Title: Nefertiti: A Novel
Author: Michelle Moran
Release Date: July 10, 2007
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: **** 1/2 (out of 5)
Synopsis from Michelle Moran:
The sweeping story of a powerful Egyptian family, Nefertiti: A Novel tells the tale of two sisters, the first of whom is destined to rule as one of history’s most fascinating queens.
Beautiful Nefertiti and her sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised far from the court of their aunt, the Queen of Egypt. But when the Pharaoh of Egypt dies, their father’s power play makes Nefertiti wife to the new and impetuous king. It is hoped she will temper King Amunhotep’s desire to overturn Egypt’s religion, but the ambitious Nefertiti encourages Amunhotep’s outrageous plans instead, winning the adoration of the people while making powerful enemies at court. Younger yet more prudent, Mutnodjmet is her sister’s sole confidant, and only she knows to what lengths Nefertiti will go for a child to replace the son of Amunhotep’s first wife.
As King Amunhotep’s commands become more extravagant, he and Nefertiti ostracize the army, clergy, and Egypt’s most powerful allies. Then, when Mutnodjmet begins a dangerous affair with a general, she sees how tenuous her situation is at her own sister’s court.
I love historical fiction, and I love stories about Ancient Egypt, so when I first heard of Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti, I couldn’t wait to read it. I’m not sure why it took me over a year, but now I wish I had read it earlier. It really is an amazing book; Moran’s meticulous details really make Egypt come to life. It is obvious that she is an accomplished researcher, and that she took her time writing Nefertiti in order to ensure that she had her details and facts straight.
Michelle Moran has a blog in which she writes about recent archaeological discoveries, as well as her research for her third novel set to be released in 2009, Cleopatra’s Bones. The site really is fascinating for anyone interested in history or archaeology; it’s obvious that Moran is a real history buff! Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the site’s RSS feed so I can follow it in Google Reader, which is a real disappointment.
However, historical details alone do not make a good novel. Moran shines through the way she writes her characters as well. She manages to make Nefertiti a character the reader hates, pities, and respects all at the same time. The narrator, Mutny, has a strong voice. The reader really comes to care about what happens to her and the rest of the characters in the novel. The plot is intriguing; I was up late into the night trying to finish the book! You know you’ve found a talented author when you read a 470 page book in one sitting (especially when you were planning on going to bed early!)
[Edit: I just got an e-mail from Michelle Moran, saying she contacted the person in charge of her blog and they are going to add an RSS feed!]