TITLE: Sphinx’s Queen
AUTHOR: Esther Friesner
PUBLICATION: 2011 by Bluefire
Nefertiti is on the run, fleeing for her life with her companions in a desperate race to reach the Pharaoh and his protection. As her feelings for Amenhophis develop into love, Nefertiti will risk anything to save him. When the truth of her heart is tested at Ma’at’s holy temple, will she be condemned as guilty or judged innocent?
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT . . .
I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf since the paperback version was released, but I kept putting it on the back burner when I felt like reading something. It seems strange to be reading books which are part of a continuing story without having to wait several months or a year between them…
The first one-third of the book that dealt with the runaways and their adventures in the wilderness seemed to go from plausible to a bit out there. I really thought that the incident involving the would-be tomb robbers was a bit much. It was moments like these that left me feeling a bit less than excited at reading the sequel as opposed to the first book. Things seemed to be better once Nefertiti and her friends return to their normal lives in the palace setting. Yet still even then I am left face-palming when we get to things like the race toward the end of the book. Perhaps it’s just my personal tastes at play here, but something like that seems a bit childish for someone of their ages to do. It fails to inspire as a grand climax in the narrative, in my opinion. I’m all for second chances and mending rifts, but it seemed that anything was possible in this book and it felt too easily wrapped up considering all that had happened.
Nefertiti is an interesting protagonist, but she has one terrible flaw that becomes more obvious in this book. She has a propensity to trust too easily, especially when past history proves to the contrary. True, there is always hope of changing, but I found Nefertiti abandoned her misgivings far too easily. Still it was nice to see how she refused to come down to the level and tactics of her oppressors.
The seeds of different thinking regarding the gods are sown as Nefertiti and Amenophis come to understand the One god of Nava’s people. Nothing of their future as what would be the dark days according to many Egyptians later is mentioned except as the hopes of what is to come, radical thinking that is dangerous but could shake the very foundation of everything that is believed. Still after the petty tricks of the priests and their gluttony on the devotions, it seems inevitable that the future rulers should seek to do anything else but change their world. I liked the moral reflections that characters experienced in this book.
Overall I didn’t really find it to be as quite as engaging as Sphinx’s Princess. Still it wasn’t a bad book either.