7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A FICTIONAL BIOGRAPHY OF THE BEAUTIFUL PHARAOH NEFERTITI,
This review is from: Nefertiti (Paperback)
This is a great historical novel inspired by Nefertiti's life and reign. The story is narrated by Nefertiti's younger half sister, Mutnedjmet and it starts from the time Nefertiti married prince Akhenaten and ends with the beginning of Tutankhamun's reign, after her death. The narration is captivating as it unfolds all the ambitions and struggle for power within the royal household. The characterization of both sisters is excellent and in depth, although more emphasis is given to Mutnedjmet. The youngest sister is presented as a quiet personality, with complete lack of ambition and a desire for a happy life away from the palace. Whereas Nefertiti, is seen as an ambitious and spoiled queen with an unsatisfied need to be adored and remembered for all eternity, but also as a very insecure woman, a protective mother and a loving sister.
Apart from the fascinating characters, the author has captured the atmosphere of ancient Egypt; the images of all the places and the art are fantastic and the descriptions of everyday life are very well researched and vivid. However what I loved most about the book were the descriptions of all the herbs Mutnedjmet used, and the way the significance of herbal medicine in ancient Egyptian society is presented.
Although not a professional Egyptologist, I have an interest in ancient Egyptian history, so I suppose I can see why some people might be annoyed by the many inaccuracies of this novel. And indeed there are a lot of inaccuracies, the most obvious is the fact that Mutnedjmet, wife of Pharaoh Horemheb is unlikely to be the same person as Mutbenret who is believed to be Nefertiti's sister, also little evidence supports the theory that Nefertiti changed her name and ruled on her own after Akhenaten's death. In addition, as new evidence constantly emerge, some theories that were considered correct at the time the novel was written, are now proved to be incorrect, such as Tutankhamun's parentage. However, this is neither the biography of Nefertiti, nor a historical research on her reign; it is fiction, and as such it is wonderfully written and highly enjoyable. My only objection is the use of the modern name Amarna for Akhenaten's city, instead of the original Akhetaten; without the original name, his intention to build a new city for the glory of Aten is not clear, and that is a little confusing.
Nefertiti is probably the most famous ancient Egyptian queen, and this lovely book took me to a time gone by and gave me a glimpse of Nefertiti's life, however inaccurate it may be. Highly recommended!