Post #45: Sphinx’s Queen

Sphinxsqueen
Sphinx’s Queen by Esther Friesner

Post number forty-five is for Esther Friesner’s Sphinx’s Queen, which is the sequel to Sphinx’s Princess, a made-up semi-factual story about Nefertiti. Sphinx’s Queen picks up directly after Sphinx’s Princess.

Spoilers follow.

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Nefertit, Amenophis and Nava have set out for Dendera, to hopefully clear Nefertit’s name. (She had been charged with blasphemy by Thutmose at the end of the first book and imprisoned in a small cabin on the palace grounds. Thanks to Situmun and Nava, she managed to escape.) They had to go through lots of excitement, including a face-to-face encounter between Nefertiti and Thutmose, who has set out to find her. They do eventually reach Dendera, but Thutmose has beat them there, and manages to convince his father that he is being truthful – in some regard, because it is blatantly obvious that Ta-Miu, the cat Nefertiti was accused of killing, is alive – so it is decided that Nefertiti will go to the temple of Ma’at, where her heart will be “weighed” for truthfulness. It turns out that Thutmose has bribed the priest to deliver a “guilty” verdict, but through some quick thinking of Amenophis Nefertiti is pardoned, Thutmose is revealed to be a crazy lunatic (heh), and all is well, except for the fact that Tiye, Nefertiti’s aunt and the mother of Thutmose and Amenophis, wants to use Nefertiti to get Thutmose back into his father’s favor so he’ll still receive the throne when his father dies. Nefertiti and Amenophis have also fallen in love, and she is very much against that, making it nearly impossible for them to see each other.

Nefertiti accidentally stumbles upon Thutmose’s rooms, and goes inside. She challenges Thutmose to a foot race. If she wins, Thutmose will make amends with Amenophis and throw a banquet in his honor. If Thutmose wins, Nefertiti will marry him. Thanks to some interference from Ta-Miu, Nefertiti comes away with the victory and Thutmose comes away with a broken ankle. :-P Nonetheless, Nefertiti and Thutmose become friends, and Thutmose tries his best to get her and Amenophis married. However, Thutmose dies, making Amenophis the one in line for the crown, he and Nefertiti are married, and become rules of Egypt, just like it really did happen in reality.

I was super excited when this book was released, and started to read it straight away. However, then I got into some super reading-heavy weeks for my classes, so had to set it aside. I have renewed it all that I am allowed (we get three renewals) so I knew I was going to have to get it read, or have to re-check it out. The problem was, as much as I wanted to read the book, when I got some free time that didn’t have to be taken up with reading, I didn’t want to read it. :)) I finally decided last Friday to finish as much of it as I could at work (it was a really slow afternoon), and finally got it finished late Friday evening/early Saturday morning. It was a good book, a nice continuation and finalization of the story, even though no doubt nearly all of it is made up. I certainly hope, at least, that the real Nefertiti’s life wasn’t fraught with some much danger! I wonder if there will be any other “Princesses of Myth” books; she has written now about Helen of Troy and Nefertiti. It would be interesting to see who else – if anyone – she chooses to write about next.

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