Egypt during the 18th dynasty is peaceful and prosperous under the joint rule of the pharaohs Amenhotep III and IV—until the younger pharaoh begins to dream new and terrifying dreams.
Ptah-hotep, a young peasant boy studying to be a scribe, wants to live a simple life in a hut on the Nile River with his lover Kheperren and their dog Wolf—until Amenhotep IV appoints him as royal scribe. How long will Ptah-hotep survive there, surrounded by bitterly envious rivals and enemies?
The child princess Mutnodjme sees her beautiful sister Nefertiti married off to the impotent young Amenhotep. But Nefertiti must bear royal children, so the ladies of the court devise a shocking plan.
Kheperren, meanwhile, serves as scribe to the daring teenage general Horemheb. But while the pharaoh’s shrinking army guards the land of the Nile from enemies on every border, a far greater menace impends, for the newly renamed Akhnaten, not content with his own devotion to one god alone, plans to suppress the worship of all other gods in the Black Land.
Members of his horrified court soon realize that the pharaoh is not merely deformed but irretrievably mad and that the biggest danger to the empire is within the royal palace itself.
©2010, 2013 Kerry Greenwood (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc
"Australian author Greenwood, having made a name for herself with the lighthearted Phryne Fisher series, succeeds brilliantly with this gripping thriller set in ancient Egypt…The author is especially good at conveying the nitty-gritty details of life at the time." (Publishers Weekly)
"Three young people living in the time of Egypt’s eighteenth dynasty become a force to be reckoned with…. As powerful forces fight for control, the fate of the nation hangs in the balance. From the often wildly differing conclusions of professional Egyptologists, Greenwood, best known for her mysteries, has fashioned a fascinating, plausible, and erotic tale." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Greenwood takes readers deep into the heart of ancient Egypt, making them wonder—much like Ptah-hotep does—if they will come out the other side intact. While some may argue that this story leans more toward historical fiction than mystery, the intricacies of the court and those who serve it hold more than their share of intrigue and suspense." (Library Journal)
This book should be called "Out of the Black Land - A Historical Romance Novel"
Yes, Kerry Greenwood is a well known mystery writer (I happen to be a fan of her Phryne series which is set in the 1920s). So, when I read the title of this book, I assumed that it is a detective story that's set in the Ancient Egypt. So, I kept on waiting for a crime to happen & an investigation to begin but none of them ever happened because the novel is not a mystery novel.
I love Kerry Greenwood's works; but, I'm not a historical romance fan. So, this book isn't something I want to read. But, I'm sure that many historical romance fans might love it.
Not all historical romance fans are mystery novel fans & vice versa. And, just because Kerry Greenwood is best known for her fun detective novels, it doesn't mean that she will never write any book in a different genre.
This book's inaccurate label/title doesn't do anyone any good:
- Historical romance fans (who might enjoy this book) might never read this book (in other words, this book won't be able to reach many of its ideal customers/consumers)
- Mystery novels readers who dislike romance novels won't like this book
- Disappointed readers might return this book and will not rate this book highly
I know I will never listen to this audio book again.
I did. I'd spent so much time with these characters that I wanted to experience them again.
I absolutely love that this book was such a long book. I enjoyed every rich detail and description, the entire building of this world, characters and lives was spell-binding.
I am so happy that there was both a male AND a female narrators....not just a male adjusting his voice to mimic that of a female and vice versa. It really made the story work!
I've loved the Haney and Robinson "Ancient Egypt" stories. This one is equally well researched and well presented. Even though a historian knows the overall "what happens", the author's view of HOW it might have happened is excellent.
The means of tying historical fact and characters to the story was excellently done and presents a new take on things.
The stories of some of the minor characters could have been explored, but overall, this was well done.
One hopes this author will write another.
I thought I was buying a fictional account of Egypt's Nubian Queen Nefertiti. Why the author thought the book would be better as told by Nefertiti's sister, I'll never know. Since it is FICTION which much allowed literary license, why wasn't the story be from Nefertiti's point of view? At least we would know her thoughts, feelings, aspirations, and/or disappointments. Instead we are forced to listen to a muddled mess of fictional conjecture on the part of the sister! ("Fictional conjecture"? Isn't that an oxymoron of some kind?) I don't know how this book got 4 stars. I love Kerry Greenwood's "Phryne Fisher" series. But this book, a leap to far from her comfort zone, is a hot mess! Not only must we wade through the unfortunate choice of primary storyteller, there's a "whole 'nother" plot line about two gay scribes. REALLY?!? I have no problems with same sex partnering, whether it's for fun or a serious commitment. But this sidebar is an insult to gay and lesbians everywhere!! It's entirely too gratuitously graphic and the sex scenes serve no purpose. Finally, the plot line (whatever it is) gets bogged down by paragraphs of Egyptian history and folklore and names of people and gods which sound as if they were all lifted from Wikipedia!! Don't waste your money or credit on this amateurish attempt at historical fiction.
I was drawn to this because of the author's other books, all mysteries of a sort, plus the review mentioned her ability to convey the details of day to day life in ancient Egypt. Her lighthearted approach to period fiction is sorely lacking here and a tad too much detail regarding the love life of the Royal scribe and his male and female lovers is just out of place. I am about half way through the book and without any "mystery" yet, just the expectation of more of the same type of daily details but with no character development and so far, only a glancing reference to Akhnaten and his theories, I'm bored. With the biggest romance being between two guys, this is just not my cup of tea. I've read other books about Akhnaten and his daring theology and what it did to Egypt, so I'm not "up in the air" about what happens historically. Anyone who has read other books about this era will not find anything this book has to offer.
So, without any real mystery, no new historical interpretation, boring two dimensional characters and a young adult lit approach to the story, I have no interest in finishing this book. It feels more like a history for young adult readers, if you don't mind your young adults reading books with sex scenes. Maybe they will be engaged, I know I'm not. I'm not sure a sophisticated adolescent would be engaged either, there are many well-written young adult books, which I've read and enjoyed, this doesn't happen to be one of them. Yawn.
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