Copper would like to welcome back A.K. Taylor! She has just released the new edition of her book Escape from Ancient Egypt which is the second book of the award winning, illustrated Neiko Adventure Saga! Interested? Use the links below to find your format or retailer of choice!
Being stuck in the past takes on a whole new meaning…
What if your worst enemy sent you on a one-way ticket to the past? Worse, later he shows up and tries to play match-maker with a dominant historical figure while all of history and the future are on the line? Survival is just one problem, but then add your friends into the mix…
Following an intense battle between the Indians and the Crackedskulls, Neiko and her comrades enjoy victory while her enemies suffer a crushing defeat. Victory is short lived for Neiko when Francesco pays her a visit at her home and sends her away in order to collect on his threat of revenge. She is banished into the ancient world of ancient Egypt during the reign of Ramesses II the Great on a one way ticket.
Lost and trapped in this ancient world, it doesn’t take very long for trouble to find her. Taken by a rich man, she is reunited with three her friends that had been missing, and an eleven-year-old mystery is finally solved, but one of Neiko’s friends is still unaccounted for. After escaping from the rich man and journeying to Thebes, Neiko and her comrades have actually jumped from the pan and into the fire.
Things go horribly awry when Pharaoh finds out about Neiko and becomes infatuated with her. Francesco comes to Egypt on orders to bring her back, but he has other plans. Can Neiko and her friends thwart Francesco, return to the 21st century, and escape from the past and one of the greatest kings that ever lived?
If you love the action, adventure, and time travel intrigue of Back to the Future and Time Machine (except without the time machine) and modern Native Americans in ancient Egypt, but the story of the Ten Commandments and the Prince of Egypt in reverse with a battle of wills and the motives of passion from Pharaoh, and the comic relief of The Big Bang Theory, you’ll love Escape from Ancient Egypt!
Praise and Awards:
Winner of the Wisebear Bronze Medal Award
Winner of the UpAuthors Approved Award
Rated best in YA Historical Fantasy
“An exciting and action packed book from start to finish. This is the story of a young girl who travels between different times and places, and leads a life in each. Neiko finds herself in some scary and challenging situations in each place, and the book has a good amount of suspense as the reader awaits her next move. The writing is fantastical and highly imaginative, without being too far-fetched that the reader will lose interest.”
~Biblio Phanatic 5 Stars
“There is never a dull moment, and the book is punctuated with wonderful illustrations which break up the chapters. It reminds me of those books you read as a kid where you had to choose the ending and second guess what was coming.
The plot was incredibly original – Native Americans being sent back in time to Ancient Egypt as an act of revenge. How can that not spark the imagination? This fast-paced book kept me interested and intrigued from start to finish. Great writing style, great plot and great characters.
Tito went through the crowd trying to find Senu. He pushed by the dancers, musicians, jugglers and groups of people talking and the game table. Senu had been close by the feasting table most of the evening. He wasn’t hard to miss because he was always surrounded by people since he was an excellent host and handled a group well. He was always well known for throwing the best parties and having the best of everything including entertainment. Egypt’s elite always felt at home at Senu’s including Pharaoh. Senu’s house was one of the few homes he felt comfortable in besides his own. Not even protocol kept Pharaoh away from Senu’s house when he wanted to come.
Tito located Senu among a crowd of the wealthy still by the feasting table and talking with Ramesses. Tito swallowed hard and went forward anyway. “Senu, I need to speak with you right now,” Tito said while turning slightly away from the king in order to avoid his eye.
Senu looked at him with raised eyebrows and at full attention. “About what?”
Tito sighed in agitation. “About my sister—it’s urgent,” he said, motioning for him to come with him alone.
“All right, Thutmose,” Senu said with a nod to Tito. “Excuse me, my king,” Senu said with a slight bow to the pharaoh.
Ramesses nodded with a good-natured smile. “Do hurry back, Senu.”
Senu nodded as he went with Tito to a secluded corner away from all the other guests. “What is it? Did she find the man? Is he here?” asked Senu frantically as his eyes darted among the crowd.
“Yes, and you were just talking to him,” said Tito.
