Seer of Egypt

Written by Pauline Gedge
Review by C.W. Gortner

In Seer of Egypt, Pauline Gedge continues her vivid recounting of the life of Huy, son of Hapu, who died of a head wound only to be resurrected and unwillingly become one of Egypt’s most respected yet enigmatic seers, renowned for his insights into the Book of Thoth. This second offering in a proposed trilogy presents Huy’s middle years, as he struggles to come to terms with his astonishing and crippling prophetic gifts, as well as the isolation and loneliness inflicted on him by his enforced celibacy.

Little is known about Huy before he attracted royal patronage, but Gedge once again weaves from historical fragments a compelling mosaic of a man edging toward greatness even as he faces the devastating loss of his human yearnings, which seem untouched by the passage of time even as those he loves fade away. In a moment of weakness, Huy also betrays his gods and must suffer and reconcile with the lingering effects of his infidelity when he finds himself entrusted with the tutelage of the prince who will catapult both Huy and Egypt to fame.

Gedge’s powers of descriptions are, as ever, finely honed; her knowledge of daily life and the religious customs of ancient Egypt unsurpassed. Nevertheless, Seer of Egypt is more contemplative in scope, and Huy’s profound meditations on the secrets of the legendary Book of Thoth and its possible ramifications on Ma’at, the ancient balance in Egypt, may challenge the patience of less dedicated readers. Theology and philosophy, however, are key to understanding the importance of Huy in Egyptian lore. Readers who persevere will find themselves rewarded in the end by a breathtaking conclusion that masterfully sets up the final installment in this epic trilogy.