~What do "The Ten Commandments," "Hellboy," and "Treasure Island" have in Common?~

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Charlton Heston as Moses
Charlton Heston as Moses | Source

What does “The Ten Commandments,” "Hellboy," “Treasure Island,” “The Egyptian”, "King Soloman's Mines," and “The Gold of Mansa Musa,” have in common?

Answer: They are all based upon historical events.

And all but "Treasure Island" have somethingt to do with Egypt, but we will get to that one in a moment.

I’ve always been fascinated by Egypt.

I didn’t know that much about it when I decided to write a romantic novel in an Egyptian setting. I imagine that most of us know that the land of Egypt has the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Valley of Kings. Most everyone has seen the Ten Commandments movie with Charlton Heston and the scene with the slaves dragging the huge stone to the construction site (although it is not historically accurate). Most of us have knowledge of King Tut’s Tomb and that may very well wrap up the highlights for us.

I wanted to take my reader to the big attractions and then on to many of the out of the way nooks and crannies. What would it be like to be lost in a desert storm, locked in a forgotten pyramid, or to participate in an archeological dig? After reading a few novels along this line, I was ready to write the novel that I would want to read. Yes, it would be the novel that had not been written and I would absolutely love! Well, OK then, I was writing a novel for me—something I would be proud of and, with any luck, others might enjoy it too.

More than that, it would be the novel in which I buckled down and taught myself the craft of writing. I had completed the first draft of “Seeds from Heaven” and realized that I was a long way from being much of a writer. I could come back and rewrite “Seeds from Heaven” later. I spent a long time studying a shelf of books on, how to write professionally. I found a few popular novels to read with Egyptian themes. I could utilize the characters from “Seeds from Heaven” in my novel and perhaps create a series.

I needed a hook, something big. Eventually I ran across the story of Mansa Musa. For anyone studying North African history, this was the equivalent of George Washington fighting in the American Revolution—first grade stuff. When I came across this piece of history, I was hooked. Important as this was to North African history, there was never more than a paragraph or two that mentioned his hajj to Mekka.

I knew how Robert Louis Stevenson must have felt when he did the research that led to the writing of “Treasure Island.” In fact, I ended up doing exactly the same research as RLS and will eventually write a novel about the Spanish and the Peruvian conquests that will lead to a modern day romantic adventure.


Mansa Musa
Mansa Musa | Source
Mansa Musa
Mansa Musa | Source
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Gold of Mansa Musa
Gold of Mansa Musa | Source

Mansa can be translated to mean “king” and that would make “Mansa Musa” to mean “King Musa.” He was one of the most loved kings of all time. His North African Empire was funded with gold from the largest gold mines of Africa.

In 1324, he decided to make a hajj to the Mekka and formed one of the largest caravans in history. Sixty thousand citizens made the trip from Timbuktu, along with one hundred camels laden with gold. It must have been spectacular in every way. The Persians were astounded when he rode through Cairo and eventually on to Mekka. He was popular, by all accounts, as he gave away much of the gold as he passed from village to village!

King Solomon’s Mines, a popular novel written by H. Rider Haggard in 1885, also comes to mind here. In his colorful story, a group of adventurers is led by Allan Quatermain into the wilds of Africa in search of the legendary mines mentioned to exist during biblical times. This was the first adventure novel with a Lost World literary genre.

More recently, a novel by Paul Sussman, “The Lost army of Cambyses” is based upon the loss of an entire army around 522 BC in a blinding sandstorm. Although many Egyptologists regard this as a myth, there have been excavations in which it is thought the remains may have been unearthed. The Lost Army also pops up in a popular 2003 Hellboy novel by Christopher Golden.

The lost army is thought to be somewhere near Siwa, an oasis that houses the Siwa Oracle. The Templeof the Oracle became one of the sites in “The Gold of Mansa Musa.”

Here is an excerpt:

Minutes later the Trailblazer found its way through a dense palm forest that led to the massiveTemple of the Oracle. Ci said, “Did you know that this is the original Oracle, not that stuffy Oracle used by the Greeks?”

“I did not know that,” said Quentin as he looked suspiciously at Ci. “You are a fountain of information today.”

