The first is The Lost King by H.B. Moore. It's the second book in her Omar Zagouri thrillers and it is fantastic. The book starts out with the murder of an Egyptologist and the murderer gets away with a complete version of the Book of the Dead---and this Book of the Dead has the potential to completely restructure what the world believes about the foundation of Christianity. Omar Zagouri is thrown into the mix while he is trying to locate his missing girlfriend Mia Golding and instead ends up trying to bring down an organization who want the fame and riches that this stolen find will bring---and change the world forever, but not for the good.
Woven inside Omar's story is the story of Hatshepsut the female Pharoah and her struggle to rise to that position. It is a love story woven with political intrigue made all the more interesting when it's coupled with the modern-day Omar story and what the archaeologists know about her.
The Lost King is an intricately drawn story with realistic characters both from ancient Egypt and our world today. Omar's story is fast-paced and full of suspense, while Hatshepsut has a slower pace, but just as many reasons to keep turning pages long into the night. I particularly liked the details that made the setting come alive in both the ancient world and modern-day. I thought the balance of old and new was expertly done and couldn't wait to find out what happened to both Omar and Hatshepsut. Combining stories like this is such an original concept for me and I really enjoy how the author effortlessly leads her readers on a thrill ride from one end of Egypt's history to the other. I am already looking forward to the next book in the series!
This is definitely a series I would highly recommend. You can pre-order your copy of The Lost King here for $5.49. This is one that should be on the top of your Christmas list!
Here is the back copy:
Undercover agent Omar Zagouri has been ordered to Giza. A prominent Egyptologist was murdered, and a priceless artifact—the only complete version of the Book of the Dead—is missing. Omar is still reeling from the recent disappearance of his girlfriend, Mia Golding, but he puts his quest to find her on hold to track down the lost piece of history.
Omar’s mission is not just to locate the sacred book; he must also rescue the two archaeologists kidnapped and forced to translate its hieroglyphics under threat of death. Their kidnapper is determined to discover the text’s rumored explosive revelation: that Moses did not receive the Ten Commandments from God but instead copied them from the Egyptians. Though Omar’s need to find Mia grows more urgent, he must focus on finding the enemy who will stop at nothing to ignite a controversy that will change history, and the world, forever.
The second book is Simply Anna by Jennifer Moore. If you've read Ms. Moore's book Becoming Lady Lockwood, you will be able to catch a glimpse of a few of the characters from that book, which is a treat. But Simply Anna is about Anna Wheeler, the nanny to Lady Lockwood's children. They are on a ship to Jamaica, but when her youngest charge leaves a toy up on the deck during a storm, Anna dares to retrieve it and is washed overboard.
In Jamaica, Lord Philip Hamilton has come to get away from London and his fickle fiancee who has thrown him over for his brother. He finds things are very different in Jamaica, though. The servants are helpful, but not overly anxious about his welfare, and his overseer doesn't seem to have any problem beating the slaves for no reason. (I thought the author did a great job handling the delicate subject matter of slavery during this time period.) Thankfully, Lord Philip fires the cruel overseer and puts someone else in his place, but that decision will come back to haunt him.
While Lord Philip is trying to learn the ropes of having a plantation, he comes upon a young woman washed up on the shore. She is nearly dead, but they bring her back to health only to find she has no memory of who she is. He offers to let her stay on as his guest until she can remember, but because of his decision to fire the overseer, things get dangerous.
I loved the main characters in this story and how realistic they were. The author did a great job of fleshing out their back stories and why they reacted as they did in certain situations. The best part, though, is what a wonderful job the author does with the secondary characters. I loved the house staff and it was refreshing to see things from a freed man's perspective and what he'd already been through to get to that point. There was a lot of mystery and intrigue that rounded out the burgeoning romance of our hero and heroine and that kept the book moving along at a steady pace. I really enjoy this author's writing and will look for more from her.
You can buy your copy here for $10.49
Here's the back copy:
In a matter of weeks, this gentle, intelligent, and impossibly beautiful stranger turns Philip’s world upside down. But as the bond between the pair grows, the threat of Philip losing his heart once more is only the beginning of the dangers that await. Island renegades and a ruthless band of pirates clash in a swashbuckling battle, and it soon becomes clear that these villains may be the key to unlocking Anna’s past . . .