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Identified as a gifted scribe, Senenmut is sent to the palace to serve the girl Queen Hatshepsut. Haughty but highly intelligent, the two soon develop a grudging respect for each other. Loathing her brother-husband Thutmose II, Hatshepsut does her queenly duty which produces a daughter instead of a son. When a subsequent failed pregnancy leaves her unable to have more children, the King produces an heir by his chief concubine Isis. Hatshepsut's daughter Neferure and her half brother Thutmose III are fated to marry and rule together but when tragedy strikes Hatshepsut assumes the role of regent. Knowing that she was destined for greatness, the Queen dares to do what no woman has done before her-take the two crowns of Egypt for herself and rule as King.
I have read plenty of books on Cleopatra but never one on Queen Hatshepsut. Tarr paints a vivid portrait of this Queen who went from a spoiled girl- though one who was wise beyond her years- to one of the greatest pharaohs in Egypt's history. This was definitely a lady who could rule as well as any man. This book has a great cast of supporting characters that really carry the story. There is Senenmut who is quite arrogant when we first meet him but he soon gains the Queen's trust and as time goes on becomes closer to her than anyone. Also in her inner circle are Nehsi, her Nubian bodyguard who is always at her side and Hapuseneb, her chief priest, all of whom are fiercely loyal to her and would do absolutely anything to see her secure on her throne. I thought the author did a great job of painting Egypt as it might have been at the time. She goes into great detail describing the land, the royal progresses, the hierarchy of the court, the dealings with foreign nations and the Gods and Goddesses worshiped. I really learned a lot about ancient Egypt that I didn't know.
There were a few slow parts through out that made for slow reading at times. The author details things like a trip to a foreign land to open trade with them and several building projects that I thought didn't really add much to the story. Also I constantly kept stumbling over the names and kept thinking some sort of pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book would have been helpful. Except for those two things I liked this book quite a bit and think it would be a good starting place for anyone wanting to read about this Queen.