Kathleen Jenks' fictional debut is not one of those historical novels that persuade readers they are the work of ancient, mysteriously liberated writers. The tales of Moses' adoption, his racially confused and torn adolescence, his religious self-discovery, and his flight after murdering an Egyptian is told from a self-consciously Seventies point of view. Thus religious experiences of all sorts abound--Hebrew, Egyptian, Atonist, even quasi-Hindu--and people have sexual problems of the more fashionable varieties. The period detail is well-researched but not always convincingly presented; conversations in too modern an idiom are a recurrent stumbling block. Nonetheless, many vivid characters--such as Moses' prophetess sister, Miriam, and his vicious adoptive mother, the Princess Bak-Isis--tie the tales of Moses and Akhnaton together with a mysticism not inappropriate to the saga of a religious awakening. On the whole, though, this will not replace the original version. As suggested internally, it is the first of several volumes.