Friday, December 4, 2009

The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

From the author's website: 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 Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family—all with the exception of Nefertari, the 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 this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then 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.

I think Michelle Moran did a great job bringing this story to life. It is the first book about this time period that I can remember reading and yet I was able to follow the story with little difficulty. The history needed to make the story work was included in such a way that it didn't seem heavy-handed. She made Nefertari an interesting, sympathetic character. I was rooting for her and so proud when she matured and won the people's respect through her hard work. The shenanigans at the Egyptian palace were as manipulative and self-serving as any Tudor court - I guess some things never change!

This was the November 2009 selection for the Facebook Historical Fiction book club led by Jennifer over at The Literate Housewife.

This is one of the books on my list for Fall Into Reading 2009. Click on the logo to see my progress.


Beth F said...

I have this one on my TBR... next year?

bermudaonion said...

Everyone seems to love Moran's work. I need to read one of her books!