The Justine Trilogy

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The Muslim Brotherhood & The Cairo Codex 3

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

When my husband, Morgan, and I were moving to Egypt in 1989, we read the Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. The first book is Justine, after which the protagonist of the Justine Trilogy is named. Durrell captured the blend of metaphysics (complex world views) and human psychology so pertinent to this part of the story. It vividly describes Egypt in the late 30’s and 40’s, the time when the Brotherhood is becoming more directly active in politics. Two engagements are of particular interest.

The Brotherhood’s most public venture into politics was involvement in the chasm between Palestine and Zionism. The organization raised money to support the worker revolt in Palestine. Many think of the conflict in Palestine as beginning with the 1948 sanctioning of statehood for Israel (a war to which the Brotherhood sent volunteers). Not so. It began in the 19th century with vast Jewish purchases of Palestinian lands. In The Cairo Codex we learn that Mary of Nazareth came from Palestine and finds pleasure in the freedoms she experiences in Egypt.

It is not surprising that Egyptians harbored strong sympathies for the Nazis during WWII. After all, they were being colonized by the British. And, anti-Semiticism was very strong. Hopeful that the war would bring the end to British colonization, the Brotherhood would have to wait for Nasser and the quiet revolution of 1952….

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The Muslim Brotherhood & The Cairo Codex 2

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

In 1928, a young schoolteacher named Hassan al-Banna was asked to establish the Society of Muslim Brothers. He was quite a visionary who sought Islamic renewal as well as an overthrow of British colonization. In the last chapter of The Cairo Codex as story of subjugation and humiliation chronicles the lack of respect and dignity rendered to Egyptians and Arabs by the British.

Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the story…. Between 1928 and 1938, al-Banna sought to link tradition and modernity. Egyptian society was conflicted with extreme traditionalism on one side and corrupted behaviors on the other. A broken sense of identity. With al-Banna’s leadership Egypt became a civil society, understood and delivered welfare support (this has continued to be the case today), land reform, housing and sought an socialist economic system which Nasser would bring about in the mid-50’s.

Then comes the lead up to Palestinian Arab nationalism and World War II….

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How to Use a Novel as a Guidebook

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Nicholas Noyes of the NY Times recently wrote a column by that name. He describes the fascinating of following in the footsteps of Oliver Twist–having seen the film as a 5-year-old. An American who grew up in London, he found new eyes as an adult by traveling Oliver’s journey.
My historical novels known as The Justine Trilogy are anchored in real places and times. Whether in Cairo (The Cairo Codex), Italy (The Italian Letters) or Taos (A Rapture of Ravens), each site is real–there for the picking, pleasures to be harvested. Delectable visits into living history. My posts entitled 72 Hours in Cairo (Parts 1-3) take you on that journey. Several posts on Italy and Taos tantalize you, I trust, to journey there.
What is your favorite historical novel? Have you planned that trip as yet? Add it to your bucket list.

Posted in A Rapture of Ravens, Book Tour, Egypt, Etruscans, Fiction, Florence, history, imagination, Italian Letters, Italy, Rome, Taos, The Justine Trilogy, Travel, trilogy, writing | No Comments » | Leave a Comment

The Justine Trilogy: the movies!

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Imagine a major earthquake in Cairo, anthropologist Justine buried alive, an ancient diary tumbling from the walls of a crypt. These are the promises of a major motion picture based on The Cairo Codex. In The Italian Letters, another ancient crypt
reveals the origin of Italians and the genealogy of the Virgin Mary. In a Rapture of Ravens, an avalanche in Taos, New Mexico, unearths and unravels the migration patterns of the Anasazi. Travel full circle back to the the Egyptian revolution and the faith of Justine’s lover. A gold mine for today’s special effects, these historical novels are unclose and personal with the struggle of today as well…the Muslim Brotherhood, religious conflict, challenging the truths of modern civilization.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Reese Witherspoon–where are you?

