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by Michelle Moran

Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped by all that her strong personality will temper the young Amunhotep’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods, overthrow the priests of Amun, and introduce a new sun god for all to worship. From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people. Her charisma is matched only by her husband’s perceived generosity: Amunhotep showers his subjects with lofty promises. The love of the commoners will not be enough, however, if the royal couple is not able to conceive an heir, and as Nefertiti turns her attention to producing a son, she fails to see that the powerful priests, along with the military, are plotting against her husband’s rule. The only person wise enough to recognize the shift in political winds—and brave enough to tell the queen—is her younger sister, Mutnodjmet.Observant and contemplative, Mutnodjmet has never shared her sister’s desire for power. She yearns for a quiet existence away from family duty and the intrigues of court. Her greatest hope is to share her life with the general who has won her heart. But as Nefertiti learns of the precariousness of her reign, she declares that her sister must remain at court and marry for political gain, not love. To achieve her independence, Mutnodjmet must defy her sister, the most powerful woman in Egypt—while also remaining loyal to the needs of her family. Love, betrayal, political unrest, plague, and religious conflict—Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life in vivid detail. Fast-paced and historically accurate, it is the dramatic story of two unforgettable women living through a remarkable period in history.
Download Nefertiti: A Novel epub
ISBN: 0307381463
ISBN13: 978-0307381460
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Michelle Moran
Language: English
Publisher: Crown Publishers; 1 edition (July 10, 2007)
Pages: 480 pages
ePUB size: 1893 kb
FB2 size: 1272 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 558
Other Formats: azw mobi rtf doc

I feel like I just read a Wikipedia article on Nefertiti - one of the stubs that they warn you is incomplete. I read the other reviews before buying and thought, "Well, I'm not a literary snob, so I don't mind if it doesn't delve into Ancient Egypt. Plus I love 'The Other Boleyn Girl.' If it's like that book, but Egypt? Sounds great!"

Nope. Not great.

Moran prefers to tell, not show, so nearly all of the book is characters informing the protagonist that something has taken place, or the protagonist making illogical inferences: very little dialogue and/or action happens in real time. None of the characters show any growth; Nefertiti as a 15-year-old fiancee and Nefertiti the 31-year-old Pharaoh talk and react identically. The author takes a very shallow look at events, preferring to spend time on description rather than diving into the action. What action we do see is rushed and confusing.

The author also assumes every reader has a deep knowledge of Ancient Egyptian nobility. I went in with some knowledge about Nefertiti and a little bit about her heir, Tut, but that was all. Then, in the afterward, the author casually tosses in that the protagonist eventually ends up queen, alongside a man (who appears in the book) that she isn't married to in the book. ?!?! What?

All in all, it was never fun or engaging. The characters are flat and dull, there is almost no dialogue, and the action mainly happens off-screen. Not many redeeming qualities in this one.
Anyone who's ever been close to a sibling knows that sometimes these relationships get dysfunctional. Michelle Moran's Nefertiti looks at the Egyptian queen, famous for her loveliness, through the lens of her relationship with her sister Muhmodnjet. As Sister of the King's Chief Wife, Muhmodnjet (who was an actual historical person, if not especially well-documented) is uniquely positioned to be the narrator of the story: Nefertiti may be a queen, but she's still just her big sister, and Muhmodnjet has a front row seat to all the action of courtly life.

While Moran tells the story of an interesting time in Egyptian history (Nefertiti's husband, Amunhotep, moved Egyptian worship away from its principal focus on Amun to Aten, and even constructed a new city in the desert to replace the capitol of Thebes), she forgets to give us interesting characters. Nefertiti, groomed by her parents to ensure their continued prominence at court, is spoiled and almost irredeemingly selfish, while Muhmodnjet is mostly passive and somehow naive despite being raised by one of the highest political officials at court, always gasping at something that really shouldn't be that surprising. The king, who renames himself Akhenaten to reflect his religious convictions, is almost a cartoon villain: he murders his own brother at the top of the book and apparently thinks of nothing but his own glorification. No one is compelling or more than two dimensional.

And while some of it is surely incidental, when I was reading it, I found myself constantly comparing it to the (better) The Other Boleyn Girl, with the personalities of and the dynamic between the sisters echoing Gregory's book. Stories about the relationships between sisters don't have to be as rosy as, say, Jane Austen's work, and certainly plenty of real-life relationships of this kind are poisonous and fraught, but this one feels derivative and doesn't have any special insight or twist to share. I love books about the relationships between people: families, friends, romantic partners because they are often complex and moving. But this one brings nothing to the table and I'd recommend skipping it.
Who was Nefertiti? Who was the royal family of Egypt 3500 years ago? We have all learned bits and pieces through the various excavations of pyramids and tombs over the years, but never have I had such a clear vision of what it was like or what was happening in ancient Egypt, the then leading society in the world. Michelle Moran, through meticulous research and an engaging storytelling, takes you there. Inside the court and the most believable tale of two remarkable sisters in a most remarkable period in history. An excellent read which moves quickly and forcefully. I am a new fan and looking forward to my next Moran novel.
I will be visiting Egypt in March 2018. I chose this rating because this book gave me a more realistic and personal insight of the lives of family and its strength during a time when faith and beliefs guided their every step. There is nothing to dislike about how well the author innovatively developed this story... I only hate that I read "The Heretic Queen" first... ???? I would recommend that all read this one first. I would especially recommend this book to Platinum Luxury Tours, the travel agency that is spearheading this trip,to share with their clientele. This was definitely a historical and Good read of what could have happened! I give it Two Thumbs Up! ????????
I know I am reading a good book when I think about the characters and the story line when I’m doing other things. This story is from the point of view of Nefertiti’s sister, a young woman having that innate wisdom bringing calm to those around her. She becomes an advisor to Nefertiti who later becomes a Pharaoh; a co-regent ruler. There is calamity and intrigue, of course. Nefertiti is a narcissist, jealous of number-one-wife who also carries the burden of ultimate power. I was amused by the notion that she could never produce a son; the Gods have a sense of humor.
There are elements in this book that remind me of programs I have watched with Egyptian historian and archeologist Dr. Zahi Hawas so I felt the authenticity of history mixed with some probabilities of accuracy in the author’s portrayal of Nefertiti and her delusional husband-Pharaoh. This is a good read.