It takes a fair chunk of papyrus (447 pp.) to get the last wheeze and tremolo from this love story of ancient Egypt--with lots of deMille silliness along the way. The lovers are: Ankhesenamon (""Hesen"" to the kids around the palace), daughter of Queen Nefertiti and the Pharaoh to be known as Akhenaten; and Senumet, who starts out as a lowly scribe. But when Senumet comes to Memphis to practice his art in the royal city, he's well-received (""I like your line. It's very crisp"") and is promoted by the evil grand vizier, Ay--who soon has Senumet tutoring royalty. . . including the lad Tutu (Tutankhamon, who else?). Ay, you see, is after power, even Pharaoh-hood, and he'll be using Senumet as a spy against popular Akhenaten--the worshipper of the One God of the Sun and founder of the beautiful new city of Akht-Aten who has banished all other gods. (Ay is a priest of Amon.) So poor Senumet winds up double-agenting, trotting back and forth between friend and foe. There are deaths in high places--unnatural deaths--and Hesen, though really in love with Senumet, changes partners ancient-Egyptian-style: she weds her father, then nice young uncle Tutu, and at last is forced to marry Ay (who has Ay-liminated the competition). Ah, but Hesen and Senumet have had a daughter hidden away some time ago--Mut-Nodjne, who will marry the new Pharaoh, the patriot and former peasant Horemheb (""Only in Egypt could it happen""), while poor Hesen withers away in Senumet's arms. Hopelessly anachronistic--and Tutu too--but, for undemanding Egypt-lovers, it's simple-mindedly harmless and reasonably decorative.