Arwen Elys Dayton began her career as a teenage staff writer at a foundation that produced Peabody Award-winning educational shows for PBS. Soon afterward, she began writing screenplays and novels, including Sovereign's Hold and Resurrection. She spends months doing research for her stories and enjoys creating complete worlds inhabited by characters who charm, frustrate, or inspire.
The inspiration for Resurrectionbegan with pondering a problem: the best explanations of how the Great Pyramid was built just don’t hold up.
The most accepted of the official explanations boil down to some version of this: a giant ramp was used, blocks of stone (some weighing as much as 200 tons) were floated down the Nile, then rolled on logs up the ramp, and set neatly in place. The problem with the ramp theory is that it turns out the volume of the ramp would have been as great as the volume of the pyramid itself. And as for the logs, well, trees can be very strong, but if you look at how far away the quarries were, how many trees would have been needed (and how few existed in Egypt), and how heavy each individual block was, it's hard to arrive at traditional conclusions.
I am not beating the drum for alien intervention or advanced technologies, but the problems with this explanation does leave a novelist a lot of wiggle room.
In researching Resurrection, I toured the Great Pyramid with maverick archeologist John Anthony West, known around the world for poking large holes in archaeological doctrine. (His best-known book, Serpent in the Sky, is a great introduction to his work.)
When we arrived in Egypt, the pyramid was actually closed to visitors due to some renovations of the interior walkways. Luckily, John knew the art of baksheesh (the North African term for bribery), and also pulled some strings with higher-ups. Combined, these assets bought us private entrance into the pyramid, which we explored by flashlight--a flashlight with batteries that were already low when we started and which had nearly run out by the time we emerged back into the sunlight and heat of the Giza Plateau.
John was a big proponent of the pyramid's sound enhancement qualities (which ended up playing a part in the plot of Resurrection), and I was instructed to lie in the sarcophagus in the King's Chamber and chant an Om. Why an Om? I don't know, but it sounded amazing. The chamber didn't echo exactly, it just took the sound and magnified it, letting it reverberate through the solid walls for a LONG time. In that dark space, with the flashlight's beam starting to flicker as the batteries gave out, it was a bit creepy but also breathtaking. From my standpoint, my visit to the Great Pyramid may have been more exciting than the one paid by Pruit and Eddie in the story--but I'll let you be the judge.
Of course, Resurrectionis not actually about how the pyramids were built. That's just a piece of the story. It's about a clash of cultures and personalities that gave shape to ancient Egypt and threatens to change the course of our modern world. And above all it's about Pruit, who hopefully, like other female heroes (Ripley from Alien always comes to mind) makes you think, "I want to be her, but please--I don't want her problems!" For better or for worse, I think there's a little bit of Pruit in all of us.
I hope you enjoy Resurrection. I certainly enjoyed writing it.