Saturday, October 25, 2014

Desert God-Wilbur Smith

Desert God
Wilbur Smith
Morrow, Oct 21 2014, $28.99
ISBN: 9780062276452

After a century of civil war, the adversarial Egyptian kingdoms face a deadly invasion from the Steppes.  The Hyksos horde defeated the Northern Kingdom and begun the assault on the Southern nation driving the people away from the Nile into the wilderness.  At Thebes, the Egyptian army defeated the Hyksos stopping further incursion, but the invaders occupy all of the North and parts of the Southern Kingdom preparing for King Salitis to renew the conquest.

Desperate Pharaoh Tamose turns to his top advisor, former slave Taita the eunuch, for guidance.  The geographical edge resides with the enemy as Taita realizes his kingdom controls no Great Sea ports.  Thus he informs the Pharaoh that the only way to beat the enemy is an alliance with the Sumerians and Cretans; though the latter already is allied with the Hyksos.  To anchor the pact, Taita persuades Tamos to offer in marriage his royal daughters, sixteen years old Tehuti and her fourteen years old younger sister Bekatha, to Crete’s Supreme Minos.  Accepting the plan, Tamos assigns Taita to safely escort the princesses to Crete.  As they travel the dangerous bloody trek with external and internal threats assaulting them, Tehuti informs Taita that there is a slight problem.

Desert God continues the engaging adventures of Taita (see River God and Warlock, etc.) in a fast-paced storyline that combines a strong sense of time and place with plenty of gory action.  The lead eunuch and princesses are fully developed with Taita somewhat a father figure to the royals; while he ironically misses the obvious that the audience will anticipate.  The well-written ending is a fine mystical finish to another pleasurable Novel of Ancient Egypt.

Harriet Klausner

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