Senu’s eyes widened and his hands went to his head in a panic. He began to pace the floor. “Amon-Re, Anubis! I cannot help her if she gets into trouble—you have to prevent anything that may cause a problem—is she all right?” he rambled in panic and shock. “I am now in peril! If something happens, I could be ruined or worse!”
Tito grabbed him to stop him from making a scene. “Stop that before somebody sees you! Yes, she’s fine. The others already know. What else shall I do?” asked Tito.
“You mustn’t let her anywhere near Pharaoh—just in case. He may recognize her by the looks of things,” whispered Senu urgently.
“Why is he here?” asked Tito with a shrug.
“He is one of my invited guests to the party, but I thought he was too busy to come. He is a frequent visitor to my home when I have parties because I am the second richest man in Thebes to himself and because we are friends. I am just as surprised as you are that he is here. He has been talking about Neiko all evening—that is what he was talking about when you came. He remembers every detail of that day distinctly as well as every detail of her and the way she was painted, everything. He has stayed up for days waiting for her arrival or any news at all. He says he will not rest until he finds her. Seeing her fighting skill, her inner and outer strength, and fearlessness mesmerized him—although I feel he is not saying everything. That wasn’t all he saw that day. It seems like he knows her somehow. Women like her are extremely rare. He wants to take her in and decide what to do with her. I’m glad he doesn’t know of her beauty that goes with her strength and fighting ability. This is a grave situation, and you must warn Neiko. If he were to find her here and uncover her identity, then I believe he will want her for his wife—maybe even his Great Wife,” he said.
Tito put his hand over his mouth to hide his gasp and sighed in agitation because the “Great Wife” was a really big deal. Tito then rubbed his temples to relieve the tension. “Right,” he said as he looked in the direction where he told Neiko to stay, but she wasn’t there. “I told her not to move from that spot! I have to find her because she could be in a fix! Men have been after her all evening!” Tito said frantically as he pulled at his head cloth as he searched the crowd for any sign of Neiko.
“Who?” asked a voice from his left. “Who is lost?”
Tito turned to his left to the speaker and was face to face with Pharaoh himself. “My sister—I seem to have misplaced her,” he said nervously as he avoided eye contact with the king and fidgeted. Tito had to ignore his impulse to bolt.
“I do not know you. Are you new to Thebes?” Ramesses asked, cocking his head and looking at him with a grilling stare.
Tito began to sweat. “Er—yes, my sister and I do not get out much ever since our parents died. Sat-Hathor cannot speak or hear, so she gets into trouble from time to time,” Tito fibbed trying to create a believable sob story so Pharaoh wouldn’t ask too many questions.
“I am sorry to hear that.” Ramesses scanned Tito’s features from one angle then another. “Have we met?” Ramesses asked, looking at him with recognition. “It seems like we could have met somewhere—in some ways you remind me of a servant of my house: Sito,” he said with a frown as he rubbed his beard in intense thought. He spoke Sito’s name with a twinge of hate.
“No. You must be mistaken. I don’t even know whom you speak of,” Tito lied. Ramesses could never know that Sito was his twin brother or they would be busted. Great Spirit knew what would happen next. “Now, if you would please excuse my abrupt leave, I have to go find my sister—please excuse me,” Tito said thinking fast and trying to get away. He remembered to bow to the king during his exit.
Ramesses put his fists on his hips in a dominant stance. “I want to meet your sister. When you find her, bring her to me,” said Ramesses. “She seems to be the one woman I haven’t seen,” he said with a small grin.
“I’m very sorry, but that isn’t possible—please forgive us. She cannot speak or hear, and she is terrified of strangers. We live an isolated life, and the only person she knows besides me is Senu. She is also petrified of pharaohs—she also has very crude manners unfit for your attention,” Tito said trying to keep his composure and come up with something to deter the king’s curiosity.
Ramesses folded his arms and looked at him with an aggravated stare. “Do as I command. Let me see her. Why do you hide her from me, Thutmose? I will not harm her. I will only take a few moments of her time. Now go,” he snapped, waving his hand.
