Daughter of the Crocodile

Written by Duncan Sprott
Review by Gwen Sly

If Duncan Sprott is to be believed, the Ptolemys, rulers of Egypt for twelve generations, were the first dysfunctional family. Practising incest in its various forms may have had some bearing on this.

Daughter of the Crocodile is the second book in Sprott’s projected Ptolomies (sic) Quartet and is a pale imitation when compared to Book One. Perhaps history is hazy – however, the prologue is fine indeed. The chronicler, introducing herself as Seshat, goddess of learning and numbers, soon becomes strident and, in comparison, Thoth, narrator of the earlier book, seems benign and sadly missed.

Sixty years have now passed since Ptolemy, General to Alexander, took Egypt for himself. Further kings, four in number, all with similar names and the same traits of murder, bloodletting, perverse sexual acts and greed have followed him. The story therefore can at times become confusing, deeply depressing when showing the ravages this Macedonian family inflicts upon itself, and, like the previous book, overlong and repetitious.

The promise shown by the author in The House of the Eagle for the definitive Egyptian novel written on this period has slipped dramatically; I hope it returns for the subsequent books.