In the twilight years of the Hittite Empire (1230s BC), Tudhaliya IV comes to the throne as a usurper's younger son, determined to rule according to the traditional values of justice and clemency, despite the harder advice of his ambitious mother and his questionably loyal older brothers. When his cousin Kurunta, with whom he was raised as someone dearer than a brother, decides his own claim to the throne is stronger than Tudhaliya's, the latter must decide whether to apply the brutal pragmatism of his advisors or risk appearing weak, and how to manage to leave his own son an empire that is finally free from civil war. The cost will be the sacrifice of his deepest friendship.
Holmes is an extremely gifted author. Her attention to detail is so superior that the reader cannot help but wonder if they have not in fact time traveler. The imagery and setting are so vivid it is sometimes difficult not to feel completely immersed. I have always been fascinated by ancient Egypt and love this exploration of a time and place that has always seemed so rich in history so different from my own. Another masterpiece.