Writing my action-adventure series always gets my heart beating like crazy. I feel like I’m there with my characters. Typically an author of mysteries where the plot is always based on logic and chronological progress, the action-adventure genre is a different animal. There’s a fine balance between history and legend, leaving room to play and use the imagination in unique ways. If it’s believable, it works.

In today’s excerpt from The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh, I’m reading a passage where Matthew and his friends are entering a tunnel his former colleague discovered in Egypt’s Western Desert. Based on discovered hieroglyphics, it seems this is the way to lost pharaoh’s tomb that contains the elusive Emerald Tablets. With the powers of the tablets said to contain the knowledge and power of the universe, if they fall into the wrong hands, it could destroy the world.

Without further preamble, have fun, embark on the journey…

Matthew hung back until everyone had entered the staircase, then followed. The space was only about two feet wide, and he was grateful for his narrow shoulders. He turned his headlamp on and held his breath as he took each step slowly and methodically.

The staircase was hewn out of rock, likely limestone, and each step was about ten inches deep and about twelve inches high.

“I’ve reached the bottom,” Cal cried out. “This is incredible.”

“Isn’t it?” Alex’s voice pulsated with delight.

“I can’t believe I’m here,” Robyn said, awed.

Matthew smiled. He was so happy that she’d reworked her schedule to come along. And he couldn’t say he was upset that her date had gotten canceled in the process. He felt like a chump for even thinking that, but apparently, jealousy had no bounds for it to strike here, of all places—in the middle of the desert on an ancient staircase built by slaves or servants of an Egyptian pharaoh.

He touched the walls as he descended, appreciating the cool stone against his hot fingertips. It didn’t stop the sweat from running down his back, but it provided a whisper of relief.

He wasn’t counting the steps as he went, but he turned to look back once he reached the bottom. Fourteen steps and taking his estimate of twelve inches high that would mean they were only fourteen feet down.

“Alex,” he called out and faced forward again. His breath caught in his throat. This time he really took in what was ahead of him. The tunnel was all stone brick—the floor, the walls, and the ceiling—and it was milled and smooth. The portable lights that Alex had mentioned brightened the space, illuminating details that would otherwise be left in shadow. The lights from everyone’s hats were pretty much unnecessary so far. He craned his neck to look around, and he figured the tunnel was only about five feet high and maybe that wide.

“Matthew?” Alex’s head peeked out from behind Robyn. “You called me?”

“I did.”

She made her way back to him and stopped a few feet away. “Incredible, isn’t it?”

“Sure is. But how deep underground did you say the tunnel was?”

“Thirty-five feet.” She paused, and before he could say anything, she added, “But remember that’s how much sand we needed to clear to reach the tunnel. The staircase was also buried.”

“Okay, that explains it. I was just looking at the staircase and doing some quick math.”

“Ugh. Math. Not my favorite subject.” She smiled. “I’m partial to Egyptology.”

He laughed. “I never would have guessed.”

“Follow me. I’ll take you to the cartouche.” She spun and took a few steps. “Actually, it looks like the others are almost there already.”

Matthew maneuvered to look past her and saw the other four up ahead, standing next to one another and all facing the same wall. He stepped under an aperture that served as a skylight and cast illumination on the snaking loops of another transmitting antenna that was on the ground. The transmitter module wasn’t much farther ahead.

He stopped walking and looked up the hole to the blue sky beyond it. Alex stopped next to him. “That’s how I came in. To think I was only about forty feet from the stairs.”

He could only imagine the thrill of the descent, though, and what it must have been like being the first to set foot in the tunnel.

Book Overview

Readers will need to hold on to their hats for this follow-up to City of Gold, which reviewers described as “a fast-paced action adventure” that is “akin to an Indiana Jones story set in modern times.” Now, the second in the series promises to bring much of the same excitement! Join archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor and his friends as they go after the Emerald Tablets to save the world in The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh.

In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.

Archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor has made a career of finding legends the world has all but forgotten. Though there’s one in particular that has fascinated him for years—the Emerald Tablets. Myth says that they possess the knowledge of the universe, allowing humankind to traverse Heaven and Earth, and have the power to bestow wealth and wisdom upon whoever possesses them. But if they fall into evil hands, it could cause a global disaster.

So when a former colleague stumbles across an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic map that promises to lead to a pharaoh’s tomb and the Emerald Tablets, there’s no way he’s turning down her invitation to join the dig. He only has one stipulation: his best friends Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers come with him.

The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and their shared dream of recovering the Emerald Tablets is being crushed at every turn. And just when they think it’s all over, they learn there are a few clues they have overlooked. But they’re no longer the only ones searching for the Tablets. Now, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and soon they’ll find out that when it comes to hunting legends, they can’t trust anyone.

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What We Bury by Carolyn Arnold Buy Now, woman running down a dark alley at night

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