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SPHINX’S PRINCESS by Esther Friesner


From the Princesses of Myth series, volume 3

by Esther Friesner

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-375-85654-9
Publisher: Random House

Friesner imagines the childhood of legendary queen Nefertiti, as she did for Helen of Troy in Nobody’s Princess (2007) and Nobody’s Prize (2008). Here she weaves the little information known with various historians’ theories and a definite sense of contemporary tween/teen princess fantasies. This Nefertiti may be a little too good to be true—she dances! She’s smart! She’s kind to slaves! She’s impossibly beautiful—and a little too modern to please true history buffs. However, the first-person, past-tense narration, laced with the glamour of ancient Egypt (painted friezes, paper-thin linen, beautiful jewelry) and topped with a dollop of tension (Nefertiti is engaged to Pharaoh’s cold, possibly mad oldest son but falls for his kind brother instead) makes for an undemanding but satisfying foray into a time and place not often written about. The rare reader who knows Nefertiti’s later role in creating a new religion will see the clues being laid; most will just enjoy the ancient princess who reads and writes, drives chariots and always looks fantastic. (map, afterword) (Historical fantasy. 11 & up)