Who killed Queen Nefertiti? Having established in Eater of Souls (1997) that the Egyptian queen did not die of the plague but was poisoned, Lord Meren—Friend of King Tutankhamun, the boy pharaoh who succeeded his brothers Akhenaten and Smenkhare—continues his quest for the killer in this second entry in Robinson’s trilogy. Acting on information received from his son Kysen’s friend Othrys, the wily Mycenaean pirate, Meren focuses on three suspects: horse-breeder Dilalu, military officer Yamen, and merchant prince Zulaya. But everyone who knows anything about the dark business seems headed for an early grave, and someone who obviously doesn’t want Meren stirring up the past frames him for treason and attempted murder, sending him into hiding. Robinson intersperses Meren’s investigations with flashbacks to the ominously growing discord between Nefertiti and her husband, the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten, whose insistence that his people forsake their pantheon of gods in favor of his own patron, the sun god Aten, bodes disaster for anyone who stands in his way—and ultimately, it may well be, for his nation as well. The vivid mix of conflicts and incidents is diluted by Robinson’s need to leave the deepest mysteries unplumbed till the final installment, which keeps Drinker of Blood from standing solidly on its own. Newcomers to Lord Meren’s fine series of adventures are well-advised to start elsewhere.