Coming Goodreads Giveaway For Book Of The Dead:
Missed the last special promotion several months ago? Heard about the Book of the Dead by Dora Benley? Want to take a peek? Soon you will get your chance. Coming in January and February Amazon will be giving away up to one hundred copies of the historical thriller and historical horror novel, Book of the Dead. Never heard of this before? It is something brand new to ring in the New Year of 2018. You could easily be one of the lucky winners. Watch for the promotion in this blog post on http://www.edwardwarethrillers.org, the news feed for Cheops Books, LLC and the exclusive publisher of Linda Cargill and Dora Benley mystery and suspense fiction.
As soon as the King family settles in their new house in Cairo things begin to change rapidly. On Leona’s birthday her stepdaughter gives her an ancient scroll full of hieroglyphics. Her husband tells Leona it is a Book of the Dead, an ancient Egyptian text full of spells and magic chants to help the newly dead person gain admission into the afterlife, the Land of the Setting Sun. The scroll is to help him avoid getting eaten by the Devourer after his heart is weighed on the scales of truth against a feather and found wanting. Leona has no idea where Margaret got such a scroll. She remembers seeing her in the souk, taking something from a woman covered with dark veils from head to foot with only a claw-like hand protruding.
From that moment on Leona’s once perfect world closes in on her. She finds herself kidnapped, locked in a tomb, nearly driven mad, and tormented by an Egyptian spirit who has somehow been loosed on her. She must fight for her very life in this supernatural novel about Egyptian archaeology in the 1920’s.
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Helga In The Tower of London:
“Edward,” Churchill exclaimed, “you did not let me know about Helga von Wessel!” He threw out his arms to take in the whole dining room at the Savoy. “She surprised me by barging in here. I didn’t invite her. She invited herself.”
Edward tried to get hold of himself. He had not been expecting this at all. Even his wife hung back in the shadows unseen by Helga, bracing herself for she did not know what would come next. But he had to think fast.
“I did not have a chance to tell you, sir,” Edward forced himself to step into the room though his wife continued to hang back in the shadows beyond the doorway. “I was imprisoned in an Ice Palace in Denali National Park. I could not communicate with anyone until I managed to escape. You got one report from me then. But basically I was trying to get back here as fast as possible to talk to you first.”
Helga threw back her head and laughed. “You know you cannot escape me, Edward. You should know that by now. Just because you slipped out of Igor’s reach and evaded Dr. Frankenstein’s grasp, you cannot think that you evaded me! That would be too simpleton-like.”
Out of the corner of his eye Edward watched Lady Ware slip back into the shadows. He hoped she could read his mind. He could only keep his fingers crossed.
He took a seat beside Churchill so he could keep an eye on the door to the room without making Helga suspect anything.
“You must give me your latest map, the one you are hoarding,” Helga leaned across the table. “Khrushchev wants to know what you are up to. And I would not suggest you thwart me or even attempt to do so. I showed you what I almost did with your wife and could easily do again,” Helga looked at Edward with a barely concealed threat in her eye.
Edward exchanged looks with Churchill.
Churchill was a past master at this sort of thing. He took out a map from his desk that Edward knew to be a fake. He kept it there for that express purpose. He thrust it in front of her with great drama.
Helga began to pour over it. She was so absorbed that she did not hear the door opening from behind with barely a sound. Edward did not move an inch. Neither did Churchill as Dora, Lady Ware, approached Helga from behind with her pistol at the ready. She stuck her in the back and said, “The game is up.”
Helga gave a little shriek. Edward did not give her a chance to recover before he grabbed her. Churchill pushed a button and spoke into the microphone installed for him at his table at the Savoy, the one reserved just for the Prime Minister. “Send me the sergeant at arms back at Whitehall. I keep him around to make sudden arrests.”
Helga was marched off to a holding cell in the Tower of London.
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Edward Flees Alaska And Returns To Britain:
Edward drove the team far away from the underground prison in Denali. He even was careful not to stop at the Ice Palace where he knew Helga von Wessel would still be waiting for him. He gave it a wide berth and kept on going towards the entrance to the park. Edward planned on visiting the same location later today anyway. It was the rendezvous point where he was supposed to meet Winston Churchill’s messenger.
