Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Favorite Authors: Lauren Haney
Lauren Haney, author of the Lieutenant Bak mysteries. Haney's novels about the hardworking policeman of ancient Egypt are full of dust and sweat and realistic depictions of the people and politics of upper Egypt during the rein of Queen Hatshepsut. These novels are great mysteries with characters who come alive as real people. She has opened my mind to what Egypt was like in the way a history book never could.
Our hero, Lieutenant Bak, managed to get himself in trouble with Queen Maatkare Hatshepsut, one of the few women to rule Egypt, when he raided the wrong house of pleasure, one favored by the Egyptian elite. So, he basically got demoted, and sent south to Upper Egypt to a remote outpost, the fortress of Buhen along the Nile, where he must work hard to redeem himself acting as the local chief of police.
I like Lieutenant Bak, not just because he is tall, good looking, and knows how to fight from a chariot, but because he is intelligent, smarter than the average Egyptian; ethical, which is how he got into his current line of work; and without prejudice. He works with the Medjay troops, the local police force, made up of Nubians from the local area. There are Nubian rebels to deal with out in the desert as well, so there's a level of cautionary distrust between most Egyptians and most Nubians, but Lieutenant Bak trusts his troops and develops a close relationship with them that helps him get out of many a tough spot. The mysteries are well thought out; the research into the historical background enriches the stories; the glimpses into a life lived long ago in a land so different from our own is a real plus.
Take a journey to Egypt with Lieutenant Bak as he travels the Nile, hunts for bandits or missing travelers in the desert, or chases down a murderer across the rooftops of Buhen. You won't be disappointed.
Lieutenant Bak novels in order of publication:
The Right Hand of Amon (1997)
A Face Turned Backward (1999)
A Vile Justice (1999)
A Curse of Silence (2000)
A Place of Darkness (2001)
A Cruel Deceit (2002)
Flesh of the God (2003)
A Path of Shadows (2003)
There will be no more Lieutenant Bak books, according to the author, but she is hopefully working on a new book. Read more about that here: http://mysteryscenemag.com/whw98.pdf