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The Twilight of Egyptian Culture
Cleopatra, a symbol of glamour and adventure for two centuries, was the last pharoah. Egyptian culture was in its twilight, about to be gobbled up by the Romans. In the chaotic days when Julius Caesar and his soldiers were at the shores of Alexandria, the beautiful capital city on the Mediteranean, what remained of an ancient spiritual tradition survived in a special place along the Nile, near the Giza monuments. This was the holy temple at Heliopolis, where the secret knowledge and wisdom of Osiris had been passed on since before the first pharaoh had united Upper and Lower Egypt. Led by high priest Maneto, a small group of young people were learning the secrets of this ancient tradition even as they were dismissed as a fringe group. While the citizens of Egypt worried about the present, the initiates at Heliopolis struggled to preserve the past.
Tara Monteil is a thirteen-year old girl who lives in modern times and is also interesed in the past. Trying to settle an argument between her parents, she decides to write a school paper on the last days of the Egyptian civilization. She goes to the library at the university where her father teaches to look at an Egyptian papyrus. Through the magic of this papyrus, she finds herself propelled two thousand years in the past, standing in front of the sphinx. Maneto, the high priest, is mysteriously there to meet her and takes her to the temple where she joins Nannora as the second female initiate, beginning an unforgettable friendship that spans the centuries.
Tara's new friends are worried about their future. Will the Romans take over, or can Cleopatra put together an alliance that lets Egypt remain independent for a bit longer? Tara knows the answer and, on a wonderful journey up the Nile with Maneto and a handsome young man named Karmenes, she meets Cleopatra and helps make history happen.
But Tara's knowledge of the future proves dangerous and she and Nannora soon find they have enemies, even as Tara tries to use her new knowledge to get back home. This is the story of Tara's journey into the past, Nannora's realization of her destiny, and the unfolding of history that dictated the end of the Egyptian culture.
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Learn more about Egypt and its fascinating history at these web sites:
A nice collection of pictures of the sphinx
Official website of Zahi Hawass, chief archeologist of Egypt