Saturday, 6 August 2011

Whispers in the Sand by Barbara Erskine

Recently divorced, Anna Fox needs a change in her life.  Once her dear Aunt Phyllis suggests she visit Egypt, Anna can't get that location out of her mind.  In the mid nineteenth century her great grandmother Louisa visited Egypt and created a wealth of painting of the sites she visited.  She also left a travel diary, which Phyllis bestowed to her.  Hidden in the depths of both women's stories are those of the ancient priests Anhotep and Hatsek.  Both died a violent death at the hands of the other, yet their souls have remained bound to the earth until they have settled that which they left unfinished.

At first I thought that this was a 'time travel' story, rather it is a story that is told in three different time periods.  First, the priests who lived over 3000 years ago, Louisa who travelled to Egypt about 150 years ago and finally Anna in an unspecified modern year.  I had no trouble knowing when I was at any time.  Ms. Erskine used a different 'voice' for each time period.

I loved the comparison of the locations during the varied time periods.  It must have been wonderful to visit the sites long before they became overwhelmed by tourists.  The descriptions were so vivid that I was able to imagine myself within the story as a passenger on the ship.  Makes me long to add Egypt to my travel list.

The only thing I didn't like about the novel, was the resolution of the 'scent bottle'.  I understand that it couldn't be broken or lost, but I was expecting for a final answer.  All in all, a most enjoyable read.  I am next looking forward to reading Lady of Hay, an earlier book by Barbara Erskine.

Also by Barbara Erskine:
Time's Legacy

Barbara Erskine's Website

Links to some of the many places visited in the book:
Ancient Egypt Online - The Eye of Horus
Colossi of Memnon
Theban Mapping Project - Valley of Kings
Sacred Destinations - Temple of Edfu
Eyelid Productions - Kom Ombo
Eyelid Productions - Temple of Isis
Bible Places - Abu Simbel

Unfinished oblisk - photo courtesy Ancient Wisdom

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