A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{December 6, 2010}   Sphinx’s Queen by Esther Friesner

Plot: Nefertiti has escaped the plots of her betrothed, the crown prince Thutmose, who would have seen her executed for crimes she had not committed. She travels down the Nile along with the younger prince and her loyal servant girl. She hopes to speak to Pharaoh and clear her name. Along the way she find adventure, love and even more plots.

I love Friesner’s historical tales. She brings ancient worlds to brilliant life and fills them with deep, developed characters. Her women are always as strong and intelligent as they are beautiful. They overcome adversity through their own strength and fall in love with kind men who care for them. In this novel she brings her tale of Nefertiti to an end and sees the historical queen crowned.

If I have a complaint, it is that the resolution is too easy. Nefertiti charms and befriends even her staunchest opponents and all is forgiven in the end. You have to suspend your disbelief to believe the happy ending the Friesner delivers. The tale can also be occasionally heavy handed, bordering on the didactic. Characters will explain things that would be common sense to contemporaries and Friesner can fall in the trap of telling rather than showing.

This book is not as good as the first in the series but  it is nevertheless an enjoyable read and a very nice introduction to one of Egypt’s most powerful and mysterious women.

In her next series, Friesner will travel to ancient Japan to tell us of yet another real and powerful but poorly documented queen, Himiko. I for one, can’t wait.


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