Child of the Morning

Written by Pauline Gedge
Review by Susan Higginbotham

Child of the Morning, set in ancient Egypt, follows Queen-Pharaoh Hatshepsut from her early childhood as the favorite daughter of Thothmes the First to her death. Intersecting with the story of Hatshepsut’s rise to power, her fall, and her final act of defiance is that of Senmut, a restless, ambitious young priest whose destiny will become intertwined with his queen’s.

Moving at a deliberate but never dull pace, Gedge’s first novel, originally published in 1977, offers not only detailed descriptions of life in the Egyptian court but a rich and numerous array of complex characters. Gedge conveys what appears to be an exhaustive knowledge of the period and provides the necessary background to her story without resorting to the dreaded “information dumps” or to the awkward device of having characters give each other information in dialogue for the benefit of the reader. Even readers who are not particularly interested in this period should enjoy this tale of a remarkable woman’s passions and struggles.

Sadly, author’s notes do not seem to have been in vogue when Gedge published her novel; it would have been fascinating to hear what Gedge had to say in hers.