My fascination with ancient Egypt began when I was eleven years old. While browsing at the library one day, I came across some books on the discovery of and what was found in King Tut's tomb. I was hooked. My obsession continued into my high school years when I wrote my tenth grade term paper on ancient Egyptian burial customs (on which I received an A, I might add). However, despite my great interest in the culture and time period, I have not read many fiction books set in Ancient Egypt. I have read River God by Wilbur Smith, which I really enjoyed and, of course, my beloved Anne Rice set the origins of her vampires in ancient Egypt, but my repertoire of ancient Egyptian historical fiction reads is severely lacking. And now, along comes this fantastic novel of Ancient Egypt, Daughter of the Gods, about the life of Hatshepsut, an historical figure I greatly admire.
As she did with her first novel, The Secret History, Thornton has once again created a heroine to root for. Although completely different from The Secret History's Theodora and her origins, Hatshepsut is still an endearing and inspiring character. In a time when the Great Royal Wife of the pharaoh is destined to live out her days in the Hall of Women, Hatshepsut seizes the opportunity to rule when misfortune befalls her pharaoh husband. She brought success and great temples to Egypt and yet her reign was obliterated from history. I guess the dominant male culture of ancient Egypt didn't want it to be known that it was once ruled by a great and powerful female pharaoh.
Thornton is an historical fiction author that really engages a person who is truly interested in history. As much as I know and have read on ancient Egypt, I did not know that the women were bare breasted even when dressed. Very interesting. As I was reading Daughter of the Gods, I kept thinking to myself, "I really must read more in depth about ancient Egyptian culture." And so, this leads me to state something that I have said many times before. Great historical fiction leads us to history. It leads us to learn more, above and beyond, what's in the book we're reading. This is an accomplishment that any author should keep in their back pocket.
If you have not read Stephanie Thornton yet, I urge you to do so...sooner rather than later. She is a new and exciting voice to the historical fiction genre. I can't wait for her next one, which just happens to be The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan, coming this November.
About the book
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Egypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt…and sets her on a profoundly changed course.
Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Isis Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.
Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall….
Once again, Stephanie Thornton brings to life a remarkable woman from the distant past whose willingness to defy tradition changed the course of history.
Praise for Daughter of the Gods
“Daughter of the Gods is a wonderfully intimate and dramatic evocation of Ancient Egypt, where one headstrong young woman dares to become pharaoh. Stephanie Thornton vividly portrays the heat and the danger, the passion and the heartbreak of Hatshepsut’s struggle, as she defies even the gods to ensure success on the throne of Egypt. A touching love story combines with a thrilling tale of death, courage and political intrigue to produce a superbly researched and powerfully written novel. This is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A remarkable story, remarkably told.” -Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile
“Stephanie Thornton’s heroines are bold, brave, and powerful–they make me want to stand up and cheer!” -Kate Quinn, author of Lady of the Eternal City
“Daughter of the Gods is a full-out, total immersion experience of ancient Egypt. From her moving love affair with a commoner to her fierce and unwavering commitment to Egypt as a female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut crackles with fascinating complexity. Her ka must be grinning with pleasure at this richly textured account of her life, one that is worthy of the great queen herself. “ -Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of Cleopatra’s Moon “An epic saga that brings ancient Egypt to life with vivid imagery and lovely prose. Stephanie Thornton is a rising star!” -Stephanie Dray, author of Lily of the Nile
Buy the Book
Amazon US (Kindle)
Amazon US (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble
Amazon US (Kindle)
Amazon US (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble
About the authorStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.
“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora” is available from NAL/Penguin, and “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” will hit the shelves May 2014 and “The Tiger Queens: A Novel of Genghis Khan” will follow in Fall 2014.
For more information, please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
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A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.