative deity sorely needed by a seriously ill Pharaoh. Ramses IV has given up on the local gods who, despite being worshipped with bountiful gifts and unstinting sacrifices, seem unable or unwilling to help. "Death," Ramses tells Semerket, "gnaws at my vitals." Why tap his Clerk of Investigations and Secrets for so critical a mission? Because Semerket is hot, having recently cracked the murder case (Year of the Hyena, 2005) that broke up a conspiracy and saved Ramses his throne and possibly his neck. The detective signs on, promising to return in good time, god in tow. Semerket, however, has his own agenda. His beloved wife Naia has disappeared in Babylon after being exiled for insufficient cause by the previous Pharaoh. True, rumors of her murder are persistent, but her yearning husband has never believed them. So off he goes, charged by Ramses as well as his own powerful longing to murky, quirky Babylon, a place where danger is ubiquitous and betrayal a constant threat. But brave, clever Semerket, a man who can get his black eyes to glitter on demand, is made for trouble and for multi-tasking. Babylon comes to life; the characters mostly don't.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743250818
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
01/28/2006
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Day of the False King

A Novel of Murder in Ancient Babylon
By Brad Geagley

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2006 Brad Geagley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0743250818

INTRODUCTION

Day of the False King continues the story of Semerket, Egypt's clerk of Investigations and Secrets. The time is approximately 1150 BCE, and the conspirators who plotted the overthrow of Pharaoh Ramses III have been tried and executed. But the old pharaoh has succumbed to the wounds inflicted by his Theban wife, Queen Tiya; it is his first-born son who now rules Egypt as his chosen successor, Ramses IV.

Day of the False King takes place mainly in the city of Babylon (ancient Iraq). Geographically placed at the center of the Old World, where East literally meets West, Babylon was the crossroads for conquering armies and adventuresome merchants, and the prize of dynasts. From cruel tyrants to far-seeing visionaries, an ever-changing set of rulers have claimed Babylon's throne as their own. But they were not god-kings as in Egypt; in fact, there was no term for "king" in any of the Babylonian languages. Instead, they were called simply "strong man" or "big man." Then as now only martial strength determined who ruled. Strangely, or perhaps inevitably, the rights of the individual were first codified and set down as laws here.

Around the time that Day of the False King occurs, the Middle East is undergoing -- just as it is today -- a tortuous, protracted transformation. The old regimes have vanished, setting the stage for the aggressive emergence of the new nations of Phoenicia, Israel, and the Philistines; it is the fourth of these new peoples, the Assyrians, who will achieve dominance in the years ahead.

Babylonia in particular has suffered a series of cataclysms. The old Kassite Dynasty, themselves invaders from the north, has been toppled. The nation of Elam (soon to be known as Persia) has launched a massive war to conquer Babylonia from the southeast. Native tribes in the country also see this moment as their own chance to evict the foreigners and re-establish a dynasty of their own.

Into this roiling alchemy Semerket's adored ex-wife, Naia, is thrust. She and Rami, the tomb-maker's son, have been banished to Babylon as indentured servants -- punishment for their accidental roles in the Harem Conspiracy against Ramses III.

As in the first novel, most of the events in Day of the False King actually happened, and many of the characters actually existed. The Elamite invader King Kutir and the native-born Marduk truly vied for the throne of Babylonia. There really was a festival called Day of the False King, where the entire world turned upside down for a day, when slaves ruled as masters -- when the most foolish man in Babylon was chosen to become king.

Brad Geagley

Copyright © 2006 by Brad Geagley



Continues...


Excerpted from Day of the False King by Brad Geagley Copyright © 2006 by Brad Geagley. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author


Brad Geagley worked for many years as a producer in the entertainment industry. History and writing were Geagley's real loves, however. He is currently at work on his second novel in the Semerket series, Day of the False King, and on a new stage play and screenplay. Geagley lives in Palm Springs, California, and can be reached through his website at yearofthehyenas.com.

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