Being as big of an Ancient Egypt fan as I am a Tudor fan I had lofty expectations for this book, and was blown away by how well written it was. Nefertiti becomes Queen to one of the craziest Pharaoh's Egypt has seen and raises herself up higher than any women ever had. The story follows her through her life from her home in Akhmim, to the changing court of Amarna, and finally back to the traditional court of Thebes.
The story is told from the perspective of Nefertiti's younger sister Mutnodjmet as she walks the line between her family's ambitions, the increasingly erratic behavior of the Pharaoh, and her own desires to have a husband and family. If you think Tudor politics were bad, check out what happened in Egypt under the rule of Pharaoh Akhenaten! According to the author, the story is told from the sister's perspective because you can feel more for her, whereas Nefertiti is difficult to feel sympathy for. I have to slightly disagree with this. I definitely felt connected to the story of Mutnodjmet and all that she went through in her life: there were times that I cried and times that were funny. By the time I got to the end of the story I felt very strongly for Nefertiti and she even evoked a few tears.
This book was very well researched and all aspects of Egyptian life are well described: gods, religious practices, food, lifestyle, gardens, palaces, homes, city life, people, etc. It's important to note that as this is historical fiction some facts, people, and places have been changed for easier flow of the story or understanding of the reader, but the author does a fine job of detailing this in the back of the book as well as on her website.
I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone interested in Egyptian history. It is well researched and fun to read. I cannot wait to read the sequel,The Heretic Queen.
Michelle Moran also has written two other books with an Egyptian slant to them: The Heretic Queen and Cleopatra's Daughter.
You can visit Michelle's website for additional information about the books. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book? There is also a great Q&A with the author about the book.
This review is of a book from my personal collection and is based solely on my reading pleasure. Review originally posted at The Maiden's Court on May 15, 2009.