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The Heretic Queen: Heiress of Misfortune, Pharaoh's Beloved Paperback – September 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The intricacies of the ancient Egyptian court are brought to life in Moran's fascinating tale of a princess's rise to power. Nefertari, niece of the famed heretic queen Nefertiti, becomes part of the court of Pharaoh Seti I after her family is deposed, and she befriends Ramesses II, the young crown prince. When Ramesses is made co-monarch, he weds Iset, the granddaughter of a harem girl backed by Seti's conniving sister, Henuttawy, the priestess of Isis. As Nefertari's position in the court becomes tenuous, she realizes that she, too, wants to marry Ramesses and enlists the help of Seti's other sister, Woserit. But when Nefertari succeeds in wedding Ramesses, power struggles and court intrigues threaten her security, and it is questionable whether the Egyptian people will accept a heretic descendant as their ruler or if civil war will erupt. Moran (Nefertiti) brings her characters to life, especially Nefertari, who helped Ramesses II become one of the most famous of Egyptian pharaohs. Nefertari's struggles to be accepted as a ruler loved as a leader and to secure her family's position throughout eternity are sure to appeal to fans of historical fiction. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Moran, author of Nefertiti (2007), continues to plow the fertile terrain of ancient Egypt to produce evocative historical fiction. Nefertari, niece of the infamous Queen Nefertiti, is the only member of her reviled and deposed dynasty to survive a devastating fire. When young Nefertari falls in love with Ramesses, heir to the Egyptian throne, the sparks really begin to fly. Though many are opposed to the union, the young lovers defy the court of public opinion and marry, setting the fervent tone that will characterize their royal union through years of war, rebellion, and exodus. Set against a colorful backdrop of court intrigue, jealous rivalries, and internal and external power struggles, this authentically detailed slice of Egyptania will appeal to fans of Christian Jacq’s Ramses series. --Margaret Flanagan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307381765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307381767
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Michelle Moran was born in southern California. After attending Pomona College, she earned a Masters Degree from the Claremont Graduate University. During her six years as a public high school teacher, Michelle used her summers to travel around the world, and it was her experiences as a volunteer on archaeological digs that inspired her to write historical fiction. She is the international bestselling author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, Cleopatra's Daughter, Madame Tussaud, and The Second Empress. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages, and in 2011, her fourth book, Madame Tussaud, was optioned for a mini-series. Recently, Michelle was married in India, and it is no coincidence that her next two books will be set in the East.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 91 people found the following review helpful By LCW VINE VOICE on September 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read and enjoyed Nefertiti, I was really looking forward to reading this novel. I admit it was with a little trepidation as so often a much anticipated novel fails to live up to expectations, at least mine anyway!! I'm happy to report that this novel not only lived up to its hype but it exceeded it by far.

This is the story of Nefertari, niece of Nefertiti, the "Heretic Queen" and Ramses II. There is a beautiful love story between Ramses and Nefertarti, plenty of palace intrigue and plotting and scheming, battles, wars, pirates, evil priests, loyal friends, grand palaces, and even grander tombs. The author does such a good job of describing ancient Egypt that even though I know next to nothing about it, it came alive for me as I read. I could smell the figs wafting on the breeze, hear the roar of crowds, and practically see the grandeur of Egypt's Nineteenth dynasty.

Nefertari was a far more likeable heroine than Nefertiti and Rameses was a real hero as opposed to the self absorbed slightly psychotic Akhenaten from the author's first novel. The love story between Rameses and Nefertari was all the more special because it is real. Declarations such as: "My love is unique--no one can rival her, for she is the most beautiful woman alive. Just by passing, she has stolen away my heart" have stood for centuries as testament to one of the greatest love stories in history.

If you liked Nefertiti, you will love The Heretic Queen. I highly recommend it!

5/5 stars
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A bookseller that I have often ordered from has a special category for novels like this -- they are called "Thumping Good Reads". It's a category devised especially for novels that never aspire to be literature (no Virginia Woolf or James Joyce opus would qualify, perhaps) but provide hours of enjoyment and immersion in a parallel fictional universe. This novel -- as well as Moran's debut offering -- qualifies hands down.

The heroine is daughter of that first novel's central character, Nefertiti's sister Mutnodjmet. Aside from some chronological issues (you will have to close your eyes to the fact that too many years have elapsed, chronologically, for that parentage to be valid), Moran draws on an obviously extensive knowledge of ancient Egypt, and meshes that with compelling fiction. It's hard to find novels that can combine the two as effortlessly as she manages to do. It's so seamless, in fact, that you find yourself never questioning whether something is fact or fiction; instead, you are caught up in the story of Nefertari's efforts to achieve her destiny as Ramesses' chief wife and co-ruler. Which is just as it should be.

While Moran has set herself a challenge here -- living up to a great first book, and doing it based on a heroine who, compared to Nefertiti, is almost completely unknown beyond the world of Egyptology scholars -- she has succeeded triumphantly. I was gripped from the opening paragraphs, and was angry when I had to turn off my Kindle and stop reading when my plane landed.

By the way, while you're waiting for Moran's next book (which I am, eagerly -- her books now go onto my "must buy as soon as they are published" list) you may want to check out some of the novels by Pauline Gedge, the only other writer I know of to write fiction that is as believable and compelling as Moran.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By YA Librarian on September 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As we all know the Heretic Queen is Ms. Moran's second book. Once again she explores the ancient world of Egypt, something very few historical fiction authors have done.

The novel is about Nefetari who is well versed in various languages, doesn't shy away from warfare and is a very intelligent young woman. However, she is niece of Nefertiti and with that comes a lot of baggage. Since her aunt is called the "heretic queen" Nefertari is seen as an unimportant princess. Nefetari is dislike by the people, those at court don't want her around, and people shun her. Nefetari's family name has been tarnished and their sins cast a shadow over everything she wants to accomplish in life. How can she become the wife of Ramesses when everyone around Nefetari hates her? Iset, Ramesses first wife, seeks to become his Chief Wife and keep Nefetari at bay. Determined to have the world remember her family's name she seeks to win Ramesses heart and become Chief Wife while those around her try to destroy her.

For those looking for the biblical Mosses he's not in it, and Ms. Moran explains why she left him out in her historical note. Personally, I'm not a fan of biblical stories so I didn't miss Moses in the novel.

I know nothing about Egypt. I think most of us have studied it in high school, and maybe took a course in college. I don't remember much, and when I read The Heretic Queen I was pleased to see Ms. Morgan gives sufficient details in her novel without it becoming longwinded or like a history lecture. There is a fine line to be walked, and I think she did it wonderfully. As a reader I felt immersed in Egyptian culture.

At the back of the novel there is also a glossary of terms and a religious calendar to help readers. Also, there is an essay in the back about how Ms.
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