Tito sighed with relief and walked away and wiping the sweat of fear from his brow. “Oh boy. I have to do it so I don’t arouse his suspicions—he already knows something’s up,” he sighed and looked around for Neiko. He then saw Sut escorting her around, and Neiko was trying to get away from him. Tito stormed up and pushed Sut away from her. “Didn’t I tell you to keep your hands off of my sister?” asked Tito angrily.
“I don’t have to listen to you—you are not my king,” Sut snapped as he thrust his finger at Tito. “It is not good form to keep her sheltered all her life,” Sut retorted.
“I don’t care, and that’s none of your business! She is the most prized possession I have because my parents are dead, and she is in no shape to go and meet strangers! Don’t you tell me how I should and shouldn’t care for my sister. Find another woman and leave her in peace. We will be on our way. Come, Sat-Hathor,” said Tito as he put his arm around her.
Sut grabbed her arm and pulled her away from Tito. “You will go in peace, Thutmose! She will remain with me the rest of the evening—”
Tito socked Sut in the nose and jerked Neiko from him. “No! She won’t be with you or any other man here! Lay another hand on my sister again, and I’ll cut it off!” Tito said in hushed whispered that carried through the crowd as he straightened his back and poked out his chest.
Sut pinched his nose to stop the bleeding as he backed away. “This is far from over, Thutmose! You will pay for this,” he snapped and stormed away.
“Anytime!” Tito retorted and started to escort Neiko to a place where they could talk, but the queen stopped them.
The queen had an inquisitive look on her face. “You are very protective of your sister. I admire that. You look like someone I know. Your name is Thutmose, is it?” the queen asked.
Tito nodded silently. “My queen, this is my sister, Sat-Hathor.”
“Queen Nefertari,” she said bowing her head.
Tito bowed in signal to Neiko, but she curtsied. Tito slapped his forehead with his palm when he saw Neiko curtsy. “Pleased to make your acquaintance, and so is she. I speak on her behalf.”
Neiko’s cheeks flushed. Oh, right I was supposed to bow not curtsy. We’re not in Europe, Neiko, she said in her mind, scolding herself.
Nefertari was a bit confused and shifted her eyes at the pair with a curious smile. “Why doesn’t she talk?” asked Nefertari.
“She is unable to hear or speak—forgive her, my queen,” Tito said.
“I understand. You have my permission to call me by my name,” Nefertari said.
“Why are you not with your husband?” asked Tito.
“I got bored listening to him talking about his treasure cities and kingdom. That is all he speaks of—well—until that warrior showed up. Now all he speaks of is her. She was so interesting, but I was a little frightened of her. I was surprised she didn’t run him through with that spear, but he knew she wouldn’t—somehow—unless he tried to take her by force. He has spoken so highly of her, and I like to hear him tell the story of that battle she fought against Kenes. I overheard you speaking of your family to Sut, and I pity you. I thought that was so unkind in the way he was trying to take her from you. He is so desperate to find a wife, and Sat-Hathor was what he was looking for,” said Nefertari.
“I know, that is another reason why I don’t take her places that often, and I saw that you had the same problem,” Tito said.
“Oh yes,” Nefertari said rolling her eyes. “He pays no attention to them, but it does make him feel good about himself. But how does she feel about it?”
“Oh, she gets annoyed by it, and she can’t stand to be bombarded by strangers. She is so shy—she is afraid sometimes,” said Tito with a sideways smile.
“That is so refreshing and impressive. She was the only woman who wasn’t throwing herself on my husband to get his attention. She seems to cleave to you and no one else. Most want to have the attention of all the men in the room, but Sat-Hathor just wants to be beside her brother. I admire that,” said Nefertari.
“How do you feel about that warrior girl?” asked Tito. “I hope you don’t mind me asking—I don’t mean to be nosy.”
Nefertari smiled. “Oh no, it’s all right. In what way do you mean?” Nefertari asked as she pursed her lips and shrugged.
“In every way. And what would you say if your husband took her as a wife?” asked Tito. “Aren’t you and wouldn’t you be jealous?”
