Openers: Nekonkh, captain of the Nile boat Silver Beetle, paused for the fiftieth time beside his vessel's high beaked prow and shaded his eyes to peer anxiously across the wharfs.
The city that rose beyond them shimmered, almost drained of color, in the glare of Egyptian noon. Doorways were blue-black in white buildings, alleys were plunged in shadow; the gay colors of the sais and hulls that crowded the harbor seemed faded and indistinct, and even the green of the Nile was overlaid by a binding surface glitter. Only the sky was vivid, curving in a high blue arch over ancient Menfe.
The wharf itself seethed with activity. Sweating porters hurried in and out among groups of merchants haggling over stocks of cargo yet to be loaded; sailors, both foreign and Egyptian, swarmed everywhere, talking in a babble of tongues. A donkey drover pushed through a cluster of pale-faced traders in the fringed garments of Babel laid wagers on a dogfight at one end of the wharf, while a ring of yelling urchins surrounded a cage of monkeys at the other. Over all rose the rank smell of the river -- an odor compounded of fish, mud, water-soaked rope, pitch and crocodiles.
-- Eloise Jarvis McGraw, Mara, Daughter of the Nile (1953)
From the blurb in the Puffin edition: "Mara is a proud and beautiful slave girl who yearns for freedom. But her escape from her cruel master only places her at the mercy of not one, but two rival masters who each support contenders to the throne of Egypt -- and who would kill Mara instantly if they suspected her role as double spy. although distrustful of both at first, Mara begins to believe in one of them, Sheftu, and his plan to restore Thutmose III to the throne. And as her belief grows stronger, Mara finds herself, against her will, falling in love with him. But before she can reveal that love and pledge her aid to Sheftu, her duplicity is discovered, and a battle ensues in which both Mara' life and the fate of Egypt are at stake."
Wow! Danger, romance, political intrigue, a mysterious far-off locale, and adventure, all with a plucky young heroine! No wonder this was one of my wife's favorite books when she was young. She was probably in junior high school when she first read Mara, Daughter of the Nile about the same time that she was discovering Mickey Spillane, Michael Shayne, and Agatha Christie -- this was when she almost gave up on The Murder of Roger Ackroyd about a third of the way in; she had figured out who the murderer was, how the crime was done, and the motive. (My wife is very smart, you see.) Anyway, she loved this book so, early in our marriage I found a hardcover copy for her and she loved me for it. Over the years, that copy probably went walkabout, or was buried in one of a zillion storage boxes, so last week I picked up a paperback copy for her and she still loves me. (What a gal!)
McGraw (1915-2000) was a popular children's and young adult author. She won the Newbery Honor three times over three decades: Moccasin Trail (1952), The Golden Goblet (1962), and "The Moorchild" (1997). Her 1977 book, A Really Weird Summer, won the edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. McGraw also wrote two Oz books (Merry Go Round in Oz,1963, and
The Forbidden Fountain of Oz ,1980, both credited to herself an her daughter, Laura Lynn McGraw, although all writing was done by Eloise; a third Oz book, The Rundlestone of Oz, 2000, was credited to Eloise alone), as well as assisting in the editing of Gina Wickwar's The Hidden Prince of Oz (2000). McGraw wote at least fourteen other books including historical novels, including Greensleeves (1968), The Seventeenth Swap (1986), and The Striped Ships (1991). For her final novel, McGraw returned to ancient Egypt for Pharoah (1998), her only adult novel.
There are a lot of young adult authors who provide satisfying reading for adults. Eloise Jarvis McGraw is one of those.
Check her out.
- Zomnibus, a 2009 Graphic novel omnibus of three zombie novels: Zombies!: Feast by Shane McCarthy, with art by Chris Bolton & Enrique Lopez Lorenzana; Zombies!: Eclkipse of the Dead by El Torres, with art by Yair Herrera; and Complete Zombies vs. Robots by Chris Ryall, with art by Ashley Wood. Some great artwork here. I hope the stories live up to the quality of the art.
- Florida Man Christian Mosco, 47, was charged with extortion, burglary, and petty theft for allegedly trying to extort $50,000 from a Daytona car dealership. Reasoning that the best defence was a poor prosecution, he he posed online as two assistant state attorney, stealing their Florida Bar ID numbers, and filed a motion to have his case dropped, citing "announcement of no information." Unfortunately for him, Mosco used a previous filing from another person's case in doing this, not realizing he had filed the wrong motion.
- Florida Man Jerry Zeigler, 26, and Florida Woman Carrie Tyrell, 42, were arrested in Daytona Beach for punching, kicking, stomping on, and robbing a man for helping a Black man pick up trash in a roadway. The suspects allegedly made comments that the victim should help his own race.
- A sixteen-year-old Florida Teen managed to shut down remote learning at the Miami-Dade school district by launching at least eight (out of at least two dozen) cyberattacks on the school. Lest you think Florida Teen was a computer genius, he wasn't. He used an easily available program to overwhelm the district's servers. A police raid on the teen's home during the pre-dawn hours this past Thursday was not related to the cyberattacks, according to officials, making me wonder what else was going on?
- Teachers have it hard enough coping with the pandemic; they should not have to be concerned about school cleanliness. Well, unless you are in Volusia County, that is. The teacher's union has filed a complaint that an unnamed Florida Man custodian was seen using toilet water to clean school floors. The district hires out its school custodial services. The Chief Operating Officer for the district says the complaints are overblown since fewer than 1% of the teachers have documented the action. In any case, he continued, the company has retrained the custodian in proper cleaning methods.
- Fort Walton Beach Florida Man Christopher Allen Freeman, a cell phone store manager, was arrested for stealing a sexually explicit video of a "nationally known" female television personality from a mobile device her boyfriend had brought in for service. The Okaloosa county Sheriff's Department said that explicit images of multiple female adults were found on Freeman's phone, some of which may have also been obtained illegally by Freeman. I have to question the intelligence of the boyfriend who brought the phone in for service knowing the video was on the device and that of the television personality who allowed the video to be taken in the first place.
- Woman donates kidney to the cop who locked her up https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/woman-donates-kidney-to-cop-who-locked-her-up/
- Hormel Foods to provide free college education to children of all its 16,000 employees https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/hormel-gives-free-college-tuition-to-employees/
- Bride and groom donate their wedding dinner to a local shelter -- and help serve it https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/bride-and-groom-donated-wedding-dinner-to-a-local-shelter/
- Hospital staff stays behind in hurricane to protect 19 babies in intensive care https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/lake-charles-memorial-hospital-staff-protect-hurricane-babies/
- The first time a ten-year-old boy uses his birthday metal detector he unearths a centuries-old sword https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/10-year-old-boy-unearths-centuries-old-sword-in-ireland/
- Teen creates dolls for kids with rare medical conditions to help them feel included https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/teen-makes-dolls-for-kids-with-medical-conditions
- Man has a special relationship with a red robin that helped him through trauma https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/man-and-red-robin-become-best-friends-in-trauma/