After a gradual and mostly bloodless invasion, Egypt has fallen into the hands of a foreign power known as the “Rulers of the Upland.” Using subtle means of political power and economic country, plundering its riches and slowly subverting its religion and culture.
But there is one family in Thebes, claiming descent from the last true King of Egypt, that cannot accept the rule of the foreign king Apepa. Defying him becomes the only clear option for the persecuted yet proud Seqenenra Tao, Prince of Weset, whose shocking revolt sets in motion a series of events that will either destroy his family or resurrect a dynasty and an entire way of life for Egypt.
Launching a trilogy chronicling the struggles of an ancient Egyptian dynasty, veteran historical novelist Gedge (Lady of the Reeds) lays the groundwork for a saga steeped in intrigue and treachery. This volume opens with Seqenenra, Prince of Weset and descendant of the original rulers of Egypt, chafing under the reign of Apepa, Lord of Two Lands, who controls Upper and Lower Egypt capriciously from his seat of power in the Nile Delta. Apepa is threatened by Seqenenra's royal lineage and mounts a campaign of harassment and humiliation. As missives from the faraway leader become increasingly irrational, including a demand to slaughter the hippopotamuses of Weset because "the noise of their bawling is in my august ears day and night," an indignant Seqenenra plans an insurrection with the help of his twin sons, Kamose and Si-Amun. Recruiting an army of mercenaries, they ready themselves to battle the Setiu, but unbeknownst to Seqenenra his male heirs have different opinions about his judgment. When one inadvertently betrays his father, the consequences determine his family's future--and allow Gedge to speculate about the fine line between compromised loyalty and treachery. While Gedge brings the era to life with her customary command of period detail, Egyptian cultural mores (particularly the practice of arranging marriages between siblings to preserve family fortunes) often jar with the behaviors of some of the characters, who seem too modern in their mannerisms. The dialogue is hindered by Gedge's contrasting attempts to sound a note of antiquity while investing enough contemporaneity into the speech to engage today's readers. Even so, the author's track record as a historical novelist and her impressive knowledge of ancient Egypt, lend the novel commercial appeal. $25,000 ad/promo; BOMC and QPB alternate selections.