A rousing good sequel to River God, Smith's 1994 bestseller, that takes the immensely entertaining form of a high-tech...



A rousing good sequel to River God, Smith's 1994 bestseller, that takes the immensely entertaining form of a high-tech treasure hunt. Instead of a treasure map, brainy and beautiful Royan Al Simms (an English-educated Coptic Christian who ranks among the world's top Egyptologists) has a 4,000-year-old scroll. The witty testament of Taita (the polymath eunuch who narrated River God), it offers maddeningly enigmatic details on where he interred Mamose in pharaonic splendor during an extended exile. Before Royan can fully decipher Taita's message, however, the papyrus is stolen and her husband, an aging scholar, is murdered by unknown assailants. She flees Cairo for her British mother's home in Yorkshire, where she eventually joins forces with Nicholas Quenton-Harper, a daredevil peer with a taste for ancient artifacts and a flair for derring-do. In search of the vast riches buried with Mamose, Nicky organizes two archetypally hazardous expeditions into deepest Ethiopia (one legit, the other not). Despite the resourceful opposition of a villainous German industrialist who wants the long-dead sovereign's funerary wealth for his own collection, the plucky pair (with a little help from a community of Coptic monks and a righteous rebel chieftain) unearth the Pharaoh's tomb beneath a treacherous gorge at the headwaters of the Nile. To deter grave robbers, Taita booby-trapped the subterranean sepulcher -- which can be reached only by damning a stretch of the wild Danders river, so Nicky and Royan must overcome a host of perils before they return to civilization with booty worth millions. At the close, all parties to the excellent enterprise have gotten approximately what's coming to them, and Royan has a grant from the Smithsonian to reopen Mamose's tomb, which has again been sealed behind a riverine barrier. A master storyteller at the top of his considerable form.

Pub Date: April 1, 1995


Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995