Saturday, October 24, 2009

REVIEW: The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran


In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past and remake history. The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family–with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen. Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

About the Author

From her own blog:

Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She took an interest in writing from an early age, purchasing Writer's Market and submitting her stories and novellas to publishers from the time she was twelve. When she was accepted into Pomona College she took as many classes as possible in British Literature, particularly Milton, Chaucer, and the Bard. Not surprisingly, she majored in English while she was there. Following a summer in Israel where she worked as a volunteer archaeologist, she earned an MA from the Claremont Graduate University.

Michelle has traveled around the world, from Zimbabwe to India, and her experiences at archaeological sites were what inspired her to write historical fiction. In 2006, Michelle was married at the Chateau d'Esclimont in France, a 16th century location which spoke to both her and her husband's love of history. Every year, both Michelle and her husband embark on an historically-themed trip for two to three months. In 2008, they retraced the journey of Homer's Odysseus, and most recently they followed the path of the American Revolution from Boston to France to Virginia.

A public high school teacher for six years, Michelle Moran is currently a full-time writer living in California with her husband. She is the author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter. Her fourth novel, Madame Tussaud, will debut in March 2011.

My Thoughts

I loved this book from the start. The writing style is right up my alley, appropriately descriptive without being excessive, with lots of dialogue. This was my first novel from the Egyptian culture and the days of the great rulers. I wondered what I would think of such a storyline. I found I loved it!

This is the story of Princess Nefertari, most of the storyline taking place before she became queen. The author took a lot of liberties with the storyline, since there are so many gaps in Egyptian history. In this story, Nefertari is the niece of the deceased Queen Nefertiti, who was viewed, along with her husband, the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, as a heretic for turning against the Egyptian gods and worshiping only the sun god Aten.

So when Princess Nefertari becomes the wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II, the people and court are not happy with a relative of Nefertiti on the throne, as Nefertari is cursed to carry her family's reputation as a "heretic". However with the support of Ramesses' aunt Woserit, a high priestess, and driven by a fiery and determined nature that takes her into battle with her husband, Nefertari goes on to become the queen of Egypt, and known by the people as the Warrior Queen instead of the Heretic Queen.

This was a very enjoyable read, full of adventure and excitement and intrigue. I would highly recommend it, and now I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to read Cleopatra's Daughter! Thanks so much to Michelle Moran for offering me this book for review.

Product Details
  • Pub. Date: September 2009
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Format: Paperback, 416pp
  • ISBN-13: 9780307381767

My Rating: 8.5 out of 10


Michelle said...

Way to go! I just picked up Moran's latest and can't wait to start. It sounds like this is one I need to pick up too. I can't wait to see what else you read!

Jo-Jo said...

I'm hoping to read this one in the next couple of months, but I will be reading Cleopatra's Daughter in the next week or so. Thanks for the review.

Katy said...

I've been trying to decide if I want to read this one or not. Your review makes me lean towards read it. :)