I've recieved an excellent new review of Blue Gold from Steve Donoghue at the Historical Novel Society:
'Early on in Blue Gold, Lindsay Townsend’s fast-paced novel of ancient Egypt in 1560 B.C., the charismatic (and acrobatic) Pharaoh Aweserre shouts in battle: “I’m the best there is! You’re looking at a man who can drive between your wind and your ass — watch!” You can’t really resist that kind of invitation, but you know one thing for sure: Cecil B. DeMille this isn’t.
Townsend’s story centers on the Pharaoh Sekenenre, his scheming wives, his scheming children Kamose and Ahhotpe, and—in the book’s most innovative stroke—the multifaceted Egyptian deities themselves, especially the god of storms and upheavals, Set, whose immortal perceptions add spice to an already plenty spicy narrative:
He [Set] saw the lines of the future mapping out from this tiny room, yet he could not see exactly where they ended. No one, not even Ra, could do that. Endless beginnings: that was one of the gods’ functions.
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. -- Steve Donoghue'
The original is here, under the reviews for February 2010.