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Pillar Of Fire, Pillar Of Truth
by Judith Tarr
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From Publishers Weekly
With her usual skill, Tarr (Throne of Isis) combines fact and fiction to create yet another remarkably solid historical novel set in ancient Egypt. This narrative is based on an intriguing premise: What if Moses, patriarch of monotheism, and the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who forbade the Egyptians from worshiping any god save the sun god Aten, were one and the same? After all, Akhenaten's body disappeared after his death, and Moses rose to prominence shortly thereafter. The third-person narration sticks close to the point of view of Nofret, a young Hittite slave girl who serves the Pharaoh's third daughter. Nofret is sharp-tongued and honest to a fault, qualities which, surprisingly, are valued by her aristocratic lady. The two women find their orderly lives turned upside down by Akhenaten's obsession with his god and his determination to father a son. After a devastating plague?attributed to Akhenaten's misrule?sweeps through the kingdom, Nofret finds refuge among some Hebrew slaves and makes her way to Sinai; later, although still dubious of his one god, she accompanies Moses/Akhenaten back to Egypt, where he demands that the slaves be freed. The juxtaposition of the Exodus story with the events in the Egyptian court makes for an engrossing saga, and Nofret's shrewd skepticism in the face of such great events lends the tale intimacy. This is a highly entertaining blend of romance, drama and historical detail.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Nofret, an intelligent and forthright Hittite slave of an Egyptian princess, is at the center of this rich novel of life in ancient Egypt. The story fictionalizes the biblical scholar Ahmed Osman's theory of the origins of Moses and the Exodus story. Anna Fields's narration is consistently fresh, bringing immediacy to the novel's events, while at the same time creating personas for a large cast of characters who develop and grow as they gain age and experience. The many unfamiliar names, which could grow tedious to the reader, flow gracefully through the story, and Fields's portrayal of a main character's stammering sounds absolutely natural. This is a well-produced, intriguing story that makes the hours fly by. M.A.M. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Tarr's many fans will rejoice in her latest, meticulously researched novel set in ancient Egypt, which her artistry again brings to life for twentieth-century readers. Queen Hatshepsut, royal wife to Thutmose II and queen regent for Menkheperaa Thutmose, her husband's son by a concubine, was not content to rule under another's name. She made herself king and ruled over the Two Lands for years. Tarr weaves into the fabric of the strange facts of this ruler's life such arresting fictional threads as the story of the commoner Senenmut, son of a pot seller, who becomes Hatshepsut's confidant and secret lover as well as her chief servant and overseer. Realizing a turbulent world of courtly intrigues and infighting, Tarr provides a book that can be savored and enjoyed on many levels--perfect for beach reading, what with its lively portrait of enduring love between two who can never publicly acknowledge their commitment, and for such higher pleasures as those afforded by finely wrought characterizations and insights into the minds and hearts of the mighty. Whitney Scott
"A highly entertaining blend of romance, drama, and historical detail." --Publishers Weekly
"Tarr is an excellent writer. Her prose is graceful and her plots are carefully constructed. She is as confident in describing the battlefields of war as she is in exploring the conflicts of love...." --The Washington Post
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