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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Heretic Queen

Genre: Historical Fiction

Copyright: 2008

Pages: 416

Rating: 4.5 crowns


From Amazon.com: The intricacies of the ancient Egyptian court are brought to life in Moran's fascinating tale of a princess's rise to power. Nefertari, niece of the famed heretic queen Nefertiti, becomes part of the court of Pharaoh Seti I after her family is deposed, and she befriends Ramesses II, the young crown prince. When Ramesses is made co-monarch, he weds Iset, the granddaughter of a harem girl backed by Seti's conniving sister, Henuttawy, the priestess of Isis. As Nefertari's position in the court becomes tenuous, she realizes that she, too, wants to marry Ramesses and enlists the help of Seti's other sister, Woserit. But when Nefertari succeeds in wedding Ramesses, power struggles and court intrigues threaten her security, and it is questionable whether the Egyptian people will accept a heretic descendant as their ruler or if civil war will erupt.

This was my first experience with Michelle Moran's writing but it came highly recommended - and ancient Egypt has always been a bit fascinating. I was not disappointed. The novel was absolutely amazing; I was caught up in Nefertari's life from page one. Moran creates fantastic characters that you love and that you love to hate. Nefertari was likable from the beginning and I really loved the way she grew and developed from a young girl in love with a prince to a woman who has the knowledge and skills to catch that prince and help him become a great Pharaoh. Her knowledge that an intelligent wife, one that could stand beside Ramesses and help him in peacetime and in battle, would ultimately be triumphant in becoming queen really helped her in her battles against Iset. I really loved the scenes where it almost portrays Nefertari as the brilliant, true queen and Iset is merely pretty ornamentation. Ramesses himself is quite a likable character as well and I could almost feel sorry for him when he was caught between his two wives. His continued affection for Nefertari, even after his first marriage and Nefer's year long absence, was touching, as was his constant support of her once they were married. Iset, Ramasses's first wife, is arrogant and despicable from the get-go. She, along with her mentor Henuttawy, were a pair of conniving, sneaky, mean snakes in their quest to have Iset named queen and I was quite happy to see them get what was coming to them in the end.

Besides these magnificent characters there is also exceptional plot development. You can almost feel the secrets and mysteries surrounding the palace and intrigue runs rampant. Between the pages you will find everything that makes a story wonderful and full of action: love, passion, betrayal, intrigue, politics and scheming, true friends, pirates, blood, and battles. The story is a bit slow at the start as you sort through the introduction of all the main players but once Nefertari is taken under Woserit's wing the action really picks up. There are wonderful details describing Egyptian society, culture, everyday life, and even the architecture. This very ancient time came alive for me in Moran's writing. The main storyline throughout the novel, Nefertari and Ramasses's love, was even more fascinating to me once I realized that it was real! The inscription he had placed on a wall in her tomb speaks volumes: My love is unique—no one can rival her, for she is the most beautiful woman alive. Just by passing, she has stolen away my heart. They were a couple that you just can not help but pull for in this novel. I would highly recommend this novel, especially to those with even the slightest interest in ancient Egypt. Moran's brilliant writing and exceptional characters make this a novel you do not want to miss.


You can visit Robin at her blog The Lady Gwyn's Kingdom

12 comments:

Life After Jane said...

I saw this book on Goodreads and it looked inviting then. Great review. You've hooked me. One more for the TBR.

Daphne said...

I think this is my favorite of Michelle's books.

fredamans said...

Great review!

This is on my list to get.

Blodeuedd said...

Awwww my heart breaks, what a sweet inscription

Page (One Book At A Time) said...

I came across Michelle Moran's books last year and love both of the ones I read (haven't read her first one). I hope she has more up her sleeve!
Great review!

Robinbird said...

I loved this book so much my book club is reading it for the meeting at my house at the end of the month!

Elysium said...

I think this is her best book so far. But then again I've always been interested in Ramses II.

dolleygurl said...

I have always loved Egypt and Nefertari was always my favorite queen. This is an awesome book - I read it so quickly! Awesome review.

Muse in the Fog said...

I loved this book and finished it in two days! I have read all of Michelle Moran's books and I think this one has a slight lead :)

Falling Off The Shelf said...

I have this one coming from a paperbackswap trade, and I can't wait! I read Cleopatra's Daughter, and it's easily one of my favorite reads of 2009. You should give that one a try as well, I'm sure you'll love it!

librarypat said...

I've been fascinated with ancient Egypt since high school. Morans"s books are well son. I put both of her adult books and her YA book, CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER, on the shelf of our library. I look forward to more wonderful books from her.

Crystal - Princess of Pop Culture said...

I keep reading great reviews for Michelle Moran's books, and I can't wait to read one! Glad to hear this one is no different :)