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The Heretic Queen: Heiress of Misfortune, Pharaoh's Beloved Paperback – September 1, 2009
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
At best this is a youth fiction romance novel (except for some rather dull sex scenes), awkwardly slapped into a banal, Disney-esque version of 19th Dynasty Egypt with an emphasis on women's cosmetics. A passive-but-super-intelligent heroine gets a Cinderella makeover complete with fairy godmother & in the space of a year becomes a seductive diplomatic genius warrior queen to win over her cardboard cut-out prettyboy hero who lacks the sense God gave gravel.
Moran had the chance and I think the ability to write something great: Nefertari & Isetnofret were co-queens for ~24 years. Nefertari was Great Royal Wife but after her death Iset became Great Royal Wife. These were powerful & intelligent women married to one of the most fascinating and intelligent kings in 3500 years of Egyptian history who *notably* adored his wives and children ... and Moran turns this into formulaic pap.
Another reviewer wrote that the book is one long cat-fight, good point. Add to that Nefertari's supernatural ability to morph into whatever is needed in the moment while readers get no insight as to how she makes these chameloen-like personality transitions. Instead we're told how "hard" she works with a lot of emphasis on what color eye make-up was used, and -poof! - a year has gone by, the fairy godmother stows her wand & the tomboy is now a good but utterly passive princess. There are many and better descriptions of 'growing up' written by most youth-market authors.
Even sticking to the formula, super-glued in place, it would have made a more interesting book had she worked just a little harder to put her characters in the minimum of their real social context: parties meant wearing a large cone of beeswax upon the head, which melted down into the wig during the warm night … putting *that* into a story would've been more interesting than eye-shadow color. Children's heads were always shaved because of lice. One small lock of hair was allowed to grow; at adulthood many Egyptians always removed all body hair, particularly wealthy people. Etc. etc. etc. Interesting & basic social knowledge that would have made her story memorable, even given the tedious plot devices.
BTW, Moran ignores the common Egyptian practices of incest and many, many wives/concubines as it would make her book unpublishable, so no problem there if you do happen to know this about Egypt and find it worrisome.
Nothing in this book is worrisome, and for someone who writes as readably as Moran that is very sad.
My main issue was the fact that the women in the story were portrayed as manipulative and influential of the Pharaohs, while the men were nearly their pawns. I understand that the influence of most women in history was through the men in their life, so this was the only way for them to hold power. But the degree to which they could manipulate the men, and the stupid men didn't even really seem to notice was a little unrealistic at times.
None of that means it wasn't enjoyable. There's lots of cultural detail that brought the setting to life, the pace moved along steadily with an eventful plot, and the writing was good. I particularly liked how much Moran incorporated the Ancient Egyptian religion into the story and the characters. So many historical novelists seem to make religion not much more than a passing thought to their character when writing about cultures which were generally deeply religious. The Heretic Queen really shows how important the Ancient Egyptian beliefs were to them, and how they lived by them.
Every side of a palace's life at that time comes to life on this pages, the passions, the intrigue, the fight for power, even the smells,especially the one of duck, invaded my nose unexpectedly.
Beautiful characters who make us root and care for them right from the start and who during our reading are right there with us whispering in our ears, urging us to take a side, to feel and plot with them.
It is undoubtedly a work of fiction since, as Michelle Moran says at he end, she had to fill many gaps to recreate Nefertari's story. However, just knowing that there's so many historical facts surrounding these well-known characters from the world's ancient history, as well as real descriptions of those remarkable places and monuments which have survived the sands of time and which have left me gaping in awe as I stood before them a few years ago brought a special flavour to the story.
It took me a meticulous internet research to find writers who wrote so well I could have real feelings for the characters they wrote about, Michelle Moran was one of them, THANK GOD!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
who enjoys historical fiction.
Really didn't want it to end. Wish I could find more like it.Read more