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The Rosetta Key QA

William Dietrich author

Q: Do I have to read “Napoleon’s Pyramids” to enjoy “The Rosetta Key?”
A: No. While The Rosetta Key is a sequel to the earlier book, continuing the story of Ethan Gage’s adventures during Napoleon’s invasion of the Middle East, it is a stand-alone read. Background from the earlier story is provided in the saga. The first book does make the entire epic more enjoyable, however, and I’m betting readers of one will want to try the other.

Q: Why return to the same period and character?
A: Ethan may be of dubious moral fiber at times, but he’s proven oddly popular, his first story selling into twenty-five languages to date. Those who read Napoleon’s Pyramids know that its ending left some questions hanging (literally) and I was as curious as anyone to find out what happens next. So I wrote The Rosetta Key to find out, and bring the story full circle.

Q: What is the setting?
A: In 1799, Napoleon decided to invade the Holy Land after his successful conquest of Egypt the year before. Cut off from France by the defeat of the French navy by Admiral Nelson, Bonaparte gambled that with a relatively small number of men he could overthrow the Ottoman Empire and link up with Tippoo Sahib in India. Had he succeeded, world history would have radically changed. But an unlikely alliance of British, Muslim and French royalist leaders in the city of Acre mounted a desperate defense to stop him. That siege is the centerpiece of my story. The battles are all true.

Q: Are the characters the same or new?
A: A deliberate mix, including what I hope will be some surprises. Ethan meets such interesting people! I think readers will have the satisfaction of seeing this particular episode in Bonaparte’s career completed, while leaving open the door to more Ethan Gage adventures.

Q: Did you visit the Holy Land as you did Egypt?
A: Yes. I waded through underground tunnels in Jerusalem, walked old ramparts and moats at Acre, found the Mount Tabor battlefield on an Israeli kibbutz (you can bet they wanted to know who this strange guy was taking pictures of empty fields), followed the Jordan from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, and walked the ruins of Petra in Jordan. I try to give all my novels a strong sense of place.

Q: Does the Rosetta Key have anything to do with the Rosetta Stone, discovered in Egypt and now in the British Museum?
A: Sorry, you have to read the book. But if you have an interest in ancient and medieval history, Templar and Kabbalah secrets, or the early history of electricity, you’ll enjoy The Rosetta Key.

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