Ramazani added, “And Alexander the Great did a consultation here around 322 B.C.”

“I am amazed at both of you. How in the world do you—”

Ramazani stepped to the side, revealing a sign. “It says so right here!

Suma Rungu has always said, ‘Open your eyes and you will see’.”

"Et tu Ramazani, the two of you are shameful.” Quentin shook his head in apparent disbelief while he rummaged through a box in the back of the four-wheeler. “Ah, here it is.” He pulled out a pair of binoculars and strung it around his neck. “Let’s see where two Mandingos and a camel became lost eight hundred years ago.”

They strode through the temple and out the back they could see the Sahara stretching far off into the horizon. Quentin scanned the landscape with the binoculars.

Ci sat on the ledge of a deteriorated wall with Ramazani. “This is another place that could use a makeover.”

“Business must have dropped off,” commented Ramazani languidly.

“Hey Quentin, see anything out there?” wondered Ci.

“No, wait a minute I do see something way out there. It is either a camel with two humps or, oh my—two camels that are—”

“Forget the two camels. See anything else—like maybe a sign poking out of the sand saying ‘come and get the lost treasure of Mansa Musa.’ That would save us a lot of exertion.”

An old woman dressed in black rags and a hooked nose hobbled into view and settled on the opposite wall. “Psst, Quentin—I think this is fate. Maybe she is the Oracle and can help us.”

Ramazani said, “What do you think, Quentin—is she a tourist?”

Quentin gave the old hag a brief glance and continued studying the landscape. “Well, she doesn’t look like the typical tourist.”

“Psst, Quentin,” whispered Ci, “I am going to talk to her. Let’s all go to her—she looks so lonely all by herself.”

The old hag made a gesture that indicated Ci should sit with her and said with a shrill whispered cackle, “Come my sweet, you have nothing to fear.”

“Come on Quentin, she wants to talk to me—maybe not you, but that is OK.”

When the trio had settled on the opposite wall the hag said, “I am the Sassouma, Keeper of the Oracle. You have come to have your fortune told.”

“Yes,” said Ci, now quite excited, “we have come to discover our future….”

Art from "Gold of Mansa Musa"
Art from "Gold of Mansa Musa" | Source
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I remember reading “The Egyptian” by Mica Waltari at least two times in high school and then I’ve seen the movie starring Jean Simmons and Victor Mature. Horemeb, played by Victor Mature, is a physician to the pharaohs and falls hopelessly in love with a gal who cares little for him and he ends up penniless writing his memoirs in a foreign land. The novel has quite a bit of detail in the mummification process and it is with this experience that he learns human anatomy like no other.

Yep—using Egypt for a setting offers lots of excitement for a reader. I will admit I have never visited this romantic land. Maybe one day—and then maybe not—I love the romance and I would never want to lose that. I can dream and write of faraway places and take my readers with me—

That’s all for now.

RJ

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Be among the first to review the eBook, "The Gold of Mansa Musa." Available worldwide.

Book 2 of the "Seeds from Heaven" series.


Read the Epic Romantic Novel that delves into the legends

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Comments 26 comments

christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Thanks for the intro RJ. I hope the book does really well.

The excerpt on it's own brings the character to life.

You should go to Egypt sometime. It's a fascinating country, and the egyptians are very friendly.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Yep-I'd bet I'd love Egypt. Thank you for the comment Christopher!


PenMePretty 5 years ago from Franklin

Wonderful work. I am impressed! Warm wishes for the best, always.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Thank you PenMePretty for the favorable comment. I always appreciate your support.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Hey Reynold its a pretty good hub. We gotta pull you up from that score buddy. Did you know Bella Darvi was Zanucks mistress and only made a handful of movies before audiences wouldn't go see her flicks. Poor woman wound up taking her own life. Hollywood, the boulevard of broken dreams eh.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Hi Alastar! Nope- I didn't know about Bella Darvi at all. I'll look her up in Wikipedia and see what went on there. Thank you for checking in today. I had a score around 70 last week and then it plumeted and has hit rock bottom. Strange thing is that I have only posted this HUB and an interview that I did with Wendall Shinn on his new book. And it hit the one mark before I posted this HUB.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Reynold strange is the optimal word all round, your not alone. Darvi was an amalgamation of Zanuck and his wife Virginia's first names. Rumor was it became a menage a trois. Bella had it hard in Poland during the Nazi years and Z tried to make a movie star out of her. She was attractive and could act some but audiences couldn't stand her. Z eventually got tired of paying off her gambling debts and lack of screen success so dumped her. Everything was downhill after that. Great subject for an article. Be my guest, maybe it'll help you go back up or over 70. If you don't I might, if someone doesn't swipe the idea first..lol.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

