THE SHEPHERD KINGS by Judith Tarr

THE SHEPHERD KINGS

KIRKUS REVIEW

Horse-breeder Tarr, a Yale-Cambridge graduate in history, switched horses recently, from writing 500-page ancient and medieval historical doorstoppers (Queen of Swords, 1997, etc.) to mythicizing Old Europe in Neolithic times (White Mare’s Daughter, 1998). In her last epic, set in what is now Kiev, the Great Goddess Epona was incarnated in the majestic White Mare. Here, Tarr moves to Lower Egypt in the days of the Hyksos chariot warrior-conquerors known as the Shepherd Kings. The Goddess of the White Mare has moved as well and has chosen an Egyptian girl to be her new priestess and to ally the Lower Kingdom with the Upper Kingdom, ruled by Ahmose. Historically, the Hyksos have remained a mystery, although it was once thought they were a Semitic people who introduced the horse to Egypt—but all of this is far from precise, owing to recent archaeological excavations. Thus Tarr’s Bronze Age draws largely from the same mythic well of imagination as White Mare’s Daughter. Though she takes fewer liberties with her Egyptians than she did with the peoples in her earlier novel, she says evidence exists of a tribe of Amazons somewhere in central and western Asia. Quick moving, with just enough depth to lend some roundness to highly active figures otherwise as flat as wall paintings.

Pub Date: June 23rd, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-86113-3
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1999




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