Posted in A Rapture of Ravens, D.H. Lawrence, Egypt, Etruscans, Fiction, genealogy, history, Italian Letters, motion pictures, Taos, The Justine Trilogy | No Comments » | Leave a Comment

Creative Confluence…what is it?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

When I shifted from non-fiction to fiction 10 years ago, I was convinced that I needed to start with a clean slate; in other words, not attempt both at the same time–as though they were separate streams of consciousness. My colleague and I had not quite finished Women’s Ways of Leading at the time, but we rushed to finish. After all, in fiction there is surprise, and scenes, and tension, conflict and sex, while in non-fiction…few of the previous approaches are usually present.

When my colleague Mary recently said that my non-fiction (in a new text entitled Liberating Leadership Capacity) had benefited from the writing of The Justine Trilogy, well, I had to reexamine my assumptions. Was there more of a confluence than I imagined? I am using “confluence” here to mean the processes of merging and emerging. This is what I notice: language flows more easily, like rivers coming together; language choice is more poetic; cognitive dissonance echoes tension; touches of mystery and romance provide glimpses into wisdom.

Would I advise dappling in fiction and non-fiction at the same time? Sure–it’s a fertile playground. An adventure. Camus might call it absurdism, but writers have often created reciprocity between and among novels and essays.

We are off to Washington, D. C. for the release of the new text–then to New York to see our granddaughter and a few plays….

Posted in Book Tour, creativity, Fiction, Leadership Capacity, non-fiction, shifting genres, The Justine Trilogy, writing | No Comments » | Leave a Comment

The Thrill of Taos

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Returning to Taos is like returning to a home that never was…meaning that it has always seemed like home, but I didn’t grow up here. However, Morgan and I have spent many, many months here over the past five years—years bringing us into intimate contact with the balmy air that caresses our skin, the full moon rising over the Sangre de Cristo (isn’t there a full moon every night in Taos?), a scattered mosaic of clouds in a big sky over Sacred Mountain, the rich blend of cultures led by the Tiwa of the Taos Pueblo. More than a thousand years of history.

Much has happened in these five years: The D. H. Lawrence Ranch is now open—Kateri Tekakwitha is an authentic Saint—The World Heritage Taos Pueblo and Rancho de Taos Saint Francis Church continue to attract people from all over the world—The Egyptian Revolution took surprising, and not always pleasing, turns—the Taos economy is on the upturn. Tonight, the grandchildren of the original Art Colony founders describe 100 years of creative impulse here. Tomorrow, we hear the story of the 400 years of shared Native-Hispanic-Anglo history. Music is in the air everywhere you turn.

What perspective does time provide? Five years, 100 years, 400 years, a thousand years. A spiral of wisdom that is Taos.

The people of Taos have been so welcoming that the writing of A Rapture of Ravens: Awakening in Taos emerged with ease from the minds and hearts of these generous folk. Many of them will gather Friday, June 12th, at 6:30 at the Mabel Dodge Luhan estate for the “world release” party.

Posted in A Rapture of Ravens, Book Tour, D.H. Lawrence, Egypt, Florence, Frieda Lawrence, history, Taos, The Justine Trilogy, writing | No Comments » | Leave a Comment

Book Talks-A Rapture of Ravens: Awakening in Taos

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

World release, Mabel Dodge Luhan Conference Center, Taos,
New Mexico, June 12, 6:00
Private release, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 14, 5:30
Four-Eyed Frog, Gualala, CA, July 4, 4:00
Diesel Books, 5433 College Ave., Oakland, July 9, 6:30
Books, Inc., Opera Plaza, 601 Van Ness, San Francisco, July 10, 7:00
Books, Inc., 865 El Camino Real, #74, Palo Alto, July 30, 7:00
Mendocino Book Gallery, August 21, 7:00
Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA, August 29, 4:00

Want to know more?? E-mail me at linlambert@mcn.org

Posted in A Rapture of Ravens, Book Tour, Books Inc., D.H. Lawrence, Fiction, Frieda Lawrence, Taos, The Justine Trilogy | No Comments » | Leave a Comment

Why Taos?

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Many know that Taos is a magical, historical, and stunning place. But why set the third novel in The Justine Trilogy there? After all, The Cairo Codex is set in Egypt; The Italian Letters in Italy.