I read the article on her at Wikipedia and she sounds like a total mess with her personal life. I'm not gonna write a HUB about her. It's yours if you want it and you'll probably shoot to the 100 mark with it.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

When hell freezes over Reynold. Nah, I'm just enjoying the site and great folks here; might write an article on her though, the stories my kind of meat.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

And it could end up a best seller/top movie etc. She was a wild child and Spielberg would turn it into a big winner. Rags to riches and then back to hell.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

HaHa Reynold you it got boy! Classic tag-line. Hows this for a title: The Rise and Fall of Bella Darvi: Mistress to a Mogul. Give it a try R.....


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Nah, lets make it topical: Bella Darvi and Aliens in Hollywood. Produced by Steven Spielburg.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

I like the Aliens. It'll sell a big bunch of tickets with that title. I'll have whatever you are drinking this morning!


angie ashbourne profile image

angie ashbourne 5 years ago

Hi! Reynold Great Hub! Every Easter I watch The Ten Commandents. I have a book on Egypt. Vote up Angie


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Hello Reynold Jay. This sounds really like a book I would read and enjoy. I also love Egypt and the romance of ages from that amazing country.

How did you create that art for "Gold of Mansa Musa." It is beautiful. Regards, Hyph.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

You like the A's Reynold. How bout this: " Bella Darvi Meets Aliens In Hell" produced by Steven Spielberg. Hi Hyph, gonna check out your awesome podcast on the HP tonight!


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Hyphenbird. I was toying around with the microsoft paint program a while back and got lucky with the concept. My original thought was to do some roughs and it ended up a finished product.I felt it was terriffic and I went with it for the entire series. Each cover is slightly different. You are the first to mention it. Podcast? I need to know more.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

I think you found the perfect title! Who could ever resist it?


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Thank you Alastar. Simone did a great job in recording it.

RJ, One of my creative writing stories was featured on the weekly podcast. I am SO excited.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Gets the imagination soaring!


lsin82 profile image

lsin82 5 years ago from Houston

This seems like it is going to be a very interesting and entertaining piece. It seems like a novel that will catch and keep my attention. I'm looking forward to reading it...


Mcham Law profile image

Mcham Law 5 years ago from Round Rock, Texas

Great stuff RJ! Love the Hellboy connection. That's what hooked me to read the hub and I'm glad I did. Voting you up for great content and following to see what you do next!


New 2011 Mom profile image

New 2011 Mom 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

I found this randomly and it reminds of a book I wanted to write a short while ago, but I never got the time to. Hopefully I will get the chance o read this though, it seems very good and very interesting!


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Hub did not send me notice that comments were arriving and now I will respond to it all.

Hypenbird--Congratulations on the PODCAST. If anyone deserves some recognition it is you!

Gypsy Rose Lee--I felt Egypt was a romatic place to have an adventure and had a lot of fun researching for the settings.

Isn82-- Thanks for the offer to read it. Please keep in touch on this and I like your Hubs too. I read your current HUB and commented there. This book could be helpful for you as the main character blossoms as she encounters the problems of life. Seeds from Heaven might be the better selection as the characters are males that you would more easily identify.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Mcham Law--Carry your status at HUBS as a badge of honor! I am curious what lead to your present circumstance. Please write me personal message, of write it here with the idea I will delete it, not for others.

Hey--I gotta ONE rating and one more bad thing I will be outta here!


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

New 2011 MOM-- I want you to please keep in touch as you are somewhat alone in the world now, but that will not last forever. Your HUBS are heartbreaking for me to read. You are frightened with all that is before you. I'll be here for you. Think of me as your grandfather and we will do well.

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