If you ever have seen or visited the world famous twin temples of Abu Simbel you will never forget them. They were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Ramses II
was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as Egypt's greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh. This was the most glorious time of Egypt's history.
But not only Pharaoh was out-standing, his consort too. Nefertari - means Beautiful Companion - was his Great Royal Wife, his Queen Consort we might say today.She is one of the best known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut.
Although Nefertari's origins are unknown, discoveries from her tomb, including a cartouche of Pharaoh Ay, suggest she may have been related to the 18th Dynasty.
And this is the starting point of Michelle Moran's second novel, the sequence of her first wonderful book on Nefertiti. Nefertari is Nefertiti's niece. She is last princess of the 18th dynasty to survive: Her aunt and uncle Echnaton had disposed all the gods of Egypt for just one: the Aton. This was herecy and like her uncle and aunt she is regarded as a heretic: this is her heritage, her legacy and her liability.
This already shows that Moran is brilliantly merging fact and fiction, based on research, filling historical gaps with plausible imagination. Rich in details her novel is a dazzling recreation of the life of a Queen, with is filled with the rigors of court politics, the passion of the all powerful, the sights and sounds of battle and the love of two gifted personalities.
Michelle Moran is a superb storyteller and she managed to hook me from page 1. It is difficult to stop reading. One simply wants to know what happens next. I finished this book in one weekend.
There is this saying, that every book has a good page - the last one. Here one can only say: why does it have to have a last page? It is simply brilliant and pure pleasure to read. Michelle Moran has a unique gift to tell a story in a most amazing, intriguing and fascinating way. This is a page turner of first order.
I am looking already forward to her next book on Cleopatra's daughter.
Do not miss this book - it is one of the best historic novels of 2008!!!