Sphinx's Princess. Esther Friesner. 2009. Random House. 384 pages.
From the time of my first memories, my dreams were filled with lions--fierce, impossibly huge monsters with fiery manes and eyes black and cold as a starless night.
Nefertiti. Sphinx's Princess is a fictional account of Nefertiti's early years. Set in Ancient Egypt, the novel is rich in detail--history, mythology, culture. Readers learn what life as a royal might have been like through the eyes of a young woman betrothed to Pharaoh's son. A young woman royal in her right--the niece of the Queen. Her father has warned her for years of the dangers of becoming too close to the Queen, of being a part of court life. Nefertiti is learning about these risks herself--for better or worse. Her story continues in Sphinx's Queen which releases in September 2010.
Friesner's Nefertiti is an intelligent, beautiful, compassionate young woman. She can read and write. She can sing and dance. Her life is saved by a slave--a Hebrew slave--and this changes her. She's now tender-hearted and devoted to the life of one slave girl in particular. (I'm not sure I *believed* that anyone would take such risks for another person, slave or not.) Friesner's Nefertiti is not concerned about politics, about power. She just wants a simple, private life.
Friesner's Nefertiti is VERY different from Michelle Moran's Nefertiti. Both books are, of course, historical fiction. So neither Nefertiti is the "real" Nefertiti.
I enjoyed Sphinx's Princess. I look forward to reading Sphinx's Queen soon.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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