Top positive review
As a literary contribution to the historical oeuvre, probably one of the better ones you are likely to find
on 17 September 2015
The love shown by this remarkable author and archaeologist for his hero is an undying testament to the virtues of government which Ramses the Great embodied: at least we may believe that Ramses did indeed embody them, and if he did or not, Christian Jacq's characterisation is sufficiently powerful, in his series of books for which this is the crowning glory, to create a hero by which all might feel inspired. Few people try to get inside the inherent goodness of Ramses II the way Christian Jacq does. It is all too frequent that the most famous leader of Ancient Egypt is used as an icon for warlording and self-glorification (given his conquests), or demonisation (given that the Jewish Exodus and thence much of Western civilisation prefers to paint him in an adversarial and consequently unjust light). The novels calmly balance conflicting ideals and express a nobility of character and of government reminiscent of the wisdom of Sun Tzu and other leaders who brought peace in the midst of warring nations. In this, the author has balanced the challenges of historical dramatisation with an unerring sense of following the greatness of spirit which each and every individual can seek within him or herself. His description of the "law of Ma'at", as Ancient Egyptians called it, is equally applicable to all religions or none and a valuable contribution to an era where so many nations live in such close (and not always equable) proximity to each other. The superstitious elements are not that far from other patriarchal religions, but the constant Egyptian idea of preparing for the 'afterlife' (whether or not there is an afterlife) is seen in practice to be one that supplies numerous strong principles of character and equitable co-existence.