Friday, January 15, 2010

The Spies of Sobeck-P. C. Doherty

The Spies of Sobeck
P. C. Doherty
Minotaur, Feb 2 2010, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312533977

In the fifteenth century BC, fundamentalist Nubian followers of Nema the hyena goddess led by High Priest Khufu want their freedom from the Great House of Egypt. They feel the opportunity is perfect as the country is run by a female pharaoh so make plans to liberate their province. The Nema worshippers believe they must cause fear and panic by assassinating prominent people in their homes or key locations.

In Thebes and in the nearby Oasis of Asiwah, elite people including imperial messengers are murdered behind locked doors; the city loses faith in Pharaoh Hatusu who has recently replaced her late father. She understands who is behind the murders and why, but not how. The Pharaoh also knows she cannot cede Nubia if she wants to keep the Great House united and soonest expanded. After consulting with her lover the Grand Vizier Senenmut, she turns to the Chief Judge in the Hall of Two Truths Amerotke to find the killers and their leader. However, both objectives prove difficult as the murderous criminal Arite sect are involved and seditious avaricious activity by several prominent citizens makes his investigation more convoluted than he expected.

As always this is a great Ancient Egypt police procedural (see The Poisoner of Ptah and Mask of Ra) that contains a powerful vivid look at life in the capital city Thebes and to a lesser degree in Nubia. The story line is fast-paced even with an incredible amount of background that has the audience feel they are working the case along side of Amerotke while visiting the reign of Hatusu. P. C. Doherty provides another Great House of Egypt tale.

Harriet Klausner

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