Three young people living in the time of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty become a force to be reckoned with.
Amenhotep III has ruled Egypt wisely and well, but his deformed and impotent son Akhnaten is about to plunge the country into the depths of misery. Before his father’s death, Akhnaten inexplicably chooses the bright young scholar Ptah-hotep to be his Great Royal Scribe. Despite his inexperience, Ptah-hotep quickly finds his feet and does well even though he’s been forced to leave behind his lover Kheperren, who soon finds a place as scribe to the powerful Gen. Horemheb. Akhnaten has chosen the beautiful, self-indulgent Nefertiti as his bride. Her younger sister, Princess Mutnodjme, is a bright, curious child who fights to be educated and becomes a priestess of Isis. Despite her best efforts, Nefertiti is unable to conceive Akhnaten’s child. So, in order to preserve the dynasty, she produces heirs by Amenhotep. Vague and easily influenced, Akhnaten is passionate about his devotion to a single god he calls Aten. Forbidding worship of the other gods, he spends a fortune building a new city devoted to Aten. Ptah-hotep and Mutnodjme, who have become friends and lovers, are appalled at conditions in Egypt, where the people are starving and Gen. Horemheb can barely secure the borders while his troops are used to obliterate all signs of the old gods. As powerful forces fight for control, the fate of the nation hangs in the balance.
From the often wildly differing conclusions of professional Egyptologists, Greenwood, best known for her mysteries (Unnatural Habits, 2013, etc.), has fashioned a fascinating, plausible and erotic tale.