Two rival princes competing for a much lauded prize, battle it out with a chariot race. A simple enough premise, but this story is about far more than that. As if the corrupt motivations of man are not enough, the author supplies a plethora of horrific obstacles to ensure that the eventual winner earns his reward.
What struck me immediately is the quality of the writing and the depth of research which must have been undertaken. The historical detail is spot on and woven in effortlessly. Within a few pages I was immersed in ancient Egypt – behaviours, customs and beliefs.
I like the style of writing, with multiple POVs, pacy, sharp dialogue; beautiful and often brutal imagery and super scene setting. The dreams/visions are particularly evocative and otherworldly and give this whole story a sense of underlying menace.
I hadn’t read the first book in this series and was concerned that because of that I’d be at a disadvantage, but this book can be read as a stand-alone. The superb story telling kept me glued, in cinematic fashion, until the very last page. Bookworm, Amazon Reviewer.
Commander Shenq rides into the thick of it again in the second of C.M.T. Stibbe’s brilliantly written Ancient Egyptian trilogy. Deeply researched and well imagined, the story tells of a gory chariot race in the western desert where the human opponents are not the only enemy. It is a tale full of conflict involving the Egyptians and the Alodians – one told with with insight and compassion, opening a door onto 18th Dynasty values and cultures now foreign to us. Stibbe plunges her readers into the past with all its cruelties and uneasy alliances.
I can’t help liking Commander Shenq, Stibbe’s compelling lead character. He’s a mix of rancour and humanity and Stibbe does a masterful job of showing not only how he uses his skills in battle but his wits in combating political intrigues. Unpopular with his superiors, he is at the same time the only man who seems to find a way through impossible odds. He is an eminently likeable and very human hero.