Symbol Secrets from The Jerusalem Puzzle & a £100 prize.

Posted by on Dec 6, 2012 in Historical Puzzles, The Jerusalem Puzzle

The square and arrow symbol in the manuscript Sean and Isabel found under Hagia Sophia in The Istanbul Puzzle returns in The Jerusalem Puzzle. In The Jerusalem Puzzle the symbol is discovered in the Museum of Antiquities in central Cairo near Tahrir Square.  This is the museum where  King Tutankhamun’s famous golden mask is on display. The remains of many famous Pharaohs are housed there, as well as items from their tombs, along with a huge papyrus and coin collection on the ground floor. Sean goes to the museum after seeing a picture of a papyrus fragment in a guide to the museum. Here is the fragment: My interest in the square and arrow symbol was inspired by this fragment. The caption on the card beneath the fragment reads, according to my notes: Papyrus fragment found 1984 in rubbish pit near the Black Pyramid (built King Amenemhat III, Middle Kingdom era, 2055-1650 BC), by the Austrian Institute of Cairo. The lower hieroglyph represents the Queen of Darkness. The upper hieroglyph has not been deciphered. The only other example of these hieroglyphs is from a stone inscription at the Gihon Pool in Jerusalem, a Canaanite province of Egypt during the Middle Kingdom era. The symbol reappears later in The Jerusalem Puzzle when it is used as a marker and also near the end when its purpose is further alluded too. The Jerusalem Puzzle provides strong clues as to what this symbol means. And there is still a prize of £100 available to anyone who breaks the code contained in the symbol. Some other possible meanings since I created this original post on what the symbol means, include that it was used as a mnemonic or that it was an old Mandarin symbol for the sun found in the  Zhongyuan Yinyun. The character has been simplified in modern Mandarin to 日 (rì) meaning day; sun; date; or day of the month according to that theory. I don’t know if any of that will help you win the £100 prize! But it just might. Good luck! And remember – no purchase is necessary to solve this...

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A sense of adventure. What makes you read on? #1

Posted by on Nov 3, 2012 in On Writing

  The above picture is of the start of a demonstration in east Jerusalem in early 2012. As I photographed it I could feel the hairs on my head standing up. Behind me there were crowds of people watching what was going on. Every eye on Sultan Suleiman street was following the action. There was yelling too. And a lot of young men. The main group was waving a Palestinian flag and chanting in Arabic. The mounted Israeli police were moving in. A demonstrator had died the day before not far away. He had been shot at an Israeli checkpoint. I had no idea what was going to happen next, but I felt it was important to be there, to understand what Jerusalem is like, because I was writing about the city. I love adventure as much as the next person, but getting close to it has its downsides. It’s a lot less threatening to experience such things through the eyes of others. I could never get to that bridge under the Misty Mountains as Tolkien’s orcs ran after me. I’d have been cut down. And I can’t get to the planet Trantor to see Asimov’s Haro Seldon give a speech, or to ancient Egypt during a crocodile hunt on the Nile as described by Wilbur Smith. But I can go to all these places through the novels of these wonderful writers. And I can be sick in bed and as poor as Oliver Twist and still go there. That’s what I like about reading. What I would like to know is, what adventure stories have you liked? They could be about the search for love, that’s a big part of The Istanbul Puzzle, or they could be about the edge of our galaxy or about the struggle to stay alive in a modern city. I would love to know about the adventure stories you’ve liked. This is the first in a series of four posts in the run up to the launch of The Jerusalem Puzzle on ebook December 3rd and in paperback in many countries January 3rd. I truly look forward to you...

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