The Egyptology edition. I have no idea if this trend continues into the younger generations, but when I was growing up, most kids went through two distinct fascination phases: dinosaurs and Egypt.
I certainly did.
One of the few possessions I have remaining to reflect my Egypt phase is the Ramses series by Christian Jacq. Originally published in French in the mid 1990s, a few years later the books were translated into English and began appearing at my local bookstore, where I eagerly snatched each one off the shelf.
- Ramses: The Son of Light
- Ramses: The Eternal Temple
- Ramses: The Battle of Kadesh
- Ramses: The Lady of Abu Simbel
- Ramses: Under the Western Acacia
What It Is: A fictionalized tale of Ramses II beginning in late childhood and continuing through his sixty-year reign as Pharaoh of Egypt; so it’s got family, politics, romance, action…the works, really.
What It Does Well: History. While I am by no means an expert on ancient Egypt, Jacq clearly did his research on what life was like there, and I never found an inaccuracy (that I was aware of, obviously.) I’ve always loved the simple details that make a setting come alive, and there’s lots of that here.
Where It Might Lose You: The writing style (in the English translation) is terse and sometimes dry–for example, there are almost no dialogue tags, which makes extended conversations read as talking heads. The simplicity of it means it’s a fast read, but not a particularly lovely one; you’d read this for the plot, not the language. Also, many scenes are extremely short, which can lead to a jumpy, choppy feeling.
Who Will Probably Like It: Fans of any other Egypt-related fiction (I’m looking at you, Wilbur Smith readers), anyone who ever had an Egypt phase and wants to revisit it, history buffs in general.
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- Books You Might Not Have Tried #1: Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn (high fantasy)