Contemporary Fantasy Fiction set in Egypt
The Egyptian Adventures of Kathryn Black is a fantasy series set in the Egypt of today, but with enough ancients still living to fill a book … fill many, many books to be more exact.
Graham, the author, loves Egypt, loves writing and, due to the many fantasy stories in his head, has already outlined stories for a further five volumes of Kathryn Black’s adventures. The ideas just bubble out of him, I – Renate – am always amazed where he gets them from. His deepest regret is that he cannot write as quickly as they arise.
Graham knows Egypt very well. Time and time again he has visited temples and tombs with their bas-reliefs and stunning paintings. In addition to real history they told him stories - his stories. In his books, the gods, pharaohs, nobles, and small people of ancient Egypt, who in such a lively, wise, martial, power-hungry, generous or narcissistic manner spring to life upon the ancient walls, become real characters – acting as individuals with strengths and weaknesses, whom you immediately recognize in each new volume.
There are two keys to understanding the series. The first is that historical figures, after dying many thousands of years ago, return in the afterlife to today's Luxor. Their afterlife clashes with the mortal world, where the same power struggles, intrigues and alliances continue. The second key is the memories from the past which haunt the young protagonists Kate, Alex and Cairo, as well as Emmy in later books. Not just memories but states of consciousness which allow them to sometimes ‘see’ things as they were in the past, sometimes visit the past. Their ancient memories can be very useful, especially in times of danger, but they can also be difficult for them to comprehend. The real world is confusing enough for young adults without having heads crammed with experiences that they have no knowledge of experiencing, as well as of a time they know almost nothing of.
The world in Graham's fantasy books is fantastical whilst at the same time so real, so tangible, so much anchored in today's Egypt, that the reader is transported there. Whilst making no claims to be historically true, many of the personalities, places and events are real. And all this is seasoned with Graham's British humour, without which the characters in the books would be only half as convincing.
When I started translating, fantasy was not really my genre. I am more inclined to "real" world literature. But the deeper I immersed myself into the story, the more I loved the characters, and when at one point, after the publication of the third book, when Graham took a short break from writing, I really missed Kate, Alex, Cairo and all the others.
How wonderful it was for me to be able to translate the sixth volume. I am now working on the seventh and Graham is certain that many more volumes will follow. Which for me means many more weeks and months of work – see "Is translating books fun?"
Always pleased to hear from fans of Kathryn Black