by Maeve Alpin
Though mainly associated with the Victorian era, there is no question aspects of the steampunk culture have been influenced by ancient Egypt. In the entertainment field, steampunk belly dancing is on the rise. Since the top steampunk band, Abney Park incorporated belly dancing into its live shows, many of these dancers have been inspired to go steampunk adding goggles, corsets and pantaloons to their costumes. In the area of interior design, Nethercraft offers an incredible collection of fabulous Egyptian walls. The Egyptian steampunk movement has even invaded fashion with costume designer, Iris Bainum-Houle’s collection, clearly influenced by both the garments of ancient Egypt and Victorian England. Two of my favorite steampunk books include strong Egyptian influences as indicated by the titles: The Osiris Ritual by George Mann and The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. For the latest cross genre of romance, steampunk, I wrote a story with Egyptian influence, As Timeless As Stone.
As Ricard examines these artifacts, he uncovers an ancient Egyptian statue with the head broken off. When he sets the head back in place and uses his linguistic skills to read the incantation she holds in her stone fingers, the statue comes to life. A gorgeous flesh and blood woman appears where a stone image stood just moments before. This is my heroine Seshat, who in peril for her life turned herself to stone thousands of years before.
I hope you enjoy the Egyptian and Victorian influences of my steampunk erotic romance, As Timeless As Stone. Here is a short excerpt from As Timeless As Stone:
Ricard stepped back as his gaze devoured the entire woman, though stiff and lifeless. The stone looked like lush, sun-warmed skin. Her oval face was dark and delicate, with full, rosy lips. He admired her long lithe body, clad in a sheer, white, sleeveless dress, held up only by two delicate linen shoulder straps. He longed to roam his fingers and lips over her high perched breast and the thin waist which flared into curved hips and lithe thighs. Then, down to her pretty legs and her slender feet garbed in white papyrus sandals, of the station she depicted, an Egyptian priestess of the Middle Kingdom. He drank in her beauty, then he noticed the ornament lying in the valley between her breasts, a thick ankh of gold hung from a chain. His fingers absently tried to grab hold of the necklace but it was only part of the statue, no matter how real it seemed.
“What is this?” He looked at the plaque in the statue’s stone hands, held beneath the ankh. The last hieroglyphic depicted the symbol for life, an ankh, held up to the woman’s nose. Ricard read it silently, sounding it out, Nce xarp wt pwwne Ab etoot abrem… Toujo Abrem etoot pwwne ab… xarp wt au ai ankh qe, and translated it under his breath. “God Horus, as you turned my flesh to stone… God Horus, save me, make me whole…change my stone to flesh…give me the nose breath of life, once more.”
The room vibrated and an unnatural wind swirled within. Ricard’s hair stood on end, but he could not tear his eyes away from the statue. He grabbed the ankh, and this time it gave way, lifting from the statue’s chest. The curiosity that drove him as a scientist, as an Egyptologist, caught hold and as strange as this all seemed, he felt he had come this far, he had to see it through. Laying the ankh against the statue’s small nose, Ricard acted out the last hieroglyphic on the plaque.
He shuddered at the sound of a gush of breath. A flash of light struck inside the room. The shock knocked the breath out of him. The statue moved, but she wasn’t stone anymore.
Jean François gasped and stepped back.
Ricard couldn’t move. It’s a living, breathing woman. He dropped the ankh and it fell against her chest, which now rose and fell with heaving breaths. Ricard managed to step back on shaky legs. He gaped at her, unable to think or speak.
The priestess shrieked. Her brown eyes glowed with anger. “Come near me you Hyksos cobra, and you will die!” she warned in Old Egyptian.