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Khufu's Wisdom Paperback – August 9, 2005
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“Mahfouz’s novels provide a voice for his culture.” –The Denver Post
“Mahfouz’s work is freshly nuanced and hauntingly lyrical.” –Los Angeles Times
“What is fascinating about this refreshingly gifted writer is that his fiction is at once simple and subtle, serious and ironic, realistic and symbolic, local and universal. Naguib Mahfouz is a writer to read and admire.” –The Globe and Mail
“His towering strength as a writer is his luminous specificity.” –The New York Times Book Review
From the Inside Flap
At the center of Khufu's Wisdom," Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz's majestic first novel, is the legendary Fourth Dynasty monarch Khufu (Cheops), for whom the Great Pyramid of Giza was built.
When a seer prophesies the end of Khufu's dynasty and the ascension to the throne of Djedefra, son of the High Priest of Ra, the pharaoh must battle to preserve his legacy against the will of the Fates. But in the face of the inexorable attraction between Djedefra and Princess Meresankh, Khufu's beautiful daughter, Khufu must consider not only his personal ambition and the opposing decree of the heavens, but also how the wisdom he prides himself on as a ruler will guide him in determining the fate of his daughter's heart.
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This story reads smoothly and quickly and is a fun read. The action is straightforward, with few real surprises, but the plot arc is satisfying and a pleasure to read. The characters are brought sufficiently to life that you can root for the good guy and hiss at the bad guy and have fun doing so. I gave the book three stars because this book contains no real surprises and because normally I read fantasy; this was a diversion for me, and I still prefer fantasy to historical fiction. Thus, three stars.