What a challenge this book is to young readers: big words, complicated history, and a cast of thousands. It will be worth the effort for those interested in identifying with a historical period or for anyone interested in ancient Egypt. Hatshepsut, a willful, somewhat cranky princess, is catapulted to Queenship on the death of her father, Thutmose, and her marriage to her brother, Thutmose II. Told constantly how fortunate she is, Hatshepsut seeks for the rest of her life to feel fortunate. On the death of her husband, she declares herself a man so that she can ascend the throne (c. 1650 B.C.). She wears a ceremonial snap-on beard and man's clothing for formal occasions, learns to drive a chariot, acts with dispatch and authority, and undertakes some admirable building projects, while subverting the power plays of Thutmose III, son of a concubine. Real happiness and good fortune come with her discovery of a lowly accountant, Senmut, who loves Hatshepsut more than platonically. She elevates him to great power; his companionship helps her to reign well and justly. While Thutmose III succeeds in undermining and possibly poisoning her at last, she has had a good life and worthy reign. Carter has taken the bare bones of history, a wealth of archaeological information, much supposition, and a clever first-person approach to bring Hatshesput and her era to life. While the sometimes confusing political scene and the many unfamiliar terms may cloud parts of the story, Hatshepsut rises above all, proud and independent.