Shabaka, the secretive Prefect, the Pharaoh’s special envoy charged with combating crime in the capital of the Pharaoh’s empire, also often makes use of Neti Kerty’s special talents. With her powers of deduction and knowledge of the dead, she has already helped solve many crimes.
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Incomplete sections of the book of dead found in Ramesses’ tomb and the murder of a prominent tomb scribe sparks fears of the curse of Anubis in Deir el-Medina. While the lack of witnesses and a close-knit worker community hampers, Neti-Kerty and Shabaka’s investigation at a time when the whole of Thebes awaits the arrival of the pharaoh for the beautiful festival of the valley. When Neti starts to experience strange sensations and the pharaoh’s life is endangered it becomes evident that there is a larger, more sinister scheme to the events...
While the pharaoh tries to conceal the disappearance of Queen Nefertari's sacred heart scarab, along with Shabaka's abduction, fears of a curse befall those travelling eastwards through the desert. Neti and Moses, during their investigation and search for Shabaka, uncover a sinister underground network in Thebes that have since the pharaoh's move to Pi-Ramesses resulted in numerous underhanded dealings. Here Neti has to come to terms with the life she, by chance, managed to escape.
A sudden increase in attacks on caravans, along with the delay of the Nubian tillage, sees Shabaka and Neti travel to Shabaka's home, Sylene, where they are tasked with finding the royal shutty. On their arrival they find not only that an attempt has been made on Dagi's life but also that his death has been foretold by the most unlikeliest practitioner of divine arts.