Everyday when Edward and Dora were in the Denali area looking for clues about the Russians and Churchill had no idea what they would find. Eisenhower didn’t either. Churchill was supposed to send news briefings for Edward knowing there was no way he could keep abreast of current events locked in the wilderness without any sort of communication devices. Likewise Edward was supposed to use the opportunity to send news of what he was discovering or not discovering back to Churchill and asking for supplies or anything else he might need.
Instead of sending news or asking for supplies this time, Edward arrived just minutes before the appointed messenger did ready to bail out. As soon as the messenger appeared, he and Dora climbed aboard the messenger’s sled. Edward let the dog team go. He knew they would return to their place of origin.
“We’re going back,” Edward told the man.
“You would hardly believe what is going on back there,” Edward confessed to the messenger as they pulled away.
They were soon back in port along the Alaska Coast heading south. Edward attempted to send messages to Churchill whenever they docked. They finally reached Los Angeles and came ashore in Long Beach where Dora’s father came to import his rubber to make his tires for Benley Tire and Rubber. He immediately sent a cable to Churchill:
Kruschev running prison camp in Denali STOP There is even a runway STOP Goons and everything STOP Helga is there in force STOP
Edward and Dora took a train back across the country and hopped the Queen Mary back to Britain from New York. He finally arrived at the Savoy for his lunch appointment with the Prime Minister.
Edward could hardly believe his eyes when he entered the dining room. There in a private nook in the corner, Churchill’s favorite, sat the PM and Helga von Wessel. She looked up and smiled, “Hello, Edward, fancy meeting you here! All that way from Alaska, and I got here before you did.”
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Escape From The Prison At The Ice Palace:
Edward reached the point of no return very soon. But he could not catch the monster that Helga had nicknamed “Igor” soon enough. He was gone across the snow banks and fields with Edward’s wife. Edward could hear her screams in the distance.
Another dog team stood ready beside the one that had just took off with his wife and Igor. Edward had no choice but to use it. No other kind of transportation would work in this environment. Not that he had any experience steering a dog team. He could only hope that the team would steer itself and would instinctively sense where to go —- to follow the other team.
“Mush!” Edward shouted as the team started across the snow. He knew they must be headed in generally the right direction. He could still hear the team ahead of them. He otherwise would not be able to. He could also hear his wife’s screams undiminished in volume.
They were now far enough away from their starting point that when Edward turned around he could no longer make out the Ice Palace in the surrounding banks of snow that made the whole area sparkling white and hard for the eyes to take in. He sensed that they were reaching their mysterious destination when the dogs started to slow down themselves without any sort of order. Ahead he could barely make out the man called Igor, or the monster, carrying his wife from the sled to a portal that appeared to lead underground. Soon they were no longer visible.
Edward managed somehow to bring his dog team to a stop right at the same location where the other dog team was waiting. He had no choice but to continue following the disappearing monster underground.
His ears were immediately assaulted by sounds of moaning and screaming. He could hardly believe it. But inside the cages lining the walls were human beings. He kept to the shadows and tried not to be seen as he attempted to find Igor and his wife. But he could not help but notice that the people along the walls were crying out in different languages. Who were these? The dispossessed? Enemies of the Russian state? Was this far outpost in Alaska another kind of Russian gulag where the Dictator sent prisoners and enemies of the state?
Sure enough up ahead he could see that was where his wife was headed. Igor was shoving her into a cage all her own. But he was beginning to wonder what was really going on here when he also caught a glimpse of the man Helga termed “Dr. Frankenstein” with the bifocal glasses. He was stirring up different concoctions in beakers and test tubes. Was he doing experiments that had to do with these people? Was he Dr. Mengala who had escaped here after the fall of the Third Reich? All he knew was that he had to get out of here quick —- with Dora.
He waited until the other men had disappeared. He headed directly towards Dora’s cage. He trusted to his own instincts about opening it. He did it readily enough from the outside.
Dora gasped when she saw him. He put his finger to his lips to remind her not to say anything. He slipped his hand around hers. He led her back through the hall lined with prisoners in cages. He kept his eyes focused on the ground. Imitating him, Dora did so likewise.
