A troublesome prince rises to unite a kingdom in this debut historical novel.
Ahmose, a prince in the mid-1500s B.C.E., was raised in a temple city, but he has very little respect for the gods and even less for human authority. At the beginning of the story, he is king of South Kemet (part of the country now known as Egypt), but he still wants two things: the love of his lifelong crush, Nefertari, and the rule of the northern kingdom, which is controlled by a tribe called the Semites. He works toward these goals by marrying Nefertari, though he still has to spend the rest of the story trying to make her love him and beginning a war to unite the two lands. Meanwhile, his courtiers and allies, including those from the island kingdom of Atlantis, plot their own schemes and intrigues, and the Semites, led by their king, Mose, won’t be easily defeated, even by an expert strategist like Ahmose. The book is essentially a retelling of the biblical Exodus, as seen by the Egyptians. Most of the major Egyptian characters are based on historical notables, and the opposing forces in the Great Prince’s war are led by major biblical figures—although for the most part, they’re unrecognizable. At nearly 700 pages, Prada’s book is dense and will likely be difficult to follow for non-Egyptologists. The glossary, list of names, and maps at the end may assist readers. But they will not make the main characters more compelling, and that’s the chief problem with the novel. Ahmose is meant to be this tale’s answer to Moses, but he comes across as a petty, selfish man who happens to be proficient at battle strategy. The dialogue, liberally peppered with phrases like “By my ka” and “Bloody nuts of Seth!,” fails to help matters. Still, readers interested in Egypt and the Exodus may be willing to overlook these flaws for the meticulously researched setting.
A complex civil war saga that may appeal to Egyptian history buffs.