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Sunday, November 18, 2012

I do write fiction that is set in Egypt; and I do read it, as well. I am posting here a review I did of a beautifully done, intriguing book set in the earliest days of dynastic Egypt. It has intrigue, romance, mysticism - and it is engrossing. Do I make it sound like a Penny Dreadful? I promise that it is not. You will simply have to read the book - and then read its sequel, set four thousand years later and cleverly tied in with a notorious art heist of modern times. You will not regret it. And now, my review:

Khamsin The Devil Wind of the Nile by Inge H. Borg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ancient Egypt is thought of, by many, as the dawn of history. This book takes you to a time that is before history, bringing to life names that we only know from fragments, harking to a rhythm and image that is smoothed and darkened by time. And yet the author makes them human.

This is the very earliest period of dynastic Egypt, a time when the border between history and legend is blurred, when the kings and queens of that land seem to be gods that stepped down from the bowl of the sky and trod the land...

The author states:
At the dawn of the great Egyptian dynasties, before any Pyramids were built and the camel was introduced to the Nile regions, certainly long before the royal title of Pharaoh came into use, Aha rules as the second King of the First Dynasty... H i8s triumph and tragedy plays out centuries before the Greek colonization of the Two Lands... To this day our vague answers are drawn only from relics and mummies of much later dynasties, their cities wrenched from the hot red dust driven into the verdant river valley for fifty days by the Khamsin, the dreaded Devil Wind of the Nile. In Khamsin, the reader is immersed in the life of the fertile Valley of the Nile, as flesh and muscle have been molded back onto those brittle bones...

She molds them well. We meet characters that catch the exotic cadences of the faraway times as we follow the fate of a life conceived in the beginning pages. We watch first one character and then another - the general of the Fourth Army of Amun, who is tender to his faraway wife, lusty with a woman of the desert, and crafty. (And I must remember never to go back to that time and agree to carry an important message...)

And we meet Ramose...

This is a story to savor, written lusciously, with care and enjoyment. I grew to love Ramose, to enjoy his dry wit and his wide-eyed mysticism. The writing is lyrical at times, so rare in a time of utilitarianism, and the Khamsin is in the background, lending its tone to the story.

I enjoyed this - and I rejoice to tell you that Ms. Borg has written another, arising from this but far, far in the future from this story. I think you will enjoy it, too.

1 comment:

  1. Diana,
    I check out your Blog regularly--as I did so just now. To my surprise, I stumbled upon a familiar scene...one that YOU designed--and I wrote...what fun.

    I just managed to upload the entire KHAMSIN to Createspace the sixth time--and, finally, there were no issues with margins, etc. So, soon, there will be a paperback copy available, as is already with SIROCCO.

    Now, the LEGENDS OF THE WINGED SCARAB (that title arose from your design) must live on--so far only in my head...but I am thinking...

    Though I must sit down and read your own wonderful tales of the bygone era of Ramesses.

    Inge H. Borg