Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt’s good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment which awakens in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to be become the bride of Sebak, a kind but quick-tempered Captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives—women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile.
When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt’s gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.
As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan—for them all?
In I Chronicles 4:17-18 is a small but fascinating revelation. A Son of Judah – a Hebrew – married “the daughter of Pharaoh.” This man must’ve been of some significance for a daughter of Egypt’s ruler to bear his children. Who was he? Who was the Egyptian woman? Mesu Andrews’s newest novel covers one suggestion and links it to the story of Moses in the bulrushes and the turbulence of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty.
The Daughter of Pharaoh is an intricate tale of lies and deceit set in the Nile’s delta. It portrays life for both Egyptian royalty and their Hebrew slaves. The Pharaoh was treated as a god, with his advisors jostling for control. Alliances could be made and broken, and traitors were treated harshly. Even family members could be accused of treason and killed. Don’t expect this to be a light read. There is brutality, and there is one especially brutal scene where key characters are killed in a public setting. I read a couple of paragraphs at a time, and then did something completely different for a short time before continuing. It’s essential to remember that these things did happen, and Andrews shows the reader how other characters are changed by witnessing these executions. Descriptions of the brutal treatment of the slaves aren’t as detailed, but we learn about their emotions and how they rely on El-Shaddai to get them through the worst of times.
This first book in the Treasures of the Nile series was a fascinating read. I was drawn into Anippe’s life and felt sympathy for her. Despite her royal birth, she was a pawn to be used by the men in a life that could be forfeit at any time. Even her name changed depending on who held control over her. Was there anyone who could love her unconditionally? I suggest you read it to find out.
Thank you to Waterbrook Press and Blogging for Books for my complimentary copy of The Pharaoh’s Daughter, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read The Pharaoh’s Daughter? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Waterbrook Press (a division of Random House)
Publication Date: 17 March 2015
Page Count: 384