This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Before you throw in even a lick of fiction, history in itself is full of great stories. One that has always held particular interest for me is that of Howard Carter and the race to find the tomb of King Tut. For a brief time, the glamorous 1920s converged with ancient and mysterious Egypt, and high-society gaiety found itself in the midst of grave robbers, dust storms and deadly curses.
This is the subject and setting of Sally Beauman’s intoxicating new novel, The Visitors.
Sent abroad to Egypt in 1922 to recover from the typhoid that killed her mother, eleven-year-old Lucy is caught up in the intrigue and excitement that surrounds the obsessive hunt for Tutankhamun's tomb. She is joined by a host of real and fictional characters. Seamlessly blending truth with huge dollops of fiction, Beauman really does put an interesting spin on the story you think you know.
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Be warned, at 400 pages the novel is an investment. Perseverance pays off, however, when, thanks to Beauman’s expert prose, Egypt really comes alive on the page. As you read, you can practically feel the heat of the Valley of the Kings at midday as desert dust settles on your skin during one of the digs. The breeze across the verandah is a welcome one when you join Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon for tea amidst gossip and scandal. And the oppressive yet electric atmosphere inside the tombs is enough to leave the hair on the back of your neck standing on end. Throw in plenty of secrets, obsession and intrigue and it’s a story that’s both powerful and haunting.A vivid portrait of a fascinating time period with plenty of costume drama, glamour and mystery to boot, The Visitors is a novel to be savoured.