Written by Wilbur Smith
Review by Ilysa Magnus

Pharaoh Tamose is killed in the desert during a military campaign against the Hyksos.  His son, Prince Nefer, is too young to take over the reins of power, and a regent, Naja, is appointed– by the point of a sword.   So begins Wilbur Smith’s new adventure of ancient Egypt.

Taita, wise in the ways of the supernatural and adept in magic, has been in the desert wandering for many years since the death of his beloved Queen Lostris, Tamose’s mother.   Recognizing by signs given to him that forces of evil are threatening the throne and the land of Egypt, Taita returns to prepare the young Nefer to take his rightful place as Egypt’s Pharaoh.  But those same forces of evil, personified in Naja and his cohorts, are not easily destroyed.

Nefer must go into the desert with Taita and learn the ways of a soldier, a leader and a mystic. In a novel full of political intrigue, in a landscape that is at the same time barren and complex, the characters expand and grow by Smith’s talented hand.  Even though we recognize it is a foregone conclusion that Nefer will rule, it is the getting there that is all the fun.