They climbed the stairs out of the place and reached the dogs. Edward helped his wife into the sled. They were soon bounding across the white field pulled by dogs. He could only hope that no one was following them.
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Helga Takes Edward Captive in Denali:
“You do have Lady Ware in your custody, don’t you?” Helga prompted the monster.
The creature nodded and answered in some sort of incomprehensible brogue that sounded like a combination of very bad Russian and something else —- maybe Alaskan? He could not imagine where she had gotten a worker like that —- from the Russian goolag? Siberia? Edward did want to probe too deeply into whether he was really human or not.
“She will be our next experimental victim,” said the man that Helga had termed Dr. Frankenstein.
What was he, a Nazi reject from the Third Reich? Had he taken refuge in Russia after the war?
“So you see, Edward?” Helga purred as she reached out to smooth down his collar. “You don’t really have any choice but to do as I say, right?” she prompted him.
Edward could see the writing on the wall as he followed her into an inner room in this Ice Palace of hers. She led him into her inner sanctum to her bed. He knew her ways from long ago. Soon she was undressed beckoning to him as she had done thousands of times before. He did not want to approach her bed. He knew what would happen from long experience, but he had no choice.
Soon her long, svelte arms were around him pressing her hands into all his pockets as she stripped him of his clothing piece by piece. As he plunged into her he remembered long ago scenes where they lay in the rose-colored sands by the red colored walls of Petra in the Syrian Desert making and conceiving their bastard son together. But he tried to put it aside. He knew what would come next.
“Oh, look what I found!” Helga waved a note in the air. It was from Churchill, of course, talking about Kruschev and Lawrence’s latest map defending Britain against Russian nuclear attack. “This is just the sort of thing I am paid to find.” Her eyes glittered. “If you hand over that map, I will give you back your wife.”
Fortunately Helga was so mesmerized by her “find” that she could not help staring at it intensely as if it would give up even more secrets with intense scrutiny. Edward took advantage of her momentary lapse in concentration to creep up behind the naked woman and gag her, tying a cloth around her mouth. After that he bound her to the bedpost with more sashes and ties and torn sheets.
Edward quickly dressed and made his way out the back of her bedroom into the snow. He knew he had but a short time to find his wife and be out of harm’s way. Who knew what kind of creeps and misbegotten creatures Helga had collected here to help her with her spying mission for a Russian dictator.
He noticed the dimensions of the compound huddling down towards the ground and much of it underground. A good snow could cover it all so that it would not be visible. The runway could easily be covered. A careless park ranger might not notice anything at all.
Edward figured that Dora must be hidden in the main building up ahead. But before he could reach it he saw a figure emerge dragging a woman tied up with ropes. He started to head across the snowy field with her pushing her ahead of him.
Edward quickly started after them. But he could not reach the man with the fighting woman who began to look more and more like Dora before he reached a dog sled. He was off mushing the dogs leaving Edward in the snow that had started to fall.
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Helga von Wessel And Frankenstein In Denali:
Edward thought at first that Churchill was sending him to investigate an apocryphal story. He imagined that his mission would set it to rest for all time the legend about the vamp. Surely Helga von Wessel could not be for real anymore ten years after the war. He and Dora had come to put the stamp and seal on the thing for good.
And now it was just like old times again. He was trapped unexpectedly with his back to the wall. He was going to have to reach Churchill somehow and let him know what had happened. Nor could he leave Dora behind at the mercy of this creature without any morals and without any compunction who would do anything at all to get what she wanted.
Helga put her hands on his shoulders and let them slide down his arms. “You could come with me to my room right now. I could inspect you the way I used to do. I used to find all sorts of notes and letters, missives, and important maps and papers. I bet I could find them again.”
He shook her off. “I would rather die. Besides, at your age, the age you must be now if it is really you, how could you even think of such behavior?”
She laughed. “That is the business I am good at. I have specialized in it for years and years.” She approached him more closely.
“Besides, in this wasteland, what would you do with papers?” He thrust her off. “What good would they do you?”
She pointed out the window. “Look! You can see it in the far distance if you try. See that runway? Planes land there once a week coming from Moscow bringing supplies, news, and instructions for me. I send letters, maps, whatever news I have for Kruschev.”
