Review of The Heiress of Egypt by Charlotte Booth, author of Ancient Egyptians for Dummies, In Bed with Ancient Egyptians, Horemheb the Forgotten Pharaoh, and others:
The Heiress of Egypt takes us back to an unspecified time in a fantastical ancient Egypt populated with fantasy animals, heroic soldiers, and gifted priests.
The underlying principal of this fantastical Egypt is that it is the product of the Celestials - or people from the sky. Legend has it they travelled to Egypt in their pyramid-shaped vessel thousands of years before the present time. They taught the people agriculture, architecture and mummification enabling them to settle and become a civilised society. They also provided the original pharaoh and their true descendants with the gift of divinity through a substance known as Kaimeni made from all chemical elements that existed in nature hoping it would add stability to this new civilisation. As can be expected such a magical substance led to a desire for power.
At the death of the Egyptian King Senu III after a twenty-year reign, his son, Senu IV ascended to the throne only to be the victim of a coup which leaves him, and his entire family murdered, and the usurper Varis on the throne with his wife Keya. However, Senu's daughter, Merit, somehow survived and escaped the usurper and his army of Kushite mercenaries.
The tale that then unravels is one of adventure, rebellion, fantasy, romance and war all in an attempt to pave the way for Merit to take her true place on the throne of Egypt. All of the characters are larger than life, and could possibly be described as caricatures, but that adds to the simplicity and charm of this novel.
The hero is Romaroy, known as Roma, a soldier under the murdered king, Senu IV, who upon narrowly avoiding death during the initial coup, joins a rebel group to overthrow the usurper and return the throne to the true dynasty. An expert at combat with two short swords he makes short work of multiple adversaries at a time. He is accompanied by his capable companion, Moeris, a soldier who can only fight whilst drunk or under the influence of drugs, a former prostitute Nefer and a young, naive priest, Amasis, who learnt the secrets of the Kaimeni and how to summon the celestials from his father under the reign of Senu IV.
Not only do the team of valiant fighters have to contend with mercenaries and the sadistic, evil Varis, they also have to deal with the nine giant beasts which live in the desert but were captured by the usurper's army, which included a giant spider, scorpion, and two serpopards who protect anyone who wears the crown on the Egyptian king.
This is a light fast-paced read, perfect for a holiday or a cold winter evening at home. It follows in the style of Khai of Ancient Khem with crazed, despotic leaders and priests with magical abilities but with a simpler plot. The time period is not specified but there are clearly influences from all periods of Egyptian history from the Old Kingdom through to the Roman period placing the book firmly in the realm of a fantasy version of ancient Egypt which is refreshing.
This book is the first in a series and provides background information for the story that will emerge in the second book, The Celestial’s Battle