The author has called forth from the stacks the multi-visaged ancient Egyptian deities, those tombs and temples, and eye-blinding costumes and scenery, so that this chronicle of the Queen/Pharaoh Hatshepsut (d. 1468 BC) resembles, not unpleasantly, the hoopla of an old-style Met production of Aida--shamelessly gorgeous processions and bel canto passion front and center. Favored daughter of Pharaoh Thothmes I (otherwise known as ""Horus the Mighty Bull, Beloved of Maat, Lord of Nekhbet and per-Uarchet,"" etc.), little Hatshepsut meets the man who will become her true beloved--the peasant, priest, and architect, Senmut. However, she is destined to be the first and only female Pharaoh, preferred by her father to her soft half-brother Thothmes II, and, after her father dies, she becomes a powerful warrior, diplomat, and administrator. True, she must accept Thothmes II as her consort (he has backing in high places), but he agrees to leave the driving to her, and it is Hatshepsut who rules. Thothmes II eventually dies, having fathered a clever, strong son by a dancer, and this nephew-son, Thothmes III, kills Hat's friends and her lover Senmut. Then she awaits the end, Cleopatra fashion (""Paint my face carefully. . .""). Throughout, in spite of a few traces of anachronistic speech, there are prolonged and full-throated arias in dark temples, hot sands and gilded courts, and splendor, splendor everywhere. A sustained exercise in strenuous show-and-tell, and this first novelist may well have a solid commercial future.