In this sequel to River God, the ancient wizard Taita finds he is called by his deceased queen, since elevated to goddess, Lostris, to use his prodigious magical powers for the protection of Pharaoh-to-be Nepher-Seti, ensuring the continuance of Lostris's dynasty in Egypt. It takes all the magus's skills to give Nepher-Seti any chance at all of survival since two pretenders to the throne of Egypt look to kill him to validate their claims to the Upper and Lower Kingdoms. There is more sex, graphic violence, and gore in this than can be easily imagined, but it's placed in a setting that allows credibility. Life is cheap, power and wealth are everything, immortality is available to all who have the strength and position to proclaim and defend their divinity from other would-be gods. The narrative, brilliantly read by Dick Hill, is a wonderful blend of history and speculation tinged with enough magic and sadism to carry it off magnificently. Smith is at the top of his game in weaving exotic adventures in this work. Very highly recommended, but for adults only. Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Lengthy but seamlessly composed, this epic historical drama by veteran author Smith (The Eye of the Tiger, etc.) tracks a power struggle in ancient Egypt between false pharaohs and a true royal heir, evoking the cruel glories and terrible torments of the era. The kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt have been at war for 60 years. Upper Egypt is ruled by Tamose, Lower Egypt by Apepi, king of the Hyksos. Treachery and assassination eliminate both rulers, allowing two false pharaohs to unite in an orgy of tyranny and oppression. Tamose's son, Prince Nefer, is his father's rightful heir, but the false pharaoh, Lord Naja, denies Nefer's birthright and plots to kill the young prince. Aided by the royal sorcerer, a warlock named Taita, Nefer escapes Naja's plots. Nefer and Taita outwit assassins, evil magicians, pursuing armies and even the treachery of Nefer's own sister, as they raise their own army in the lost desert city of Gallala. Taita's magic spells and occult powers protect, teach and guide Nefer on his tortuous path to regain the throne and save the woman he loves, Princess Mintaka, daughter of slain King Apepi. However, as Nefer's strength grows, so does that of his enemies, and it will take all of Nefer's courage and Taita's mystical powers to prevail when the chariot armies of evil sweep across the desert wasteland to the gates of Gallala. This is a very bloody and violent yarn, set in an age when merciless combat, torture, rape and sacrifice were common. Though timorous readers may wish to steer clear, those willing to brave the blood and gore will be carried away by the sweep and pace of Smith's tale. National advertising. (May 22) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.