Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner

Sphinx's Princess is historical fiction at its very best. This novel tells the fictional story of Egyptian princess Nefertiti, - her life before she became queen of Egypt.
Esther Friesner has crafted an exciting story that captures the intrigue of the Egyptian Royal Court and provides young readers with an imaginative and informative look into life in 14th century BC Egypt.

The story opens with Nefertiti's early life in Akhmin with her father, Ay; her stepmother Mery and younger step-sister, Bit-Bit.
From this beginning, Friesner presents Nefertit as a strong, young girl who knows her own mind. And what Nefertiti wants is to learn to read and write, a skill not usually taught to women. She develops a true friendship with Henenu, a scribe whom her father has known since boyhood. Henenu agrees to teach Nefertiti. Nefertiti is also characterized as a kind, just woman. Horrified at the murder of a young slave girl, Nefertiti takes in her younger sister.
Nefertiti's life undergoes a dramatic change when she is ordered to marry Thutmose, son of Pharoah and his Great Royal Wife, Tiye who is Nefertiti's paternal aunt. However, Nefertiti wishes to marry for love and her father, Ay manages to get his sister to agree to wait 3 years before marrying Nefertiti to her son. Instead, Nefertiti is sent to the royal court at Thebes to learn her duties. She encounters intrique, plots and a royal prince Thutmose who is less than eager to marry her. When Pharaoh and Tiye decide to go to Dendera and leave Thutmose in charge, Nefertiti is placed in grave danger.

Although a little slow off the mark, this story gradually draws the reader in. The action itself is evenly paced throughout the rest of the book and the ongoing intrigue within the palace kept my interest to the end. I enjoyed the fact that Nefertit is portrayed as a likeable, sensible young woman who treats others kindly and with a great sense of equanimity.

The second book in this series, Sphinx's Queen, tells the story of Nefertit's continuing struggle to cope with royal politics and in particular Thutmose, the Royal Prince Nefertiti is expected to marry. Although this book began in a promising way, it was largely anticlimactic. The most exciting part of the storyline occurs in the middle of the book. leaving little to be settled at the end. Nevertheless, fans of historical fiction will enjoy both of Esther Friesner's books about Nefertiti. For one thing she is a historical figure who hasn't often been written about and since we know very little about Nefertiti, this gives the author a great deal of freedom to work with.

Highly recommended.

Book Details:
Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner
Random House 2009

Sphinx's Queen by Esther Friesner
Random House 2010
352 pp.


jassiesanchez said...

this books were the best and i hope she makes more because im hooked

jassiesanchez said...

the best book ever i want read more