The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books


Ancient Egypt

Korax of Rhodes (of The Mazes of Magic, by Jack Massa)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a man from the ancient world. He is here to tell us about his life, from Thracian roots, a childhood in Rhodes, and a slavery in Egypt — as well as about temples, gods, and dark magic.

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

As best I remember, I grew up in a prosperous family on the island of Rhodes, site of the glorious Colossus of Helios. I say ‘as best I remember’, because my memories are fractured, and I am subject to spells of madness.

That is most unfortunate. How did this happen to you?

I fear I have only myself to blame.

My father was a merchant of Rhodes, but my mother hailed from Thrace, the land of witches. When I was a babe, I watched her with her handmaids performing magical rites. Later, when I was older, I would sneak from my bed on nights of the full moon and climb to the roof of the house, where I could spy on her ceremonies. It seems I learned more than was good for me.

How do you mean?

In the last memories I have of Rhodes, I was 19. Spring had come, the Festival of Dionysus. It was my favorite time of year; I played the lyre and was passionate about drama and song.

But that Dionysia was different. I used the witchcraft I had secretly learned from my mother to conjure the god, to help me win a singing contest. I also used his inspiration to compose satiric songs, to humiliate certain rivals—young men who had bullied me on many occasions. My strategy worked too well. The bullies were driven from the feast hall in shame. But the next morning they cornered me on the street and beat me nearly to death, smashing my head on the pavement.

What happened after that is unclear—painful fragments of memory. Eventually, I found myself in a slave yard in Egypt.

Where do you live now?

Now I am a scribe at the Temple of Ptah, in Memphis on the Nile. I translate documents from Egyptian to Greek, as required by King Ptolemy of Alexandria. I am also used as a seer by my master, the High Priest Harnouphis. Continue reading “Korax of Rhodes (of The Mazes of Magic, by Jack Massa)”

Sheshamun (of Behind Palace Walls by Erin Chase)

Erin Chase - Behind Palace Walls Book coverDear readers, tonight with us is a woman elevated to the highest order – the Pharaoh’s own court, and then rudely ejected by rivals within. She is here to tell us about life in Ancient Egypt.



What were your first few days in the palace’s harem like?

My first few days in the palace’s harem were very overwhelming! It is the complete opposite of a peasant’s life. I mean the food… goodness! Succulent duck and quail, honey drizzled on everything, fragrant wine, and the sweetmeats… oh the sweetmeats!

Sorry, what was the question again? Oh right, my introduction to the concubine lifestyle. Well on the plus side, I met my great friend Serera in the harem, as well as Manon, the Keeper of the Harem. I loved lounging by the water, playing Senet or Dogs and Jackals, and sharing my intimate secrets with Serera.

However, when it came to dealing with a couple of the other, more established concubines, life was tough! Senra and her partner in crime from the Far East, Tokahiru, sure knew how to make my life a living hell. Continue reading “Sheshamun (of Behind Palace Walls by Erin Chase)”

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