An ancient detective must find a missing queen or die.
Ceremonious narrator Rai Rahotep, chief detective of the Thebes Medjay division (the mercenary group that guards the Egyptian royalty), is summoned under a cloud of secrecy to the palace of King Akhenaten. Before he even meets the king, Rahotep is assigned three palace colleagues, the imperious and power-hungry Mahu and two earnest Medjay officers, Khety and Tjenry. The Perfect One, aka Queen Nefertiti, has vanished without a trace a week before the capital’s inauguration festival, a grand celebration that includes the unveiling of many glorious projects. Gossip is already beginning to leak out of the closed circle of palace society. Because the queen’s absence could undermine both the fête and the empire, Rahotep is commanded to find her or be killed, along with his family. The duplicitous Mahu becomes a constant thorn in his side. The search seems over almost before it’s begun when a body, dressed in Nefertiti’s clothes and fitting her description, is found by the river with its face eaten away. The fact that it is not the queen is a relief, but also evidence of a devilish plot. Worse, Tjenry is found soon after efficiently murdered and drained of blood.
This debut novel by award-winning poet Drake (The Man in the White Suit, 2000) begins a proposed Rahotep trilogy with clean, elegant prose and a pervasive aura of suspense.