Reviewed in the Lancashire Post (12/08/2007)
By Pam Norfolk
Ancient celebrities don’t come bigger than the breathtakingly beautiful and boundlessly ambitious female Egyptian Pharaoh Nefertiti … but stars that rise so high have a long, long way to fall
An archaeological dig in Israel inspired Californian Michelle Moran to embark on a career as a historical novelist and there could be no more romantic figure from the past than Nefertiti on which to embroider a tale of passion, rivalry and star-studded celebrity. Wife of Akhenaten, mother-in-law of Tutankhamun and the only female Pharaoh of Egypt, she was the most beautiful and adored woman in the ancient kingdom. But she also had a sister, Mutny, who watched from the wings in fear, anger and awe as Nefertiti’s star quality brought about the ruin of a nation. Whilst Nefertiti’s beauty takes her far with Egypt’s rulers and her people alike when she marries the Crown Prince, it has no effect on Mutny who becomes more and more disillusioned with her wilful sister. Mutny is soon the only person in the kingdom whom Nefertiti cannot manipulate to do her will and as a result her world and all her dreams are destroyed. But cracks begin to show in the lives of the celebrity royal couple as their plans to create a legacy for themselves spiral out of control. As the army is used to build a new city in their names, neighbouring nations encroach on Egypt’s borders and nothing can be done. It is not until disease strikes Thebes that Nefertiti is forced to act to save not just her dynasty but the whole nation. Moran’s ambition to write a novel of such massive scope and imagination was never going to be easy but by thinking big and not being fettered by too much known historical fact, she has succeeded in bringing the ancient world to life. Nefertiti is a gem of a novel – the atmosphere positively seethes with intrigue, passion, betrayal and, above all, the searing and oppressive heat of sibling rivalry. Posh and Becks have nothing on the shenanigans of this ancient pair of celebrities!