The Stone of Light (Nefer the Silent, Volume 1)

Written by Christian Jacq
Review by Elizabeth Garner


The Stone of Light is volume one in the story of Nefer the Silent, a craftsman in ancient Egypt during the last part of the reign of Ramses II (about 1225 B.C.). Nefer is a resident of the Place of Truth, the village where the tomb-builders of the pharaohs lived on the western edge of Thebes. His friend is Ardent, an obnoxious youth, unable to control his frequent fits of rage, who is scheming to become the leading artist of the Place of Truth. The villain is Mehy, a charioteer captain who plots with murder and treachery to posses the magic stone of light kept within the village.

There’s not much to recommend in this book: the disjointed writing style frequently becomes juvenile, badly sketched characters spout unbelievable dialogue and act inexplicably, and each major individual is either a saintly hero or cardboard villain. The many woman are all minor, stereotypical characters, most existing only to serve the men’s sexual needs.

The Stone of Light is clearly just the first part of the story of those who live in the Place of Truth. As Volume One ends, the village is threatened from within and without. Ramses II, the village’s protector, has died, and Mehy’s plots to secure the magical stone are succeeding.