19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Paul Doherty takes us with his new book - the first part of a triology - into the 14th century BC to Egypt at the peak of its Imperial glory. Egypt had never been richer, more powerful, or more secure. Up and down the Nile, workers built hundreds of temples to pay homage to the Gods. They believed that if the Gods were pleased, Egypt would prosper. But then Akhenaten, the tenth Pharao of the 18th Dynasty, and his wife Queen Nefertiti - often referred to in history as "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World" as shown by her bust on Berlin - ascended the throne. They turned 2,000 years of Egyptian religious believes upside down - the polytheism of Egypt was supplanted by monotheism centered around Aten, the god of the solar disc. One of the most profound changes in history.
Paul Doherty describes these historical events and its leading personalities through a friend of Pharao who was intimately involved in these events. Doherty's uses his abilities to bring alive long dead people and times to the full. Ancient Egypt does not seem to be 3000 years away, but it seems that one have lived through these times oneself. Descriptions and actions are well balance. I have a horror of papes over pages of mere descriptions or only action. This book balances it - as usual in
Doherty's works - very well. So there is no moment of boredom, step by step one gets really hooked to the story and one wants to know what is going to happen next.
Paul Doherty' s book is fiction but it is based on historical evidence. Especially the personality and history of Akhenaton and his reasons for bringing about this revolution are well explained. As Doherty described him correctly as a family outcast. He never appeared in any portraits and was never taken to public events. He received no honors. It was as if the God Amun had excluded him. He was rejected by the world, properly because of his ungainly body - short torso, long head, neck, arms, hand and feet, pronounced collarbones, pot belly, heavy thighs, and poor muscle tone. Scientists believe that Akhenaten suffered from a disease called Marfan Syndrome, a genetic defect that damages the body's connective tissue and causing these symptoms .
But there is more to this excellent book: This book is as well a discussion on the dangers of religious fever, the politics surrounding religion and above all warning about religious fanatism.... and suddenly the reader is not any longer in ancient Egypt but in today' s world. This is a sutle, but powerful message by Doherty.
I enjoyed this book enormously and cannot wait till part 2 and 3 will be published!! 5 stars - not enough for this book!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Paul Doherty is the consummate professional when it comes to writing historical novels. I for one do not know how he can be so prolific with his offering of books and yet make sure that each of them is well researched. Whether they be 13th, 14th, or fifteenth century they are always true to the period. He also writes about Ancient Egypt and Alexander the Great. Paul Doherty has the rare talent of making you feel as though you are there, be it medieval England, or battling with Alexander. The sounds and smells of the period seem to waft from the pages of his books. In this series he returns to Ancient Egypt.
This book has as its main character, Akenhaten, perhaps one of the most written about Pharaoh's of Ancient Egypt. Known as the Veiled One he had a turbulent and at times astounding reign. Akenhaten is thrust to the forefront of the political stage after the death of his elder brother. It is then that the ambitious and ruthless Mahu realises his own chance for fame and wealth, by becoming the protector of the young prince. He knows that by becoming the Akenhaten's protector and confidant he can rapidly increase his own status and power at the Egyptian court.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2003
A most enjoyable novel, apparently based on common historical theories and facts, about the enigmatic Akhenaten/Nefertiti and this turbulent period in ancient Egyptian history. I stumbled across this book as I love his medieval murder mysteries and was looking for new ones by this author.
This first part, of the planned trilogy, covers from just before Amenhotep III goes into his co-regency with Akhenaten to the point where the new Tutankh*amun* is about to be placed on the throne. I found it quite gripping and enjoyed the way he wove the various historical characters I'd already read about (in historical contexts) quite feasibly into a coherent story. (Don't you want to know how he incorporates Smenkhare !).
on 14 December 2008
First in the believable fictional trilogy about Akhenaten, the mysterious mystical pharaoh, and the turmoil of his reign in which he attempted to entirely overthrow the old religions of Egypt.
Paul Doherty, a professor of history who seems to research his books very well, is also an outstanding writer. This is the first in the series, narrated by Mahu, an actual historical character-- the chief of police in Akhenaten's city of Amarna. Wonderful book!
(Strongly suggest reading with this, or after this, trilogy the non-fiction "Egypt's False God: Akhenaten" by Nicholas Reeves. It explains the roots of the disaster, has wonderful illustrations and photographs of what artifacts and statues remain from Amarna and from Akhenaten and his family as well. Not dry--extremely readable and is helpful to understand the period these books take place in.)