Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Princess Without A Country

The Heretic Queen

     Michelle Moran

In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past, and remake history.

The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the 18th dynasty’s royal family— all with the exception of Nefertari, niece of the reviled former queen Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But all of this changes when she is taken under the wing of pharaoh’s aunt, and brought to the Temple of Hathor where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.

Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the crown prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

     The Heretic Queen was a fascinating story. I really enjoyed learning about the royal Egyptian culture and the emphasis that was placed on status. Nefertari in the story goes through a period of maturity taught to her by her aunt, who is the high priestess of one of Egypt's temples. I thought it was a unique touch to include some of the instructions given during that maturing period in the book. I find that many times I am excluded from the maturing process and enjoyed seeing it in this book. 

     When I picked up this book, I assumed from what I knew of it that it would be biblical based, and I was grossly mistaken. The synopsis I found to be really very misleading. I naturally assumed that the Israelites led by Moses were the greatest exodus Egypt ever had to face. A man named Ahmoses does show up in the story three or four times but he deals almost exclusively with Nefertari. There are a number of other oddities that make it really very confusing from a Biblical standpoint, but if that is ignored and treated as fiction about Nefertari than it is really good.  

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