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Thebes at War Paperback – October 18, 2005
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“Mahfouz is the single most important writer in modern Arabic literature.” –Newsday
“Mahfouz’s understanding of human psychology and history is profound.” –The Boston Globe
“A storyteller of the first order in any idiom.” –Vanity Fair
About the Author
Humphrey Davies (translator) took first class honors in Arabic at Cambridge University and holds a doctorate in Near East Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. His translations from Egyptian literature range from the Ottoman period to the present day.
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Top Customer Reviews
Historically, no one can say if Ahmose had an affair with the king's daughter just as there are some fictional elements in Gedge's book.
Historians are also not sure if Ahmose was Sequenenra's son or grandson, apparently the records are just not clear. Gedge's books ( a trilogy) DO get into the roles of the Tao women (family name of the Theban kings) Aahotep, widow of Sequenenra apparently was for a time regent and was given the Golden Flies by King Ahmose, a seldom given award for MILITARY bravery. They were buried with her and are now in a museum. The mother of Sequenenra, Tetisheri, was also apparently involved in military stategy as well as in holding the family estates while the men were at war, for her as well as Aahotep King Ahmose later erected stalae stating their valuable contributions.
These facts, as well as photgraphs of Sequenenra's mummy with its 5 or more wounds to the face and head, any one of which would have been fatal, can be seen in several Egyptian history books, including Nicholas Reeves' book about Akhenaten when Reeves is laying the historical framework for the Akhenaten period.Read more ›
Seqenenra is lured into war and gets murdered. The book chronicles the war from that point on till Seqenenra's grandson and Pharaoh Ahmose finally defeats Apophis, reclaims the entirety of Egyptian territory, and starts the New Kingdom. All wars were fought along the Nile, from the southern Nubian city Napata to the final stand off at the northern city of Avaris located in the Nile delta.
I picked up the book for two reasons. I wanted to get acquainted with ancient Egypt history before I embarked on a trip there. I also wanted to read Mafouz, the only Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel prize in literature to this date. The book turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. For one the story was told monotonically, as a sequence of descriptions of the cities and battles thereat on Ahmose's campaign to Avaris. The story of Ahmose's love interest with Apophis' daughter provided perhaps the only refreshing interludes. However even this affair wasn't delivered as convincingly as it could have been. Intentionally or not, the story telling sounded old.
I had learned from somewhere that Mafouz' prose is famous for its fluidity. If such is the case the translator of this particular book may be at fault. I plan to read Mafouz' Cairo Trilogy to find out.
I recommend this book but, before you read it, realize that the style is not what you would expect from a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Historically Incorrect to an Absurdity. Makes one of the greatest pharaohs look shallow and pathetic. Read morePublished on June 9, 2011 by Lana
This was a step-down from 'Rhadopis,' but, like the first translation in the series ('Khufu's Wisdom'), still a fair translation. Read morePublished on December 12, 2010 by Ryan Mease