The Twice Born by Pauline Gedge
Fiction, Trade paperback, 554 pgs.
The Twice Born is Pauline Gedge's twelfth novel, eight of which were inspired by Egyptian history. It's another of her richly detailed portrayals of the lives of farmers, slaves, nobility and priestly classes of ancient Egypt. Several of her novels have won awards so it's no surprise that her books have sold over six million copies worldwide and been translated into 18 languages. The Twice Born is the first of a new trilogy about Huy, son of Hapu. Known in history as Amunhotep, he was a real and significant figure in Egypt whose achievements were inscribed and survive to this day. But his personal life and origins remain unknown. Pauline Gedge has imaginatively created this story of his early years and development into a seer. The story begins when Huy, son of Hapu, is barely four years old. We follow him through school with nobles' children and friendship with the governor's son Thothmes, and his sisters. Well-written and full of fascinating details of the daily life and customs about food, drink, clothing, jewelry, oils and perfumes, medicines, games, funeral customs and much more, the story keeps us engrossed. Then a shocking transformation occurs following a fatal accident while he is still a boy that will determine his future fate. Some family and friends fear the changes in him while many of the common people and priests will revere him for his new powers of insight. Huy is a likeable person who longs for the simple life even while he knows he's been chosen to serve Egypt in a much greater capacity than the farmer's son he is. He will experience love and disappointment, struggling in the final years of his youth to accept his own destiny as Seer of Egypt. The readers in this family are waiting intently for the continuation of the story. No one does ancient Egypt like Pauline Gedge. Treat yourself and read it, I recommend it highly. Four and a half stars out of five.
The second book of the trilogy is entitled Seer of Egypt and will be released in November 2008. Watch for my review.
Pauline Gedge's homepage:http://www.paulinegedge.ca/
Thank you to Melissa Robson of Penguin Group for the reviewer's copy.