Medea the Witch by Dora Benley will be offered free on Amazon Kindle starting Wednesday and continuing for the next five days. But hurry! An offer like this won’t be repeated this year.

Medea the Witch is the story of Jason and Medea told from the point of view of Medea. This is not the more familiar tale of Jason’s voyage to Colchis in which the latter encounters Harpies and monsters at every turn (i.e., the material of the 1950’s movie Jason and the Argonauts), but rather it is the tale of the clash of two very different cultures. Medea comes from the fading world of Goddess worshipers with a long matriarchal tradition. She is suddenly thrust into Jason’s Greek world of the followers of the Sky God Zeus where women are best left behind veils. No one understands her “magic” and she is called a “witch.” She is left to defend herself as best she can. The death of her tradition combines with the havoc wreaked by the Thera volcanic eruption at the end of the Bronze Age to presage the end of her world.
If you liked Medea the Witch, you will like other tales by Dora Benley including Minotaur, Helen of Troy, Book of the Dead, Mary’s Gone, and Latin Lessons.

 

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Chapter 7: Wall Street Swastika: Poor Ophelia
The next morning they went to the first class dining room for breakfast. Nervously Dora looked from side to side. She didn’t see any of the creepy German spies who had haunted them yesterday evening at dinner. Had they all decamped when Edward made the rogue who attacked her walk the plank? Did they want to avoid trouble? Had they been waiting for that ship that had been shadowing them to escape? Had Hitler sent it? Were they on their way to Germany right now?
Dora did not feel comfortable sitting in the dining room where last night they had encountered the rogues. Rita had sent her excuses that she was having breakfast in her cabin. But Dora had to sit there and endure it. Winston always insisted on having a full breakfast pefectly cooked. He said it was the only way to start the day. He had to have his wits about him, and his wits had to be carefully nourished.
He and Edward sat there discussing of all things the Lawrence maps themselves. Edward had them right now up his sleeve. Before the voyage was over they were supposed to rendezvous with Churchill’s best friend, Professor Lindemann of Oxford. The gentleman was aboard the ship right now. Winston was pretending he did not know the man. If they saw him they were not to say hello or wave. In fact, he was sitting across the room right now. Dora turned to see him reading the newspapers all by himself at a table next to the Roman pillar near the kitchen entrance. Waiters zoomed past the physics professor left and right and he did not eyeball one of them. Instead he seemed to be doing the crossword puzzle if Dora had to guess. He was marking things down on the newspaper itself.
“Do you have any word what the Dictator is up to right now since he got word of the crash?” Edward asked very low.
Churchill dug into his poached eggs on toast covered with heavenly hollandaise sauce with bacon on the side. Winston nodded. “I talked to Lindemann last night in secret in the men’s room on the lower level in the dark. He reported that Hitler isn’t wasting any time at all. His speaking engagements had been few and far between until last week. Germany is dependent upon short term loans in particular. The farmers are up in arms, one of Hitler’s bases of power to begin with. Others in the cities are starting to lose their jobs already.”
Dora shook her head. “But can’t they see that the stock market will recover one of these days?”
Edward sighed. “Not soon enough to keep the likes of the slippery footed Hitler out of power.”
“Hitler has been invited to the townhall in Nuremberg entitled Why Democracy Has Failed Germany: Time for a Change.” He sipped his hot chocolate.
Dora tapped her fingers nervously on the table.
“The Hugenberg Press is giving him an interview next week. He is going to emphasize how the Nazis never had anything to do with the Weimar government. He even has his eye on two posts in the Thuringian government. He wants to aim at the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Education. That way he can control the civil service, the police, and the schools. He says he can do anything after that.”
Dora could not believe this nightmare just because of a bad day of Wall Street. All right. A terrible day. But she had to remember that not everybody had her father’s money.
That evening they were going to meet Lindemann in the theater aboard the ship. Once the lights went out they were going to hand over the maps. That was another clever move by Winston.
Dora had gotten there first. She was saving the four seats near the stage. The Royal Shakespearian Theater was putting on Hamlet. Ophelia was about to be buried in a church yard near the castle in Helsingor.
Suddenly a strange man sat down next to Dora. She rose immediately, but he grabbed her by the hand. She did not know whether to scream and attract everybody’s attention. After all, she had the maps in her handbag.
She did not get a chance to think. The lights had just gone out. He slipped his hand over her mouth and put a gun to her back. She was forced to accompany him up the back staircase to the stage. Whatever he was up to she could not imagine. There was a wooden box that resembled a coffin. He was forcing her to climb into it.
No sooner had she laid down than stage hands picked up the coffin and carried her right out into the middle of the stage. The players were declaiming all around her in Act V, Scene 1 of Hamlet. The gravediggers are arguing with each other whether she should be buried here since she committed suicide.
Hamlet and Horatio enter stage left. They are talking about the various graves. Hamlet finds a skull he likes but says in a voice that sounds a bit too familiar to Dora, “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him Horatio!” Why, that sounded like Edward! Or was it her imagination? Had they seen her get kidnapped? Had they sensed an elaborate plot afoot for stealing the maps in the middle of the play?
Suddenly Hamlet sees her coffin. He breaks into lamentations. He claims that he would eat a crocodile for Ophelia or even be buried alive with her. Laertes contradicts Hamlet in the voice of the thug who brought her up here to begin with. She hears Edward shove the thug aside as Claudius and Gertrude enter the stage and declare Hamlet mad. But Hamlet insists on leaning over the coffin of Ophelia and kissing her cheek. She has the maps ready and hands them to Edward.
The curtains close and Dora leaps up out of the coffin of Ophelia. Churchill is stage left calling to her along with Edward still dressed as Hamlet next to the real players who look totally befuddled as Edward, Churchill, and Dora flee the theater to take the elevator to their rooms where Professor Lindemann waits. Dora falls into Edward’s arms. It was another narrow escape.