“I admire that warrior girl for who she was. I wish I could fight like that and have no fear of anyone or anything. I could plainly see she feared nothing. I would love her to be part of the family, and she didn’t want to come willingly, so that shows she is not easily won, and that is special. Also, it’s strange…she reminds me of someone that a person I know speaks much of. Most would come running if Ramesses asked them for their time with him. That girl is very unique, just like your sister,” Nefertari said, smiling at Neiko. “As for your other question, it would be safe to say that I would not be jealous. No one woman can expect to have all the attention of our God-king.”
“Really, how interesting,” Tito said trying to fight the urge to pry further into her business.
“In a way, you remind me of someone I know. His name is Sito. Do you know him?” asked Nefertari.
Tito shook his head. “No. I’ve heard of him, but I don’t know him,” Tito fibbed.
“Oh, you just seem to remind me so much of him like if you were twins or something,” said Nefertari with a chuckle.
Tito chortled with a nervous smile but said nothing.
Neiko looked at her with a “what-did-you-just-say” look and remained silent and then cut her eyes to her escort.
Tito smiled. “I appreciate the earlier compliment for my sister, and it’s not often you comment on another woman, is it?” asked Tito.
“No, and I bet you are proud of her—you should be,” said Nefertari.
“Thank you. I talked with your husband earlier, and he wants to meet my sister. I shutter at her possible display of poor manners. She is shy and afraid of strangers, even your husband, the king, but he insisted, so I must be going. Thank you for your time, Queen Nefertari,” said Tito, bowing.
“There you are. I have been looking for you,” said Ramesses, appearing out of the crowd like a ghost from a wall and walking up to his wife and kissing her on the cheek.
Neiko looked up from the floor to be face to face with the man she was hiding from. She tried to lead Tito away frantically, but he wouldn’t budge. “This is Sat-Hathor, my king,” said Tito signaling Neiko to stay still. He gave her a stern, “don’t-rabbit-or-we’re-dead” look.
“You and Nefertari became acquainted, Thutmose?” Ramesses asked with a pleasant smile.
“Yes, and she has spoken highly of my sister,” Tito answered with a timid smile.
“Good. I was wondering what was keeping you—I don’t have patience with some things,” he said, furrowing his brow. “I saw you deal with Sut harshly about his dealings with your sister. You care much for the well-being of your sister—how nice,” Ramesses said, looking at Neiko in the face.
Neiko turned away and looked at the floor as she fidgeted nervously.
“My sister has been a handful this evening,” Tito said in an attempt to prolong the conversation and to avert Ramesses’ attention back to him.
Ramesses didn’t respond to Tito’s comment. Neiko had his full attention. “She is quite shy,” Ramesses said, taking her hand and kissing it.
Neiko pulled it away like an asp had bitten it and looked at him in the eye to read his intentions with her fierce emerald-green eyes.
Ramesses looked into her eyes with his dark brown eyes. Their eyes locked because he noticed her eyes seemed very familiar.
Tito saw this, and his mind started racing especially since he could see some electricity from Pharaoh’s eyes. He jabbed Neiko’s arm to get her attention and to get her look at him to break the connection. He pointed to his eyes, to Ramesses, and shook his head to sign: you’re not supposed to look at Pharaoh in the eye. He turned back to Ramesses and asked. “Is there something wrong?”
Ramesses looked at Tito with an irritated frown at the interruption regardless if it was tradition that no one gave royalty eye contact; he wanted to gaze into her eyes. Ramesses’ brow furrowed in deep thought as his eyes fell to her face. “No, she seems familiar—like we have met somewhere. Do you think so, Nefertari?”
Nefertari looked at Neiko. She turned the corners of her mouth down and pursed her lower lip and shrugged. “No. I have never seen her before till just moments ago.”
Ramesses crinkled his nose and shook his head at Nefertari’s negligence. He looked at her from head to toe with his eyes studying her. Then he gripped her chin and tilted her face to his.
Neiko swallowed hard; her heart was thumping in her ears. Neiko shut her eyes and her mind screamed, Please go away. What is going on? Please don’t recognize me.
Tito’s heart started pounding; his breath shortened, and he gritted his teeth.
