Egyptian Fiction Galore Message Board
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2ruthkneale Primo messaggio
I too like books set in ancient Egypt. Pauline Gedge is probably my favorite author in this niche. I loved The Twelfth Transforming.
I also liked Allen Drury. I have a double edition (HC) with A God Against the Gods with the sequel Return to Thebes in one book.
Norman Mailer wrote a large book set there called Ancient Evenings.
Duncan Sprott has two books in a 4 book series called the Ptolemies quartet. The House of the Eagle and Ptolemies.
Wilbur Smith who writes adventure/thrillers with exotic settings has 3 books: The Seventh Scroll which is set in the modern world and the past, and two others that are set just in the past. The last 2 are not thriller-type books, and more like historical fiction: The River God and its sequel Warlock.
Margaret George has a massive book called Cleopatra.
Paul Doherty or P.C. Doherty has a mystery series set during the time of Hatshepsut. The Mask of Ra is the first. The others are: The Horus Killings, The Anubis Slayings. The Slayers of Seth, The Assassins of Isis. I don't think all are published in the US. He is from the UK and I had to get the last 2 I think, from there.
He also has a 3 books series about Ankhenaten which is: An Evil Spirit Out of the West and then has The Season of the Hyaena and the final book The Year of the Cobra. I have imported these books from the UK, so I don't know if they are available here (if so, its probably still in HC).
I also liked a standalone book by Carol Thurston called The Eye of Horus.
I also have the books by Jacq, Robinson, Paglia (non-fiction)and Essex. The Essex book Kleopatra has a sequel called Pharaoh - but it was in HC, and then went out of print.
Another standalone is When We Were Gods by Colin Falconer
The Ahnkenaten story I always see as tragic, the story usually paints the Pharoh in a sympathetic light, and we all know that it is going to turn out badly in the end.
I enjoyed Allen Drury's story along with the ones I've mentioned. I find that Jacq's characters seem two dimensional. The Queen of Freedom Trilogy almost seemed to have the Hyksos having cabinet meetings where the main topic of discussion was "How Can We Be More Evil" - is Jacq projecting Nazi occupiers of France onto the Hyksos I wonder.
Waltari's novelisation for Ahnkenaten I found to be a touch dry. I had a difficult time feeling as though I could believe his characters.
I've not read any of Moyra Caldecott's books. How are they?
I have also read Anton Gill's three detective stories set in the reign of Tutankamun, where the main character is a disgraced doctor (a supporter of Akenaten). These are very good, but quite tragic. Apparently he has several more but they are not translated to English.
There doesn't seem to be much grey area in Jacq's books - the good people are good and the bad people tend to be truly evil, with no redeeming features. I enjoyed the Ramses series, but was frustrated, that only Ramses himself seemed ignorant of the traitor in his midst.
The book is called The Year of the Hyenas by Brad Geagley. It starts with the murder of a minor priestess in the tomb makers village and ends with the plot to take over the kingdom. Very well done. Deals with the tomb makers, the personal life of the main character, life in Thebes and the royals from the palace.
I just got the 2nd book in the series Day of the False King from Amazon. It has the same main character, but it is set in Babylon. Looking forward to starting it.
I will post, but I am not sure when I will get to it. I have lots of books to read, and can never tell what book I will read next.
Turns out I didn't wait long. I have read Day of the False King and have to say it was even better than the first one. It starts a bit slow, Semerket is summoned to the palace and given a task by Pharaoh. Then he travels to Babylon.
Once he gets there the story really takes off, and the characters are just wonderful. Some old ones, and many new ones. The setting is so well done, full of meaty detail, but never delivered in an info-dump. I devoured it and couldn't put it down.
On the mystery front, there were a lot of hints and foreshadowing that pretty much let you figure things out be Semerket did. But my main reason for reading was for the setting and the characters, not the difficulty of the mystery.
I was so sad when I finished that I found Brad's web page and sent him an email asking when the next one is coming out. Turns out his S&S editor retired and he and his agent don't want to get pigeon holed, so although the next one is outlined, he is now working on Historical Fiction. The story is set around Cleopatra. But no word on when it will be out.
ETA: I didn't think there was a lot of "hot stuff" in it. Either I missed something or I'm inured to "hot stuff" in books. lol
15tamburlaine Primo messaggio
I just finished Nefertiti by Nick Drake. I was ambivalent for most of the book, though I have decided I liked it at the end.
I thought the writing was horrible for most of it. Lots of long sentences with single words set off by commas. It kept the book from flowing. For me the reading experience was like hitting speed bumps, though he did have some beautiful phrases and descriptions. About 2/3 of the way through, either he got better or I adapted, because I became more enthralled with the story.