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Dora and Edward Take Epic Journey Around The World:
In the early 1920’s shortly after Edward surfaced from hiding from German operatives for two years Dora Benley, now Mrs. Byrne, and Edward Ware are forced to make an unexpected trip around the world — all in the line of duty, of course.
Edward is trysting with Dora at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City where they have decided to meet whenever Edward can get leave from his duties at Mid-East Headquarters in Cairo. They run into a team of German operatives sent by the newly rising star of the German National Socialist Party, Adolf Hitler. Hitler has heard that they carry valuable information and that the former Kaiser was tracking them. Now he is interested, too, in the Lawrence maps, key to world domination.
To escape Dora and Edward take off across the Atlantic on an ocean liner. But when arriving in Britain they can hide only so long at the estate of Winston Churchill, Edward’s confederate in the map plot. They head across the Chanel into France and then west through Germany itself chased by Hitler’s agents. They don’t stop as they head through Easter Europe and Iran and Afghanistan, avoiding Russia which at that point was embroiled in revolution and civil war. They even flee across the Pacific in this epic journey to save the military maps that Edward is sworn to protect.

Cheops Books will publish their trip notes about this journey around the world along with photographs including the journal that Dora kept along the way. This Edward Ware Thrillers at War novel as yet has no title. In fact we will hold a contest where you can suggest one. But we just wanted to give you, the reader, notice that you soon will be able to find it on Amazon Kindle.

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The Cheops Pyramid has always represented Cheops Books LLC. Why? It is a symbol of ancient Egypt and the ancient world in general and it seems mysterious, as if its meaning is always eluding you because there is always something you don’t expect and something you don’t know about, and we hope that our readers will always find our books that way, too.
The Cheops Pyramid is an Old Kingdom Pyramid also called the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Pyramid of Khufu. It is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza complex at 455 feet built of 2.3 million stone blocks. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one to still look something the way it did in ancient times. That is the symbol we always put on our book cover.
Now we propose another symbol to add to our website, the ancient Egyptian symbol of Bastet, the cat goddess. We frequently include cats in our thriller novels because cats are elusive and mysterious animals. They were considered sacred in ancient Egypt. They are sacred to Cheops Books, LLC, too. So don’t wonder when you find cats decorating sections of the website and pages in the novels along with the Cheops Pyramid.

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Children of the Hydra’s Teeth are the ultimate special effect of the movie, Jason and the Argonauts, which appear in the climactic scene right before Jason and Medea escape from Colchis carrying the Golden Fleece. They look like something out of an Edgar Allen Poe tale. King Aeetes throws the teeth down on the ground of Colchis. Up spring warriors rising from their graves to avenge the people of Colchis. The Children of the Hydra’s Teeth are carrying swords, the battalion of the dead who cannot be killed because they are already dead.
Ultimately it shows off fears of the wild geography of the Colchis region. It is full of mountains and cliffs along the sea. From any cave, from any crevice can come an enemy or an unexpected creature. That is why something like the Children of the Hydra’s Teeth seem appropriate for the region.
There are no Children of the Hydra’s Teeth at the end of Medea’s Escape. But the sea, the cliffs, and the mountains through which the heroine must escape are equally compelling.

