Scroll of Saqqara

by Pauline Gedge
Release date: 1990
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy, history, mainstream

Scroll of Saqqara is also known as Mirage (US and UK editions).

Prince Khaemwaset, fourth son of the famous Ramses the Great, is wealthy and influential, respected throughout Egypt for his knowledge of medicine and his powerful magic and revered as the country's foremost scholar and restorer of monuments.

But he has a secret desire. He dreams of finding the mysterious Scroll of Thoth, which will give its possessor the power to raise the dead and understand the language of everything living. Under the guise of legitimate historical research he opens and searches ancient tombs hoping to stumble upon this prize.

Searching among the burial ruins on the high plain of Saqqara he discovers, in a previously undisturbed tomb, a scroll sewn to the hand of a corpse. He cuts it free and takes it home, and though unable to translate it, he reads it aloud without understanding the words. The following day he catches a glimpse of a strange woman who becomes a fascination and then an obsession so violent that Khaemwaset destroys his family and degrades himself in order to possess her.

Only too late does he realize that in giving voice to the spell written on the scroll he has released an instrument of the god Thoth for revenge on the Prince for his many desecrations of sacred places.

updated 2010-09-28

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