I’m an admitted lover of Egyptian history. I don’t study it or even search out books about it to read in my spare time, so I wouldn’t exactly call myself an aficionado. But, if you mention anything about the ancient culture, people or their art, I get this silly little giddy feeling inside. I suppose, more than anything, you could say I am charmed by the mystery and achievements of a great and powerful civilization that all but vanished overnight, and I sure would read a book about them if you put it in my hands, which is why I picked up Elizabeth Guest’s Night Life.
Okay, so the cover art helped, too. In fact, that’s what caught my attention. I know what you’re thinking, it was the gorgeous guy on the cover, but sad to say, delightfully sexy as he is, it was the hieroglyphics and the superimposed sarcophagus that caught my attention. There’s just something magnetic about that imagery. Maybe it harkens back to my college days when I studied the Egyptian art and culture during art history — it was my favorite part of the course. They were certainly a fascinating people, incredible craftsmen, engineers and artisans, but so much mystery surrounds them still — and you know how we humans love a mystery. The mystical and enigmatic air that permeates ancient Egyptian history creates a very fertile field for the imagination, and Elizabeth Guest happily sows that field with Night Life, the first installment in the Pharaohs Rising series.
The premise in this opening chapter is a dazzling and intriguing one: bringing the last and greatest Egyptian king back to life — as a vampire — to exist in modern times. The great Merneptah Seti, betrayed to his death by those closest to him, has awakened from his tomb and now walks the earth as Adrian King, a multi-billionaire ruling over his financial empire from the Royal Palace hotel and casino in Las Vegas. He is a man out of time but not out of place. He is powerful, sometimes ruthless, but nevertheless honorable. He is a king and behaves as a king, regal and wise, and defiant of the sickness within him that would make him an Eater of Blood and Breaker of Bones. It is a battle he fears he is close to losing even as he senses the encroachment of a malevolent presence, but he is resolute. He will not surrender to the blood cravings and he will face head-on those who would destroy him. His only solace is found in his dreams and the beautiful woman who has haunted them for millennia — the gifted Egyptologist Dr. Christine Day.
Christine is a modern woman whose passion is the past that has enamored her family of archaeologists for generations. All her life she has searched for Merneptah Seti, her uncanny vision into the past guiding her and fueling her “waking” dreams of a mysterious lover who takes her like no other. What will she do when she suddenly and unexpectedly learns that the men are one in the same, and alive and well in Las Vegas, Nevada? What will he do when he discovers that the woman of his dreams is real and standing in his kingdom in Sin City? What will they do as ancient evil approaches, intent on death and destruction?
To find out, you have to read Night Life, which I found to be a delightful, if fictionalized, look into the past, and a welcome diversion of mystery, suspense and romance on a lazy weekend. Her characters are vividly drawn, the story compelling, and the passion between Adrian and Christine sublimely romantic and erotic. I am anxious to read more in this series, though, I do hope that Ms. Guest fleshes things out more in the next installment. This was a book I wanted to go on a little longer; it was good but left me hungry for more, particularly to read more of her intricate descriptions that pay homage to the artistry and grandeur of a civilization that is evidenced now only in relics and eroding monuments in the sand.
Have you read Night Life? If so, please feel free to leave a comment to let us and other readers know what you think!