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Ray Harryhausen Special Effects: Jason finally reaches the climactic scene of the movie Jason and the Argonauts in a scene the resonates with the Cheops Books young adult thriller Medea’s Escape. Medea must make her choice to give away the Golden Fleece and follow Jason in the movie. Then Jason must fight the hydra-headed beast that looks like a dinosaur any day. He is almost captured but he frees himself. He is warned that King Aeetes is after him. He and Medea flee toward the Argo with the Argonauts.
In the novel Medea’s Escape, the heroine’s choice is a bit different. But we won’t spoil the plot or the ending in an original rendition of the myth. However the movie once again sets the place and time where the Greeks had wandered into a far off world with a different religion and different customs and did not know what to expect next. Harryhausen Special Effects make you really get into this mind frame.

You can purchase Medea’s Escape on Amazon Kindle for only $5.99.

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Phineas the Blind Man and the Harpies: I emphasized the mastery with which Jason and the Argonauts, the 1963 family mythological film for all ages, pursues special effects. In fact, the whole movie is little more than a connected series of these special effects episodes. They don’t interfere with the plot of the pursuit of the Golden Fleece in any way nor do they interfere with the character presentation. On the contrary, they serve as examples to help illustrate Jason’s growing heroism and self-reliance.
In this episode Jason must defeat the Harpies who plague the seer Phineas the Blind Man to find out how to get to Colchis. The Argonauts trap the Harpies in a net and build a cage. Then they hold a feast with Phineas. He tells them to go through the clashing rocks in five days, then proceed northeast to Colchis. But now Jason and his Argonauts have no god to protect them. Hera can no longer help. He has already asked her the five allowed questions. Now he is on his own just like any hero, which of course builds up to the next special effects scene.
This movie serves as an excellent backdrop for the Cheops Books LLC novel Medea’s Escape. The plot isn’t the same, but the age level is, both rather YA or for all age levels. Both were also inspired by Apollonius of Rhodes who wrote the Argonautica instead of Euripides, which is the more popular version of the myth.

 

Phineas

 

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The film Jason and the Argonauts premiered in 1963, before the great dividing line of 1965 after which movies started to change for the worse. In 1963 movies were often still made the way they were in the 1950’s with characters, action, and setting done in the old-fashioned way. It is a children’s movie at the same time it is a movie for adults. It is educational at the same time it is thrilling and full of action as you watch Jason, the Argo, his crew, and the Princess Medea from Colchis recover the Golden Fleece from the ends of the world and bring it back to Greece. You have the hints of special effects that were later to take over movies starting with Star Wars in 1975, but they are kept in their place and add to the action instead of taking over. The figurehead of the Argo is the Queen of the Gods, Hera. She opens her eyes and talks in a whispery voice to Jason. It is enough to make you think that Greek mythology is real.
There is more to come in part 2 of this movie review tomorrow night. Watching Jason and the Argonauts creates the perfect background for reading Medea’s Escape, the Christmas Kindle Countdown Special offered by Cheops Books LLC this week for only $.99.

 

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Reminder: Medea’s Escape On Kindle Countdown Deal Over Christmas:

The young adult mythological novel, Medea’s Escape, is now available during the Christmas holidays for onl $.99 on Amazon Kindle. It is the Cheops Books LLC Christmas special, which has never been offered before. Find out how the Princess Medea escapes from Colchis on the Black Sea with the Golden Fleece and her new love, Jason, from Greece all while you try out your new Christmas Kindle or other reading device.
This is not your usual evil Medea as presented by the Greek dramatist, Euripides, who later kills her children just to spite the faithless Jason. And Medea’s Escape does not present the faithless, philandering Jason. This version of the tale is based on the later Hellenistic version of the tale by Apollonius of Rhodes who wrote the Argonautica, which is also the basis for the one-time Harryhausen Hollywood movie from 1963. It is a happier tale with a happier ending full of mood, atmosphere, and setting — and certainly more young adult. Back in ancient times there was no one correct version of a myth. Writers made up their own. So I am following in this tradition two thousand five hundred years later.

 

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