Ramesses released her chin, but his eyes never left her like he was in a trance. “I can’t place you, but those eyes are so familiar—I know of one with eyes of emerald that I seek and yearn for. I know you—somehow—somewhere. Are you she?” he said softly in lingering thought. He then broke the entranced stare and shook off the spell by shaking his head. “Your sister is truly a beautiful desert flower.”
Tito breathed with relief at the close call. “Thank you. We must be going. My sister and I haven’t had much time together this evening. Excuse us,” said Tito.
“Very well, you may leave,” Ramesses said, waving his hand and smiling since his request was satisfied.
Tito and Neiko quickly walked away nearly running.
“Thanks a lot, Tito! That was too close!” Neiko squeaked. “Why did you just stand there like that?” she demanded like he had gone nuts.
“I’m sorry, Neiko. I was hoping to warn you, but he got to us first. He demanded to meet you, and I tried to make up something to keep him away, but he wouldn’t buy it. He’s a stubborn son-of-a-gun just like in the history books. At least he didn’t recognize you. He knows your eyes, and he knows you somehow. Nefertari was so kind, and she thinks highly of you also. Nefertari also said I looked familiar. I wonder if she knows where Sito is—I think she does; she mentioned she knows him,” said Tito.
“I know, maybe she does, and that would be good. I’m glad he didn’t find anything else familiar, or I’d be in trouble,” said Neiko with a deep exhale.
“I talked with Senu, and he said it seems he has a quite flame for you,” Tito said.
Neiko looked at him like she had just seen a zombie. “I gotta stomp out this little flame before it becomes a doggoned forest fire!”
“Too true. There is more at stake. If you marry Pharaoh, then all of history will alter—definitely if it plays out like I hear from all the gossip. I won’t bother to explain because it’s not gonna happen, and you wouldn’t understand. All of history is at stake here, and so is our future…so is the entire land of Hawote including Raven and Bloodhawk’s. If we don’t get out of here, then the guys and I will be goners, and you’ll be someone else’s arm ornament and eye candy for sure—possibly Pharaoh’s if we’re exposed. You, Neiko Kidd, will not have ever liberated Hawote, and Bloodhawk will never have fallen in love with you, and your parents will not have ever known you—I think. I have to find out from Francesco on how this will work exactly. I assume you will have to die here in Egypt for the ‘cease to exist’ part to happen. You will be up the creek if you are taken as a wife by anyone—especially Ram—I mean Pharaoh,” Tito replied. “Now you’ve got me doing that!” Tito said jabbing her playfully.
Neiko giggled, but then her face was fierce. “Oh my gosh. Francesco is gonna pay for this!” Neiko hissed in vengeance between clenched teeth and fists.
“I don’t think he intended for your predicament with Pharaoh to happen. I think he wanted you to be enslaved or dead. And, I bet Bloodhawk made plenty of threats about this whole gambit altogether. If Neiko Kidd never was the Liberator, then the Crackedskulls will probably dominate, and I believe that is what Francesco wants. Your suffering is when you are working to death and separated from Hawote, knowing no one will know you, and history will reverse to the Crackedskulls’ favor,” said Tito.
Neiko clenched her fists, gritted her teeth, and shook with rage. “Where is that weasel? I’m gonna wring his scrawny neck!” she growled, holding her hands like she was actually choking Francesco.
“Neiko, calm down. Pharaoh is watching you,” Tito warned, nodding in Ramesses’ direction. “I will handle Francesco. When I do, you will remain with Mactalon and Panthero or Senu.”
Neiko nodded, and she turned and saw Pharaoh staring at her and smiling as he was talking with a few men and women were swooning all over him. He was also clutching that large amulet as he watched her. He ignored the women flirting with him; his full attention was on her and not them.
Neiko clutched Tito’s arm tightly as she looked at him with a “get me out of this” look.
“It’ll be all right,” said Tito comfortingly.
“I hope so,” Neiko said.
Tito put his hand on her shoulder. “Neiko, trust me. I’m gonna go find Francesco and interrogate that weasel till he turns blue. Go and find Senu or Mactalon and Panthero! You’ll be safe.”
“Okay,” Neiko said as she let go of his arm. Their friends were in close proximity to their position.
Tito disappeared into the crowd.