Semerket, a so-called Clerk of Investigations and Secrets, is a detective half-paralyzed by problems of his own, with a reputation for heavy drinking and tactless behavior. However, he is retained by the authorities to investigate what is considered an insignificant murder of an elderly, insignificant Theban priestess. They fail to inform him, however, that they don't expect him to solve the case. In fact, they don't want him to. But Semerket is deeply (and dangerously) addicted to the truth.
The author has a talent in bringing to life the ancient landscape and city life. Its not written as a generic washout of the culture, climate, and beliefs. Instead, these three items are richly detailed. The House of Purification visit was particularly vividly depicted by sights, sounds, and smells as well as the roles of the individuals working there. I enjoyed the strong ancient cultural feel to the story. The characters are also well fleshed out. Geagley pens out emotions well so the reader can also feel them along with his characters.
Mid-way through the story, the investigation seemed to stall with little new evidence to entice the reader. But the story again picked up and ended in dramatic fashion. Well-written plotline overall with interesting characters. The main character, Semerket, is deeply flawed and must overcome himself for the good of his country. Its an engaging struggle. I did feel a little cheated by the author as he didn't flesh out the actual rescuing of the Pharaoh. The story built up to that moment, and then it was told in narration after the fact. The ending was well thought out, though, and ended the book so that I was left wanting to read the next storyline with these characters! Overall, it was an exciting and fascinating glimpse into the midset and lifestyle of the Ancient Egyptians, even if it is mostly fiction! I loved visiting all the sites of the ancient city!
So, amazing side story. I posted this review on Goodreads.com, and the author, Mr. Geagley actually commented back. I think he has some good words for aspiring authors out there, and I was honored that he took the time to respond so graciously.
“Yes, I struggled with putting Semerket into the middle of the action when the Pharaoh is assassinated – I went around and around with Michael Korda, my editor, over this. But in the end we both decided that it was more important for Semerket to be in the Valley of the Kings where the tombs are being robbed at that precise moment. (His ex-wife’s villainous husband is there, as well.) These are the kinds of decisions one is always making when writing, and you’re quite right to point it out!”
Just released December 2016: "The Forgotten" volume 2 "Heir of the Heretic"
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse