Saturday, February 1, 2014

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Rating 4 out of 5
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Three Rivers Press (May 27, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307381749
ISBN-13: 978-0307381743

This book is set in Egypt following one of the most well known Egyptian Queens Nefertiti. Told from the point of view of her sister.

About Nefertiti
Nefertiti has to be one of the most famous Queens through out history. Ask anyone to name a Queen from history and most would say Nefertiti and Cleopatra. Despite her fame, and unlike Cleopatra, very little is actually known about her. Her tomb has not been found, and very little information has survived to tell us what Nefertiti was like or her accomplishments. 

So it's curious to me that a Queen we know so very little about is more famous then Queens we know a lot about (for example Queen Victoria). 

The facts about Nefertiti:
  • She and her husband rules for about 12 years. 
  • They worshiped one God not the many gods that ancient Egyptians worshiped.
  • They were patrons of the art and during their life, and ushered in a new style of art for ancient Egyptians.
  • After 12 years Nefertiti disappears from history. No one knows why. There are three main theories as to what happened; She died, was sent into exile, or she assumed a male name to rule Egypt herself.
The Book
I did not find Morgan's portrayal of Nefertiti to be flattering. In fact I didn't like her "character" much at all. For Moran's portrayal of Nefertiti, I did have to remind myself though that Nefertiti was a teenager (hormonal and a know it all at best) who had been thrust into power, wealth and fame. She was deeply insecure and married to a husband who was well, for lack of a better word, bat do do crazy. I would love to know Moran's reasoning for portraying Nefertiti the way she did.

To be honest I would have preferred the story to be exclusively about her sister Mutnodjmet (Mutny). It was a bit sad to see such an interesting character relegated to be Nefertiti's assistant and story teller when her own story was fascinating. But probably not many people would pick up a book about Nefertiti's sister.

The historical accuracy seems to be pretty spot on. But some liberties with the story telling has been taken. Some things changed or assumed based on logical deduction. This is pretty normal with historical fictions.

In Summary
A good light historical fiction which is great for anyone who is starting out in the genre. Michelle Moran manages to write about fascinating historical figures and portray them in interesting ways.

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