Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Nefertiti was very young; however she always knew that she wanted to be Pharoah of Egypt.

She had a way of making people do what she wanted. She expected them to want to do her bidding and to love her. Her sister, Mutny, always took care of her and Nefertiti needed her desperately.

Mutny was talented in identifying herbs and learning about their benefits. She was only 13 when she and Nefertiti and their parents moved from their little village to the capital and the Pharaoh’s palace.

At the beginning of the story, Mutny and her father attend the funeral of the son of the Pharoah,Tuthmosis. He had died due to a fall from his chariot. He was in line to rule Upper Egypt and eventually all of Egypt when Pharoah died. Since he passed away, his brother, Amunhotep, was to be made ruler of Upper Egypt. He needed a Chief Wife to help him rule. His mother, Queen Tiye, was also Nefertiti’s aunt. She chose Nefertiti to be Amunhotep’s Chief Wife. Nefertiti’s whole family then moved to Thebes to live in the palace until she and Amunhotep were married. Nefertiti’s father was a vizier, an advisor, to the Pharoah.

Nefertiti guided Amunhotep cleverly. She and her father made many decisions that affected the welfare of Egypt. She did things that had never been done before – for example, she convinced Amunhotep that she should sleep in his bed. Normally, the Pharoah slept alone. She wanted to make herself irreplaceable in Amunhotep’s eyes because he had another wife, Kiya, who also lived in the palace. There was a bitter rivalry between the two women. Kiya gave Amunhotep a son which really irritated Nefertiti. Try as she might, she never could give him a son, although Amunhotep loved his daughters dearly.

Amunhotep had an obsession with the Sun God, Aten. He even changed his name to Akenhaten and elevated himself and Nefertiti to the level of gods. He constructed a city called Amarna which had their images placed everywhere. The people loved Nefertiti, but feared Akenhaten. He would not send soldiers to guard their borders using the soldiers to build his city and all the buildings he wanted. He seemed very selfish and immature to me. Amunhotep hired an artist, Thutmose, to follow he and Nefertiti around and make sculptures of what they were doing. He wanted the images of himself and his family to be remembered by Egyptians. In the past, portraits of the Pharoahs had been very similar, but Amunhotep wanted his images to actually look like him.

Many things happened during their rule which were a sign of their opulence and a desperate attempt to have their own way in everything. All Mutny wanted was to live a quiet life with her husband, their family, and her gardens. It was very hard for her to separate herself from Nefertiti in order to have that life.

I enjoyed this book very much. It didn’t drag at all. There was always something else happening, many things that were unimaginable. Mutny and her husband, Nahktmin, as well as her friend, Ipu, were my favorite characters. I’m sure many others have liked them best as well because they were gentle and peaceful. Nefertiti was strong, but very spoiled. She may have known what she was doing – even though she was only 17or 18 – but we will never know what she went through behind closed doors. Amunhotep was truly insane. Even more so at the end of his life. I believe Nefertiti kept him from doing more irrational things than he did and he did some really irrational things – very selfish things. Nefertiti loved the people of Egypt and wanted them to be able to live in peace. That was very difficult for her to achieve.

The historical details included in this book were very interesting yet they didn’t overshadow the story. I learned many things about Egypt and Nefertiti. It opened up a new avenue of interest for me. I recommend it.

I'm using this book for these challenges: The Four-Month Challenge 2; Monthly Mixer Mele; Women Unbound; Year of the Historical; A~Z Challenge - Titles; New Author Challenge; the Twenty-Ten Challenge - TBR category; The Alphabet in Historical Fiction (when we get to "N"); and, of course, the Buck-a-Book Challenge!


  1. This is one of my favorite novels...I also love and highly recommend her second book set in Egypt The Heretic Queen.

    They are both excellent books and once I started reading I could not put it down. I love how much detail there is (but its not wordy)...I felt as if I was really there!

  2. Way to get a book work for lots of challenges. I've heard a lot of good things about this one.