by Michelle Moran

Reviewed by Coral

When Pharaoh Amunhotepís eldest son and heir dies, no one is exactly keen on the idea of his younger son eventually taking the throne. The younger Amunhotep is full of ideas on taking power away from the priests of Amun and of elevating the sun Aten to forefront of the Egyptian pantheon

In an effort to control her son, Queen Tiye chooses her brotherís eldest daughter to be the younger Amunhotepís Chief Wife. But in order to gain his affection and solidify her position in his life, Nefertiti may accomplish exactly what Tiye and the rest of her family did not want: change the face of Egypt forever.

I enjoyed this book for the most part, I just had a couple of small issues with it (which is probably not all that surprising for me).

When I pick up and read a book that claims to be centered around one historical figure (in this case Nefertiti) I canít help but feel disappointed when the narrator of the story is a completely different character. In this case the narrator is Nefertitiís younger sister, Mutnodjmet, who did exist in history, but it still feels like Iíve been tricked somehow. Instead of getting the story of Nefertiti and the younger Amunhotep as he becomes Akhenaten I feel like I got a story of Egypt set in the time of Akhenaten; it wasnít a bad story, just not the story I thought I was reading. The main drawback to having the narrator be a different character from the supposed central character of the book is when they are not together. Here, there are several instances when Mutnodjmet is away from her sister and living her own life, only hearing about things second-hand. Thatís when I felt the book didnít work as well as it could have.

Smenkhare is an interesting historical mystery. I have read several theories about the pharaoh who ruled after Akhenaten, both in fictional and non-fictional books. This bookís take on the character was one I had heard before but I still enjoyed it.

The ending of the book felt very rushed, moving through years very quickly. I thought the situation surrounding Tutankhamun suffered for the rapid pace. This could have been a place where having Mutnodjmet as the narrator could have really helped explain things in greater depth but it felt very glossed over.

Grade: B