March 20, 2012

Book: Scroll of Saqqara by Pauline Gedge

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:11 am

Just when you think you have figured Pauline Gedge out, in terms of what her books look like, she springs a little surprise!

I think that this is a very different novel from Pauline. Yes, this is set again in Ancient Egypt but there the similarity ends. It is an explosive novel involving supernatural phonomena. (Current Hollywood storywriters would love this!).

The story is one of Khaemwaset, who is a prince (but not in the ruling royal line) who is also a very adept doctor (man of medicine), magician and also an archeologist, interested in opening up tombs to document the details of those buried there (and restoration, if these are vandalized). He is helped here by his son Hori and he is also secretly looking for the legendary Scroll of Thoth, which bestows immunity from death itself, and also enormous powers to the bearer. He leads a happy life, accompanied by his wife Nebnofert, daughter whats-her-name who is as homely as she is shy and attended by the likes of his loyal scribe Penbuy.

When he goes to Memphis to visit the pharoah, during the dinner and the revelry that follows, he is accosted by an old man who looks vaguely familiar. The old man thrusts a scroll in his hands and implores him to destroy it immediately. Khamwaeset decides to keep it, only to find that it disappears anyway. From then on, his life turns upside down, and he gets dragged in an escalating swirl of events over which he and his family have no control and which threaten to sunder
his family apart completely.

You think you know where the story is going and most of the twists you can guess. In spite of it, the story is good enough and compelling enough to be a good read. There is magic, murder, lust, betrayals, mystery, sleuthing to satisfy a wide variety of readers.

However, the twist at the end a la Roald Dahl is phenominal and took me completely by surprise. It most likely will take you by surprise too, and has a huge impact on the story.

A wonderful raad and deserves a 8/10

— Krishna


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