Edward had no idea how Helga could set up a runway in a national park. But then he supposed this was such a godforsaken area that no one ever came here, not even the park rangers.
“Where did you hide Dora?” He grabbed her by the neck.
“If you don’t tell me, I am going to look for myself. In this godforsaken area, there are only so many places where you could have hidden her,” he said.
“I would think again,” Helga demurred. “Monster!” she called.
Edward could not imagine what she was talking about. He supposed she was just trying to intimidate him.
He could hardly believe it when a man with a lame leg dragging one foot, hunched shoulders, and slovenly clothing showed up. He looked half human and half unreal, but he also looked like a big brute who might want to muscle him around if so directed.
“Frankenstein!” she called again.
What on earth could she be talking about? Edward was amazed when a man in a laboratory coat showed up. He peered out at Edward from behind glasses.
“Remember Dr. Frankenstein and his monster also came to Alaska in the last century,” Helga teased. “Well, here they are at my beck and call. And they have your wife in their dirty hands.”
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New Cover For Armistice Plot:
The novel Armistice Plot begins at an archaeological site at Carchemish in 1914 as Edward Ware’s father and Leonard Woolley close down their dig in the face of war. Edward first encounters the vamp who will haunt the rest of his life prowling among the finds, looking for the military maps that his fellow archaeologist T. E.Lawrence is drawing for the British government. All during the ensuing Great War Edward must fight to keep the maps secret. Finally during the Battle of Damascus Edward and Lawrence defeat the Turks and make them sue for peace. They will sign the Armistice ending the war. Thus the title of the novel. Edward imprisons the vamp, thinking he is finally done with her only to find that she is hired by the rising star of Nazism, Hitler, and will haunt him still. The battle of the maps goes on despite the Great War coming to an end.
The new cover for Armistice Plot has just been completed by cover artist Daniel Teran. It shows Lieutenant Edward Ware driving into Damascus with Colonel T. E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, his commanding officer. They are driving T.E. Lawrence’s famous Silver Ghost Rolls Royce. Look for the historical thriller by Dora Benley to be released next November 11, 2018, one hundred years after the end of the First World War.
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Murder at the Sphinx On Special Promotion:
Starting today and continuing for the next five days Murder at the Sphinx will be on special promotion on Amazon Kindle. Download it for free and see what you are missing in Dora Benley’s latest romantic murder thriller. But hurry! An offer this good will not be repeated again this year.
Dora, Lady Ware, her husband, Colonel Sir Edward Ware, his boss, Wickie, and Wickie’s wife, Jane, all travel to the Sphinx outside Cairo for the Christmas holidays when Edward’s mother, the Dowager Lady Ware, comes to visit in the 1930’s between the wars. There are mystery figures hanging about even on top of the Sphinx and Dora cannot quite make them out.
When she is left alone for a moment, a stalker approaches her and threatens her if she does not hand over the military maps that they want. She flees and the stalker chases her. She finds herself on top of the Sphinx with a spitting cobra, only to be saved by Leopold, a young man who has befriended her.
But he is suddenly gunned down. But whom? And who is Leopold? Dora had better find out or she could soon be dead, too, in Murder at the Sphinx, a new thriller by Dora Benley.
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Russian Blackmail at the Ice Palace:
Edward realized in the short time it had taken to finish the ride showing off all the prisons in the Ice Palace, it took just the same amount of time to resort to deviltry. But then, what else would you expect of Helga von Wessel?
Edward turned to his wife to head back to their apartments in the Ice Palace. “Dora?” he said. He looked from side to side. She was nowhere to be found.
“It is easy to get lost in the Ice Palace,” Helga purred cynically. “All you have to do is take one wrong turn —- and you are gone, perhaps for good. We are connected to the great, vast wilderness here. Doors open to the outside at every turn. I do hope Dora has not been caught in a snowstorm.” She laughed.
Edward lunged for her. He took her slim, white, swan’s neck in his hands and backed her up against the wall. He had not touched that vile flesh in years. He made him cringe even now and brought back a flood of unwanted memories from the past and even the long past when he had been her lover. In a flash he recalled lying with her in a field near the gates of the Syrian town of Petra during the Great War. It was on the other side of the world from where he now found himself. And at this distance in time it seemed like a dark fantasy and not very real.
