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1.0 out of 5 starsNot the complete book
Reviewed in Canada on August 14, 2018
Received on August 10. What a surprise when I saw the size of the book, 98 pages of story with drawings. This is a ''Simplified Readers Intermediate Level'' book. I thought I was buying the complete book. I know the price was very low, but I have bought inexpensive books before and they were complete. Very disappointed. Would not buy from this seller again.
I could rarely read less than 50 pages at a sitting, and finished the book in short order. Wilbur Smith writes bluntly of men's disgusting and savage exploits in ancient times which are so different from our own. His main characters are often egotistical and brag continually of their own attributes and exploits. This can be forgiven however as the characters' adventures never fail to deliver entertainment in high fashion! If the reader wants passion, undying love, mystery, cunning and bravery interlaced with brilliant plot lines, follow this writer into the world of make-believe based on historical fact. Satisfaction delivered.
There is little I can say without giving away much of the story. Honestly I think everyone with any kind of interest in the character of people, who believe all of us contain both good and bad, an interest in history, and really just an interest in an amazing tale of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation from long ago. It is beautiful, barbaric, hopeful, maddening, heart-rending, and heart-felt. Wilbur Smith is very good at writing about these ancient people in such a way that you can feel their perspectives of living in their present, rather than that somewhat backwards look to which some writers unintentionally fall victim.
I have yet to meet a person I don't feel would benefit from reading this amazing story.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 15, 2018
My original physical copy which Ive owned since I was 14 and read about 5 times and falling appart was signed by Wilbur Smith himself when I met him in Bath Waterstones.
I bought the digital copy to protect the original as its very fragile.
This book is brilliant and was one of the first books I ever read as a kid as I used to hate reading. If it wasnt for Wilbur Smith and his Egyptian series I probably wouldnt have taken it up. (I now have so many books I cant fit them anywhere lol)
The flow of the story is great and the sex and violence dosent overpower it and tells the story instead of 'just because' like many other books.
really love the characters and love the next one 'Warlock'
His newer books that have been released in last few years are very disappointing so if you pick up the Egyptian series just read River God, Warlock and 7th Scroll.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 17, 2019
When I was an adolescent I read lots of books about perfectly formed, kind but manly heroes, perfectly beautiful but clever, doe-eyed heroines and inordinately talented and beautiful people of lower cast/social order making good. I also read millions of pages of warriors slicing, chariots flying, swords and arrows made better than ever before, largest monsters, hottest deserts, longest journeys and valour and love conquering all. And all that. So Wilbur Smith delivers if that's what you want. And there's plenty of interesting historical background and detail (if you can believe in it when every main character is either beautiful or hideous). And indeed there's a lot of fascinating stuff about how they moved the boats up the River Nile. I definitely got a strong feel of the Great River and the journey along it (no idea if this journey ever really happened?). Overall if this kind of big semi-historical pageant with great heroes and beautiful heroines is your cup of tea, go for it. I enjoyed the historical information but in general prefer something a little less Hollywood and more subtle.
The first in Wilbur Smith’s Egyptian series which according to the preamble is based on the findings from a tomb containing an unknown Egyptian Queen believed to have ruled around 1760BC. Smith according to his comments was a member of the dig team and from that involvement he developed the character of Egyptian eunuch slave, Taita.
Taita is a member of the household of Lord Intef a senior member of the Egyptian nobility. Lord Intef is a man of distinct tastes and avaricious needs. Taita is highly talented which makes him extremely valuable to his master who uses him in a range of ways. Principal amongst his responsibilities is the welfare of his master’s daughter Lostris a young girl who Taita has known from her birth.
Despite having many wives Pharaoh has failed to father a son and sees in Lostris his last opportunity to preserve his dynasty. Lostris however has her eyes on Tanus the soldier son of another noble family who have fallen on hard times. Lord Intef was instrumental in bringing down Tanya’s family and will not consider a match with Lostris and Tanus. Instead he marries her to Pharaoh but has to accept the price of losing Taita who Lostris insists accompanies her to her new home. Intef is not happy with this outcome as he believes Taita knows to much about his affairs.
Egypt is invaded by the Hyksos a war-like people who have developed significantly the art of war. They sweep the Egyptian Army aside forcing the nobility and the remaining army segments to flee up the Nile. Forced to travel in the wilderness Taita uses the time to build up their armed forces and develop their military skills before returning to Egypt and attempting to win back their country.
In a tale that moves at remarkable pace Smith creates a picture of Taita that is not always positive. Vain, arrogant and full of his own self-Importance the tale comes through Taita’s eyes. There appears to be nothing he cannot turn his hand or brain too. Despite his slave status he carries a sphere of influence not normally associated with someone in such a position. Indeed when Lostris offers him his freedom through the book he regards it as being something he should abhor.
I really enjoyed this and intend moving on to the second book in the series at some point in the near future.
Takes a while to get going, the first 20 pages or so are spent going into great detail about a hippopotamus hunt. The two main characters are clichéd, the hero is broad shoulders and handsome, the heroine an outstanding beauty.
The book has it all, forbidden love, power struggles, epic fights etc. The story is told in first person singular by the main character a slave. Though this is no ordinary slave, he is also a surgeon(one of the finest in Egypt) a military tactician, weapons designer, political adviser, expert lip reader, a brilliant horseman even though he had never even seen one since adulthood, horse breeder, vet, wheel designer, astrologist, the list goes on.
The book is quite graphic at times, goes into detail describing torture,castration and animal cruelty. There's not much wrong the main characters can do. Can the hero and his men defeat a group of bandits when outnumbered ten to one?
A good read for someone who likes 650 page novels about ancient Egypt.
As is usual for Wilbur Smith books this one was very long winded and maybe more so than some others which, for me, does detract from the story line.
In this case the story line was quite good and it was based on some true events regarding the invasion of Egypt many years BC.
The story is related to the reader through the musings of a slave Taita who, if only half of his abilities were true, was a talented person indeed. He was amongst other things the right hand man of Kings and Queens with his numerous talents of linguist, architect, war strategist, prospector, lip reader, astrologist, chemist, horseman, artist, engineer, explorer, geologist, poisoner, nursemaid, diplomat, inventor, charioteer, poet, philosopher, singer and modest.
Taita told the tale of Queen Lostris from young girl onwards with all her trials and tribulations during the turbulent times of the Egyptian occupation by the Hyksos with crimes such as rape, paedophilia, torture, mass murder, looting, drunkenness and war crimes.
Not really what I expected for a story about ancient Egypt but a good read nevertheless if just a bit long winded.