The Curse of Nilofer by Rekha Ambardar
Part of the Anthology – Vampires, Zombies, and Ghosts, Oh My!
Publisher: No Trees Books
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (18 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
offers an archaeology tale of an Egyptian queen whose mummy and tomb hieroglyphics hold the key to an ancient mystery and wield a power that extends beyond the grave.
“As Egyptologist makes a discovery that takes him through the ancient mists of time.”
What price would you pay to make the discovery of a lifetime?
Miles Cramer is an easy guy to like. I quickly understood his motivation for continuing to explore his incredible discovery even when he makes a series of bad decisions and under-reacts to some pretty frightening events.
The first half dozen pages of The Curse of Nilofer were excellent. I really appreciated the detailed descriptions of his surroundings. Ms. Ambardar makes you taste the dust in the air, feel the oppressive heat and shiver in empathy when an ordinary expedition begins to shimmer into something else entirely.
The tension builds exquisitely slow and Miles’ reaction to what is happening around him soon reveals his strengths and weaknesses as an individual. It isn’t easy to characterize someone over the course of a few conversations but it soon felt like Miles was an old, dear friend instead of a fictional character in a short story.
This story had all of the elements of a truly frightening tale but unfortunately they never quite congealed into what the beginning foreshadowed.
A supporting character suddenly fades out of the narrative which I found disappointing. I had expected him to reappear at some point and was left wondering how two men who shared such a unique experience could lose touch so abruptly.
There were also some editing issues that drew my attention away from the plot. They were minor but repetitive and at one point I found myself looking up how something should have been worded instead of continuing to read. This story showed such promise in the beginning, I wish I could have given it more stars.
In spite of the few problems I had with this novella, I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know how it how it would end and to see if Miles’ friend would reappear. The plot is interesting and could easily be expanded into a full length book. In fact, I truly hope it is.
If you like understated suspense and a plot that builds to a slow climax you will enjoy The Curse of Nilofer.