The return of Star Wars has made space opera all the rage again, but we’ve got just as much love in our hearts for Indiana Jones—which is why we’re so excited Angry Robot books has asked us to spread the word about a new book they’re releasing next year that involves an adventuring Egyptologist, grave-robbing ghouls, evil monks, and a chase from the Middle East to Los Angeles. It’s Fury from the Tomb, the first fantastical adventure from Steven Sidor, a celebrated author of dark crime thrillers (writing here as S.A. Sidor).
We’ll show you the official summary from the book, coming in May 2018, but you’ll want to keep reading for a guest post from the author, who shares from of his favorite tales featuring mummies.
Saqqara, Egypt, 1888, and in the booby-trapped tomb of an ancient sorcerer, Rom, a young Egyptologist, makes the discovery of a lifetime: five coffins and an eerie, oversized sarcophagus. But the expedition seems cursed, for after unearthing the mummies, all but Rom die horribly. He faithfully returns to America with his disturbing cargo, continuing by train to Los Angeles, home of his reclusive sponsor. When the train is hijacked by murderous banditos in the Arizona desert, who steal the mummies and flee over the border, Rom—with his benefactor’s rebellious daughter, an orphaned Chinese busboy, and a cold-blooded gunslinger – must ride into Mexico to bring the malevolent mummies back. If only mummies were their biggest problem…
For his crime writing, Steven “S.A.” Sidor has been called “a master of the unsettling by Publisher’s Weekly, and certainly those talents will serve him well when it comes to writing about grave robbing ghouls, no? We can’t wait to see what he he has in store for us…
Maybe his picks for the best books about mummies will give us a few hints? Here he is:
5 Books About Mummies
“But mummies aren’t fast. You can just run away from them.”
That’s what I told my dad when I was kid. It was a hot summer weekend and we were inside the house watching a Creature Feature, and debating who, or what, was the scariest movie monster. My dad picked The Mummy. “The mummy doesn’t need to be fast,” my dad said. “It doesn’t matter if you run. He’s going to get you eventually.”
That bugged me. First, because I didn’t understand what he was saying, then later it creeped me out because I thought I did. The idea crawled under my skin. It stayed there. I thought about it when I was trying to fall asleep at night. Decades later, I still think about it.
The mummy monster is caught between Life and Death. He doesn’t follow the rules. He’s been trapped for a long damn time and he’s pissed. That makes him dangerous. This old guy just doesn’t care about you. He’s got nothing to lose. He’s out of the box, literally. Now he has his own plan and he’s sticking to it. As sand trickles off him, he’s a walking nightmare about what Time can do to destroy the body, mind, and spirit. He’s a reminder that we are all being stalked slowly, doggedly, by the end of things: the dark mouth of the tomb. The eventual.
And it’s not pretty.
Searching for memorable mummies in fiction, I found a lot of sand and little treasure. But like a mysterious door uncovered in the desert, the surprise of discovery offers a singular thrill.
The Jewel of Seven Stars, by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker (yes, that Bram Stoker) wrote a dozen novels. The Jewel of Seven Stars is a star among them. More readers need to know about his mummy book. The mood is amply creepy. Stoker indulges in some wacky radioactive science, but it makes for lively reading. Stoker’s deep interests in Egyptology, occultism, and mesmerism shine through. The story served as inspiration for at least three movies, Hammer Film’s Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb being the stylish pick of the bunch.
The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned, by Anne Rice
Anne Rice (yes, that Anne Rice) delivers the biggest bona fide bestseller of the mummy subgenre, and deservedly so. The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned is elegant, seductive, and a totally immersive reading experience. Rice hooks you and pulls you into the world she creates. The atmosphere is thick and erotically charged. A cinematic novel about love, limits, and the yearning for eternity. Read it, re-read it. Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra is at the top of my pre-order list this season. Anne Rice and her son, Christopher Rice, join forces to tell the next chapter in Ramses and Cleopatra’s journey/battle through the ages. Mother and son collaborating to write about the elixir of life! Fans like me have waited a long time for this sequel.
The Third Gate, by Lincoln Child
If techno thrills and action-packed yarns are more your speed, then try The Third Gate, by Lincoln Child. Child is famous for the bestselling thrillers he coauthors with Douglas Preston, but his solo series about investigator and enigmalogist Professor Jeremy Logan is propulsive, entertaining adventure where science meets the supernatural. Have a taste for ancient curses, treasure-hunting, Egyptian historical factoids, or a mucky swamp called the Sudd? Looking for a pharaoh’s lost tomb, but hate sand? Proceed to The Third Gate for fast, funky fun.
The Mammoth Book of the Mummy, edited by Paula Guran
Short stories about mummies might be even better than novels. The Mammoth Book of the Mummy, edited by Paula Guran, brings together some of the best tales by nineteen modern writers. Karen Joy Fowler’s “Private Grave 9” alone is worth the price. I could say the same about Joe R. Lansdale’s “Bubba-Ho-Tep” or Kage Baker’s “The Queen in Yellow.” Really, none of these varied stories misses the mark. This collection shows the current boundaries of what’s possible within the mummy subgenre as it points the way ahead. But a bandaged creature is in pursuit, with its arms outstretched, and a tenacious grip locked on our imagination.