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3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 26 March 1999
I love the Ramses series. It's true though that this book alone is a bit bland. I have read 4 of the 5 books in the series and I couldn't stop. Some might be disappointed with this book and ignore the rest, which is a shame because the next book is far, far better.
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on 11 December 2008
When I picked this series up and read Mr Jacq's credentials I really expected a lot. Instead these are the worst BY FAR ancient Egyptian historical novels I've ever read, and I've read many. They are totally historically inaccurate...they toss together Moses, Homer, & Helen of Troy, all in the same era for no real reason...the writing is awful (maybe thats the translation?)
As I did read the first several, I know that the story goes on and has Ramses, who famously lived to over 90, (in an age when 40 or so was the average life span) and during those years sired approximately 100 children, & even outlived his eldest children-- for reasons unknown to me the author decided as a really MAJOR point in the story to have Ramses be monogamous, in love with only his wife, and father only 3 children-- and ADOPT the rest!!...this is a pharaoh of Egypt who would have had, as all pharaohs did, a huge harem with women from all nations in it,& starting from his early teens (see non-ficion books for this information) been sexually active and in Ramses case, very prolific. I can only assume the author felt uncomfortable with idea of harems and multiple wives and concubines? Why? This was their culture, they didn't live in ours!
It is just ridiculous all the way through, and I found the writing flat as well-- I had to finally stop after hoping it would improve.
Known facts about the life of Ramses (see Joyce Tyldesley's biography of Ramses, or others for more information) are out of context, completely twisted, put in the wrong context, and just plain wrong.
If you want some good Egyptian historical novels, read ANYTHING by Pauline Gedge or Paul Doherty's trilogy about Akhenaten/ Tutankamun. Seriously, if you are interested in ancient Egypt please don't waste time and money on these!!!!!
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on 2 September 2008
I've resisted reading Christian Jacq's books for several years now - put off by the single line "reviews" printed on the cover. According to Graham Hancock (better known for his TV series and book concerning lost civilizations drowned at the end of the last Ice Age) writing for the "Daily Mail" this book is "funny and exciting, full of drama, romance and intrigue and extremely hard to put down." No it isn't. But the most misleading line is taken from the "Literary Review" which tells us that "Historical fact combines potently with a vivid imagination." So let's dispose of the "historical fact" first. While co-regent some time before 1279 BC Ramses and Egypt are visited by Menelaus fresh from the Trojan War with Helen in tow. Unfortunately the Trojan War is now placed at sometime between 1210 and 1190 BC. "Well," you might say, "give the author a break - this is a work if fiction after all." OK - lets give him that one. But what is completely unforgivable is that Menelaus is also accompanied by Homer who wasn't born until around 800 BC. Worse still is a conversation between Ramses and Homer in which the blind bard admits "....I can't stand sailors. The howling wind and the waves don't inspire me either." This from the man who would write "The Odyssey!"

Which brings us to how the author handles his characters in the book. The short answer is that he doesn't. All the characters are cardboard cut outs, while the dialogue reads as is it is written by a badly educated fourteen-year old. Seti, the Pharoah of Egypt and father of Ramses, is a mystical figure with a nice side line in water-dowsing and the ability to forge "psychic links" with other people. Why authors like Jacq and Wilbur Smith think that the ancient Egyptians were inherently mystical is beyond me - too much time spent watching Hollywood rubbish one must assume. Ramses is a brave young man who values loyalty above all else and is wise beyond his years. Moses (oh yes, I forgot to mention that the great biblical patriach also lurks about in the book as well)is a driven individual searching for some great truth.

To sum up - a mismash of half-baked garbage peddled by new age "mystics", with a "plot-driven" format pushing cardboard cut out characters through an historical landscape that never existed. The "Daily Mail" on the front cover urges us to "Go out and buy this book" - don't, you'll save yourself a great deal of needless irritation.
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on 12 October 2011
Have meant to read this series for ages and am now doing so - just as good as I expected!
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on 9 December 1998
So much for the hype - the book is ultimately very lightweight. Characterisation is paper-thin, and events come and go with little description and reader involvement. What was most annoying was that just as things looked as if they might get interesting - as Ramses ascended the throne -, the book ended. You have to fork out to buy the next book to see how he secures his hold on power; if you care enough.
If you're looking for an aeroplane book about Ancient Egypt, choose "River God" instead. Those who've already read "River God" will find this book a big disappointment.
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on 19 October 2010
great reading! bought the book over a year ago and didnt start reading it until a week ago. i wish i had read the book much much earlier. i didnt want to put the book down! nearly missed my stop on the train numerous time because i was so engrossed in it!

Highly recommend this book. Even to people with not much of a interest in Ancient Eygpt or Ramses.
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on 10 July 2014
Arrived amazingly promptly.....book well enjoyed.
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on 26 October 2015
Good as ever
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