Saturday, January 5, 2013

Nefertiti by Nick Drake

Basic plot

Rahotep, a young Medjay detective from Thebes is summoned to the new capital Akhetaten. In essence, it was a death sentence for if he failed to complete his assignment, he and his beautiful family would be killed. The Great Changes have plunged the whole of Egypt in turmoil as the old Gods were banished to make way for the Sun God. At the helm of this new religion was the most famous and beautiful woman of the ancient world, Nefertiti, and her husband Akhenaten. However, Nefertiti vanishes just days before the biggest celebration of the new capital is about to take place. Rahotep has only ten days to find her or be sent on a one way trip to the Otherworld.

What I liked about this book

I chose this book because of it's mysterious cover and the fact that I am a closet history buff. Plus I enjoyed "The Mummy" movies, and ancient Egypt was an interesting era. The story itself lended a novel twist to historical fiction by incorporating element of detective thriller into the plot. The main character Rahotep is portrayed as the Medjay pioneer in forensic science, a young upstart developing strange techniques on his quest to solve mysteries. Of course his innovations are not taken seriously by those around him (reminds me of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in that sense). With his back against the wall and the hourglass sand running out Rahotep has no choice but to use all his ingenuity to navigate the sprawling maze of the city, the political intricacies of ancient Egypt's rich and powerful to find a missing Queen. With the threat of a most torturous death looming over his head, he has no choice but to succeed but almost no hope of doing so.

What I disliked about the book

I find little fault with the book except that some parts seemed too well orchestrated, in the sense that, at times it was slightly too obvious which direction the author wished to direct us. Some of the smokescreens and red herrings seemed, to me personally, manufactured or conjured and did not manage to truly throw the course of the investigation while maintaining the illusion that the main character was on track. Instead they felt like momentary diversions from the main plot, and I found myself tempted to simply skip to when he was back on track. I guess, I believe that truly great mysteries should leave you constantly guessing and the reader should never anticipate the twist but simply be propelled against it unknowingly. However, this minor flaw, probably experienced only by me, did not detract from a very good story.

A quote I liked from the book

There are no monsters. Only men.

Rating: 4/5


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