March 6, 2012

Book: Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 2:57 pm

It is with surprise that I realized this novel was the first novel by the author. Most of the books written by her are set in Ancient Egypt and this one is a very good book to read, as it brings to sharp focus the life of the pharoahs in Ancient Egypt.

Pauline Gedge is an author, who was born in New Zealand and emigrated to UK, and finally settled down in Canada.

This is the story of Hatshepsut, the woman who dared to be pharoah in a land where pharaohs were required to be males. The story is also about Senmut, the priest who wanted to be an architect, about Thothmes, the pharaoh and father of Hatshepsut, and Thothmes (again) her stepson who grows up to be a threat to her, only because she lets him.

Other characters who populate the story include the scheming mother of Thothmes, Aset, and the daughters and sisters of Hatshepsut herself. The story is told in a racy style, initially reminiscent of Wilbur Smith, but you soon realize that it is a very different novel.

Here Pauline immerses herself into the ambiance of ancient Egypt. There is tension and intrigue, not to mention treachery, but the storytelling aims to immerse you in the environment, almost as if you have a ringside seat of the events as they unfold, a rather different feel from the thriller format of Wilbur Smith (as an example of Wilbur Smith’s efforts on Ancient Egypt, see the review River God )

When you finish the book , you get a sense of having watched a life fully lived.
Pauline successfully transports the reader into the lives and times of the past, but if you expect depth of narrative like Maugham or Naipaul, you will be disappointed. It is still a fairly lightweight approach to story, but a well told one.

It deserves easily a 8/10

— Krishna


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