Quite simply, D. H. Lawrence is buried in a little white chapel perched on the side of Lobo Mountain just outside of Taos. While he died of tuberculosis in the south of France in 1930, his wife Frieda’s lover brought his ashes back to Taos in 1936. Now, nearly 80 years later, the Ranch—owned by the University of New Mexico and closed for many years, has reopened.

When anthropologist Justine Jenner discovered letters from Lawrence in her great grandmother’s attic in Italy, she was compelled to follow him, to find out who he really was—and to find what he discovered about himself on the side of Lobo Mountain. In exploring the life of her great grandmother’s lover, Justine discovers herself as well.

One week from today, A Rapture of Ravens: Awakening in Taos will be released.

Posted in A Rapture of Ravens, D.H. Lawrence, Fiction, Frieda Lawrence, history, Taos, The Justine Trilogy | No Comments » | Leave a Comment

Serendipity – A Writer’s Journey of Discovery

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

It all began when, as a young girl, I hid Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence under my mattress (who didn’t?). Women in Love and other Lawrence novels, short stories, and poems followed, keeping my infatuation deep in my consciousness. But it was not until my husband, Morgan, and I wandered into a bookstore in an Etruscan ruin in Italy in the mid-80’s and discovered Etruscan Places that Lawrence became an obsession. His unforgettable perspective on the Etruscans explained the heretofore unexplainable about these mysterious people.

Years passed. After all, I wasn’t a novelist as yet. I was busy with non-fiction writing –then moving in Egypt. Cairo fully captivated us. Old crypts and earthquakes and religious tensions demanded my attention. It was inside the crypt that had allegedly been home to the Holy Family that the first novel in the Justine Trilogy took form.

After giving birth to The Cairo Codex, I discovered that D. H. Lawrence was still waiting in the wings. But it was not until my protagonist Justine climbed into her grandmother’s attic in Fiesole that I found The Italian Letters. I know this may seem strange, but I didn’t know what she would find until old lace began to rise from a trunk untouched for 80 years.

These letters led me into Taos, New Mexico, and A Rapture of Ravens: Awakening in Taos… to be released May 12. My life as a writer has been one serendipitous event after another.

Next week: Why Taos?

Posted in A Rapture of Ravens, D.H. Lawrence, Egypt, Etruscans, Fiction, Italian Letters, Italy, Taos, The Justine Trilogy, tombs, Travel, trilogy, writing | No Comments » | Leave a Comment

Press Release: A Rapture of Ravens

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

ARaptureofRavens-sma new historical novel filled with native mysticism, the romance of the high desert, literary intrigue, and echoes of the Egyptian revolution

The third in The Justine Trilogy, this sizzling novel is preceded by the award-winning The Cairo Codex and The Italian Letters. Anthropologist Justine Jenner travels to Taos in search of her great-grandfather, D. H. Lawrence, and her own identity. In Taos, she finds the peoples of the pueblo, archaeologists, Lawrence aficionados, and followers of Kateri, the Indian saint, who draw her into the riveting blend of cultures, including the pursuit of the migration patterns of the peoples of Mesa Verde.

Driven to understand the spirituality Lawrence found at his ranch on Lobo Mountain, Justine uncovers documents and letters in the subterranean tunnels and wild terrain of New Mexico that explain his mysterious journey. Her Egyptian lover joins her at Christmas, 2010, proposes, then returns to Cairo to lead the revolution. After witnessing the beating of Amir in Tahrir Square on television, Justine runs from this truth and is imprisoned by a massive avalanche. The stunning finale engages Justine in a life and death struggle with nature and herself.

The Justine Trilogy follows the quest of Justine into Egypt, Italy and Taos. Exploring bold themes of dominant human desires, fundamentalism, sexual awakening, feminism, and the pressures that lead to revolution, these novels form a spiral of interlocking mysteries and experiences, propelled by Justine’s increasing maturity and proactivity, her insatiable curiosity, and her sensitivities as an anthropologist.

The world release of A Rapture of Ravens: Awakening in Taos will be held June 12, 2015, at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house in Taos, New Mexico.

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