He did the character development and the settings well. I liked Rahotep and Kety, and he made the bad/dangerous guys more than just cartoon badies, except for the police chief. I thought there needed to be more explanation or depth there.
There were some problems with anachronisms: cat's tail in the form of a question mark, men shaking hands, gunwales on boats, and corn. While people may have called something else corn in the past, today's corn is a new world product, and using the word is really unnecessary. He refers to it as having yellow heads to add to the confusion.
I thought the idea of a mystery around Nefertiti's disappearance was brilliant, but he never made anything out of it. It fizzled, rather than being a point of suspense, tension, or danger. I won't reveal the details, but it was quite a let down.
I think some of his Egyptian stuff is off, or he is doing his own thing in terms of interpretation. Tut is thought to be 9 when he ascended, but in this book although he is young, he is too old to be 9 when his reign starts. The book is in year 12 of Ankhenaten's 17 year reign and if you believe Tut was next then he would have to be 4 in this book, yet he wanders alone in the palace. If you believe Smenkhkare existed then it would about 7 years and Tut would have had to be 2 in this book.
Which brings us to the 'hot' designation. At the end of the book he has Nefertiti appearing with the Blue Crown (War Crown), and with the crook, flail and false beard. Great Royal Wives (Queens) did not use those symbols unless they were reigning as King in their own right (Hatshepsut/Hatchepsut). That scene combined with the ending, the move back to Thebes, says that Drake is using the 'Nefertiti is Smenkhkare' interpretation that has been made up by Nicholas Reeves in his Akhenaten: Egypt's False Prophet. This is or was an edgy interpretation of the succession after Ankhenaten.
The problem is that they can't really account for Tut, since he never appears with the royal family. They have him as a child of Kiya a foreign princess in the harem and Ankhenaten. But If he were the heir then Nefertiti would simply have become his official mother and he would have been included in the depictions of the family. He is obviously related, but may be the son of a brother or sister to Ankenhaten.
The whole Kiya angle has become orthodoxy and would fall to bits if they had to deal with an older brother, Smenkhkare and explain why he too was never depicted with the family. So there are 2 options, one is pretend he didn't exist, or most recently pretend Nefertiti did a Hatshepsut, but for some reason changed her name and ruled as Smenkhkare. There was a co-regency with Ankhenaten, and then Smenkhkare was on his own for about 18 months to two years.
There is dispute about the age of the body found in KV55. It has been poorly buried and mutilated. If it is older some think it is Ankhenaten, if it is younger some think Smenkhkare. What they do know using modern forensic techniques is that the skulls of KV55 and Tut match up to a degree of relationship to be either father and son, or brothers. If they are brothers then the Nefertiti as Smenkhkare theory is out the window.
In any event Drake seems to be implying that is his direction, and he has done it without a lot of over the top nonsense. So while I don't believe Nefertiti was Smenkhkare, it will be interesting to read about it. I look forward to his next book.
She also plays fast and loose with the timeline as well - seeming to compress the reign of Akenaten, whilst the family tree at the start suggest that the narrator will eventually bear the child Nefertari who will marry Ramses I.
Based on what you say about Drake's novel -
If you can get this one secondhand I would recommend reading it, but I wouldn't think you'd want to pay full price.
#17 Not actually confused ?
And yes I know about the other book by Moran, but it is still in hardcover and I don't buy/read them. I will wait until it is in paper to check it out, thanks for the warning.
Some authors view them (N&A) as villains and use that as license to portray them badly in their books. Its not the option I prefer when reading fiction about them or their time period.
It is always sad when they portray N&A sympathetically since we all know it will end in tears.
I am wondering if Moran plans more novels or if this is a one off.
In other news Nick Drake's book Tutankamun has finally arrived and I picked it up last weekend. Hopefully I won't keep the readers hear hanging for so long before I read this one
As for the latest Drake - I couldn't figure out if I liked or disliked the "modern" police/crime style story - and whilst I overall liked the book, it is always a chore to read stories about the Akenaten/Tutankamun era where the hero is upright and honest in the face of corrupt priests and the scheming of Ay and Horemheb because you always know it is going to end badly :)
Just to avoid dormancy.
And, as long as I'm here, does anyone know of a fictionalized version of the Petubastis cycle?
I started it this morning after blitzing one of Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles.
Lets see how this one plays out.
Thanks for mentioning my book. I'm excited to hear what you thought.
I would love to read more of your Egyptian stories. If you do self-publish (ebook?) please let us know.