The Horus Road is the riveting conclusion of Pauline Gedge's three-volume epic, the Lords of the Two Lands, which chronicles the courageous and often tragic struggle of the Tao Princes to free their country from the foreign rule of the Setiu king Apepa.
Ahmose vows to continue the struggle that has taken the life of his father and brother. It is up to him to devise a strategy to capture the Setiu capital, Het-Uart, in order to free Egypt once and for all. But the devious Apepa will stop at nothing, no matter how ruthless, to rob the Tao family of its chance for total victory. Military might alone will not be enough for Ahmose to breach the city's walls. He will need a miracle from Amun.
Chronicling the struggle between Egypt's native kings and the foreign Setiu rulers during the 12th dynasty, Gedge's Lords of the Two Lands trilogy sweeps to completion in this hefty final volume (following The Hippopotamus March and The Oasis). Although readers unfamiliar with the previous novels may peruse the helpful foreword, a list of 62 characters featuring such confusingly similar names as Ahmose, Ahmose-onkh, Ahmose Abana and Ankhmahor may daunt newcomers. Ahmose Tao, youngest son of the first rebel pharaoh, takes up the reins of power against Setiu King Apepa, who has claimed the uplands and caused the death of Ahmose's father and brother. Upon crowning himself King, Ahmose leaves the village of Weset and his sister/wife, Aahmes-nefertari, to lead the army toward Het-Uart, the Setiu royal home. They plan to storm the walled city and seize control of the crucial Horus Road. When Apepa's greatest general dies in battle, he closes the city, and Ahmose's army must hold vigil until Het-Uart crumbles. Back in Weset, Queen Aahmes-nefertari is lavishly rebuilding her family's empire and enjoying the authority accorded her by her husband's absence. When Ahmose returns, their growing coolness toward each other is exacerbated by the death of their daughter and another ill-fated birth. Ahmose leaves again for battle, where Apepa escapes his army and flees to Rethennu. As the Egyptians continue their march after Apepa, Ahmose endeavors to oust the Setiu, unite the realm and restore glory to his gods, whatever the price. Gedge's meticulous research is rendered in able prose; unfortunately, the novel often sinks under the weight of historical detail and long, drawn-out battle scenes. More fictionalizing and a few editorial cuts would have made the going less laborious.