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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
The Besieged Pharaoh by William Speir is a historical novel that takes readers on an adventure to ancient Egypt, following Amenhotep II, the Great Son of Ra, Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt, just after the devastating defeat by the Hebrews. He has lost every first son in the land, and his kingdom is still recovering from the deadly plagues. We meet him vulnerable and defeated. Now his allies and the lands he has conquered find it difficult to trust him. With Egypt reeling from the pain inflicted by the Hebrews, his own people need a change, and there are intrigues and plots to overthrow him. There are hardcore enemies just willing to assassinate him and replace him with one of his sons. Can he turn things around, find powerful allies to help him overcome the plots against him, and restore Egypt to its once powerful position?
In the tradition of Christian Jacq, William Speir transports readers to ancient Egypt and crafts a story that is historically strong and that explores the culture of Egypt during the time of the pharaohs. For fans of historical novels and readers with a keen interest in Egyptology, The Besieged Pharaoh comes across as a wonderful treat. While the novel starts with a powerful biblical allusion to the outwitting of Pharaoh by the Hebrews, the plotlines explore the complexity of life in ancient Egypt, the power of the Pharaoh and a civilization undergoing a crisis such as there has never been before in its history. The setting is beautifully imagined, the plot is filled with twists and surprises, and the characters are complex. This is one of the best historical novels with a setting in ancient Egypt. It is filled with focused scenes and the writing style is both evocative and lyrical.