When I was coming up with the plot for THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS, I wanted to send Eden back to his home country of Brazil. I don't know why I wanted to do this, it just seemed really important to me to separate him from the others to find the Deldah-sha Orchid. It felt like something of a personal journey for him, I suppose. I like Eden alot, I like his intelligence, so I really wanted to bring some sophistication to his journey. I discovered the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, the city's beautiful Opera House, and I immediately wanted to use it to juxtapose beauty and sophistication with the savagery of the jungle and the danger Eden is in.
Originally, Eden's adventure in the Amazon was MUCH bigger - about 150 pages bigger! But the novel was too long, so I had to cut into the Amazon storyline to preserve as much as I could of Egypt (which was the central storyline). And so the piranhas, the anacondas, the riverboat chases all came out. Don't worry, they didn't go in the trash. I'll find a home for them one day, they're too good to throw away!
Anyway, here in one of these photos of the glorious Teatro Amazonas you can see the Rio Negro in the background, which joins with the Amazon a short way down the river.