Ancient Egypt, 1560 B.C.
Ruling Upper Egypt from Thebes, Pharaoh Sekenenre has many enemies. Aweserre, whose grandfather seized the crown of Lower Egypt. Kamose and Ahhotpe, his son and daughter, who plot to rule in his place. And, most dangerous, the storm-god Set.
It is a time of famine. To prosper a man must be civilized and ruthless. Ramose, priest and Vizier, is all of these. Kasa, a farmer, must learn to be like him to survive. Neith, wife of Ramose, is driven, first to drink, then to courage. Hathor, who killed her son, finds love, desertion, then a second chance at love. Tiyi, the gentle masseuse, is desired by many, but desires only one.
Watched by the gods of Egypt, the conflict reaches its climax in war. The pyramids, a thousand years old when the story begins, play a crucial part.
Behind all is the God Set, with his question: 'What am I?'
Bookstrand Publishing 2009
Read an excerpt
Historical Novels Review Online (amongst reviews for February 2010):
The sands of Townsend’s Egypt are blood-soaked, and the halls of her palaces echo with lust and intrigue—and yet, the most interesting part of her novel is how real, how human all of her characters feel (even the supernatural ones). Even while you’re booing and hissing her villains, you’re fully informed as to their motives and might even sympathize a little. Part of this effect can be attributed to Townsend’s keen ear for dialogue and phrasing (when two characters kiss we’re told “their lips met with the greedy accuracy of lovers”)—and the effect is so strong that when all the book’s grandstanding and conniving and personal drama has concluded, readers will be mildly shocked to be reminded that the whole delightfully complicated business happened three thousand years ago. That’s praise indeed.
I’m glad I read it and thank you for sending it to me. It’s not often that ancient Egypt is the setting for novels so I don’t want to miss any of them. My house miu also sends his greetings and says more books about the time when cats were worshipped need to be written.
The Long and the Short of It
What I love most about Ms. Townsend’s prose is the ability to give the reader an almost holographic entry into life and times long past. You smell the fear, feel the passion, the frustration and anger, and burn under a hot, unforgiving sun, among other delightful stirrings of the senses.
PS: The Kretan bull-leaper Sarmatia, who visits the hero Ramose in Blue Gold, has another story all to herself - Bronze Lightning.