A fantastic series for the lovers of ancient Egypt.
Bird in a Snare (The Lord Hani Mysteries, Book 1) by N.L. Holmes Narrated by Thomas J. Fria released in March in the Historical Mystery genre.
When Hani, an Egyptian diplomat under Akhenaten, is sent to investigate the murder of a useful bandit leader in Syria, he encounters corruption, tangled relationships, and yet more murder. His investigation is complicated by the new king’s religious reforms, which have struck Hani’s own family to the core. Hani’s mission is to amass enough evidence for his superiors to prosecute the wrongdoers despite the king’s protection—but not just every superior can be trusted. And maybe not even the king! Winner of the 2020 Geoffrey Chaucer Award for historical fiction before 1750.
Sexual abuse of children
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bird-Snare-Lord-Hani-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B08682L3NC
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Bird-Snare-Lord-Hani-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B08682L3NC
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Bird-Snare-Lord-Hani-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B08682L3NC
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Bird-Snare-Lord-Hani-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B08682L3NC
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bird-in-a-snare-nl-holmes/1136704008
Universal Links for series:
Bird in a Snare (Book 1): https://books2read.com/u/3n2YL9
The Crocodile Makes No Sound (Book 2): https://books2read.com/u/47QZpL
Scepter of Flint (Book 3): https://books2read.com/u/4jPDjZ
The North Wind Descends (Book 4): https://books2read.com/u/bPy5Md
Lake of Flowers (Book 5): https://books2read.com/u/3Ly0MX
N.L. Holmes is the pen name of a professional archaeologist who received her doctorate from Bryn Mawr College. She has excavated in Greece and in Israel and taught ancient history and humanities at the university level for many years. She has always had a passion for books, and in childhood, she and her cousin (also a writer today) used to write stories for fun.
The literary pedigree of The Lord Hani Mysteries series, specifically Bird in a Snare, is a bit mongrel, much like its author’s DNA! It’s a genre book that straddles genres and really wants to shake off genre categories altogether. Back in the days of querying agents, the thing that used to annoy me most was the demand to present my book as X meets Y. “Who even wants a book that is a clone of two books that already exist? I thought agents wanted something original,” I would tell myself angrily. When I found me writing “Mary Renault meets Crime and Punishment” (this was for another, more serious series), I knew that approach was not for me! So, having warned you, I will now attempt to look for literary influences—which is to say, books and authors I love and aspire to emulate, not books that resemble mine.
The books I love best of all are literary, not genre. My favoritesare the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Naturalists, written when readers had a much longer attention span. These books’ focus is the characters’ psychology and their relationships, and they’re slow. They don’t leave everything to the readers’ imagination but describe in detail, so that the world the reader imagines is that of the author, not one of their own. Some of their imagery is indelible. I will never, ever forget the brain-searing images from Zola’s Germinal. The horse in the coal mine… The miners trying to climb thousands of feet up the ladder in the shaft as it’s falling… There was action of course—and how!—but the book wasn’t about the action, it was about the people whose lives were upended by the action.
This may seem like an improbable ancestry for what are essentially light-hearted cozy mysteries set in ancient Egypt. And certainly, no one but myself would probably find any connection. But I warned you! The desire to present an intensely sensory setting comes from my love for these books and perhaps also from the years I spent as a visual artist. The voice of the Naturalists was mostly that of an omnipotent narrator who could jump from head to head, but while he was in someone’s head, the reader knew that person’s every thought and emotion. Although I’ve chosen to go with the more modern third-person close voice, I still aspire to reveal the point-of-view character’s internal landscape in depth. Thanks, James and Zola, Wharton and Balzac, Cather and Flaubert, for forming my taste
Like most people, there are times when I want a lighter read, something comfortably familiar in structure and maybe a little funny, and since I’m not a big fan of romances, mysteries fill the bill—preferably without gore and perversion. The names of three mystery writers come to mind as favorites (although none of them is the least bit funny): Louise Penny, Donna Leon, and Tana French. In the first two, the locale is a character in itself, and I adore that. They both feature lovable and admirable protagonists who have to deal with issues of conscience, thinking men who love their families and have lives outside their cases. French is one of the most gorgeous writers I know. I sit gaping in awe at some of her pages. None of these books is an altogether light read, although they can be gobbled down; there’s always something thought-provoking under the surface. These, for me, are the mystery series I would like to emulate in some way, even though The Lord Hani Mysteries differ in many specifics from all of them, even in tone. They prove that genre books need not be paper-thin. Although maybe we should throw in Evanovich, for her permanent cast of distinctive characters, including some lovably wisecracking ones.
Last of all in my literary genealogy are complicated, offbeat authors like Neal Stephenson and David Mitchell. They write big ol’ books, and you have to hang on pretty tight to follow along. I come out of reading their work with that exhilarated feeling of a good exercise session, laughing with delight at some of the unexpected revelations and connections. No doubt one would have to work hard to find any literary traces of either in a series of feel-good murder mysteries, but they’re down there somewhere—maybe just in the conviction that the reader can handle some difficult stuff that isn’t self-evident.
There you have it—the mongrel literary pedigree of Hani. I don’t think any one influence rules, but he’s a bit of everything I’ve read and loved. And maybe that’s because I, like you, am shaped by what I read.
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/N-L-Holmes/e/B0858H3K7SGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20117057.N_L_Holmes
This post is part of a tour. https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2021/12/blog-tour-bird-in-snare-lord-hani.html
Thank you so much for hosting the blog tour for Bird in a Snare.
All the best,
The Coffee Pot Book Club
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You’re very welcome 😊