“Touch me,” Helga threatened with a glimmering smile on her face, “and you will risk never seeing your wife again.”
“You have kidnapped her once again, haven’t you?” Edward accused the witch who had often made off with his wife in times past in locales as different as Santa Fe, New Mexico and Southampton, England. She always wanted something, and she wanted it bad.
Helga chortled as he fingered he neck.
“What do you want this time?” he demanded.
“I was wondering when you would ever get around to asking something practical like that!” she eyed him knowingly.
“Answer me!” He shook her hard.
“Churchill and Eisenhower no doubt have certain documents that they share about Kruschev, certain spy documents. I want to see them,” she asserted.
“I don’t have access to such papers. I am no longer a spy. I am retired from the army and have taken up a position as the black rod of the House of Lords,” he confessed the truth.
She smirked. “But your friendship with Churchill goes back a long, long way. I think he will know where to find them and he might sympathize with your plight. At least I do hope so.”
“You bitch!” he exclaimed.
“Also I have heard that since your retirement you still meet with Lawrence in secret. He is still busy drawing maps to defend and attack against the Russians if they should ever decide to attack the west. I want those papers, too,” Helga insisted.
Helga was eternally dangerous and eternally the same like the far side of the moon. He could see why the Cold War with the Russians was really cold.
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Ice Palace of Evil:
General Lord Edward Ware cannot believe where he finds himself. He looks around at the surroundings of the underground palace encased in ice on the outside so no one would ever suspect it was there in the midst of Denali National Park in Alaska. He could not believe the evil genius that had designed it and located it here. It reminded him indeed of the woman he had once known during the last war and before all the way back to the First World War. She would indeed be associated with a place like this.
Helga von Wessel took the disbelieving General Lord Edward Ware and his wife, Dora, Lady Ware for a ride on an underground train. She served as conductor and tourguide. Her unctuous, deep, throaty voice penetrated his consciousness and announced horror after horror.
“Here is where the Russians send their losers, their prisoners, and their rebels, people they don’t trust to live in Russia or thereabouts,” she revealed to them as they came to the first stop. The place was organized like an underground zoo with various enclosures. As he was soon to find out through the picture window, each enclosed a prisoner, a human being.
“Here you will find Lenin, the one whose body is supposedly idolized in Red Square. He never quite died as you will see and his now an old, old man who has no hope of ever being released and returned to Russia.”
Edward could feel the hair standing up on his head as the man called Lenin turned and started gesticulating at them, speechifying in Russian. He even threw something at this glass.
Helga laughed and showed them the next enclosure with the newest prisoner in the lot, Stalin. Edward thought he was dead. But evidently not! He could remember meeting him during the war. Supposedly he had even kidnapped his own daughter, Thomasina. And now the all powerful dictator had come to this.
“You will recognize the leader who defeated Hitler in Berlin,” Helga purred at the man bowed over his desk who did not even look at them.
Edward could hardly believe it. “Wasn’t this man once your lover?” he asked.
“Of course!” Helga answered. “That was when it suited me. Now this suits me in the service of my new commander, Khrushchev. Lovers come and go, Edward. Power and money are the only thing that remains.” She gave him a knowing look.
Edward shivered, remembering how they had once had a child out of wedlock in the days when he had been deceived by the vamp during the First World War.
Next she really made his spine tingle. They stopped in front of the Hitler enclosure, so labeled on the outside. Edward and Dora could down so as not to be seen by the prisoner who paced back and forth making speeches so that somebody might hear him someday.
“He didn’t really commit suicide, you see, and poor Martin didn’t either,” she stopped in front of the Martin Bormann enclosure. “I still visit Martin from time to time so he doesn’t get lonely,” Helga talked about the man she had almost once married when it suited her political ambitions.
They came to the end of the ride. Helga looked back at them, her expression as cold as ice. “Tell Churchill he had better come to terms with me and Khrushchev. If not, I could imprison him here, too, when he is no longer Prime Minister. Even you, Edward, are not exempt. Except that now you are the only one who can take my demands to the outside world.”
Edward traded looks with his wife. It would be worse than death to ever come to a place like this again. It was a nightmare from which he hoped he would soon awake.
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