Praise to Thoth …
the Vizier who gives judgment,
who vanquishes crime,
who recalls all that is forgotten,
the remembrancer of time and eternity …
whose words abide forever.
Author: Pauline Gedge
Release Date: 1990
Genres: Historical Fiction, Ghost Stories
Prince Khaemwaset is a powerful man. The son of Ramses II and a revered physician, his wisdom is respected throughout Egypt. But Khaemwaset harbours a strong and secret desire—to find the mysterious Scroll of Thoth and receive the power to raise the dead. When Khaemwaset hears of the discovery of a hidden tomb on the plain of Saqqara, he is quick to break its seal and take its secrets—secrets that he soon learns he should never have disturbed.
The cool air was a welcome shock.
Khaemwaset stepped gingerly into the tomb, aware as always that his was the first foot to be placed in the grey sand of the floor since the mourners, themselves long dead, had backed up the stairs before the sweepers and turned in relief to the blazing sun and a hot desert wind many centuries before.
To some people, nothing is more fascinating than times long past.
I am one of those people. To me History is more entertaining than educational.
I take immense pleasure from sticking my nose into History books and seeing that I am passionate about everything concerning Ancient Times and Ancient Egypt in particular, I couldn’t help but dive head-first into Scroll of Saqqara.
Folklore mingles with history in this fast-paced novel that seems to chronicle the life of Khaemswaset, a minor son of Ramses the Great, but instead reveals itself to be a chilling and goosebumps-ensuring, sometimes angsty, Egyptian Ghost Story.
Scroll of Saqqara is tale of obsession and lust, horror and sacrilege, magic and dark secrets, so compelling that I tore through its pages with enthusiasm and almost business-like engagement in the agonizing, yet thrilling attempt to reach its climax.
This is one of those books that left me truly and deeply satisfied both in the story it carries and the beautiful manner it has been told.
Nothing is left to the case, every word Gedge writes has a purpose, because nobody writes Ancient Egyptian themed fiction like Pauline Gedge.
This story of Prince Khaemwaset tribulations won’t cease to surprise you till the very last
sentence, when every piece in the puzzle falls into place.
I especially enjoyed the Epilogue since, similarly to the fairytales by the ancient Greek thinker Fedro, it imparts an important lesson and thus gives the novel a whole new weight.
Because life is all about lessons imparted and learned.
Scroll of Saqqara is a page-turner that will draw you in as the terror unfolds.
– Thoth is the Ibis-headed Egyptian god of wisdom and learning;
– the Scroll of Thoth is a plot device in the 1932 movie The Mummy, starring Boris Karloff (here the link to the trailer);
– Scroll of Saqqara is inspired by a work of Ptolemaic literature Setne I or Setne Khamwas and Naneferkaptah (here on Google Books);
– in The Serpent’s Shadow (Kane Chronicles, #3) by Rick Riordan, Khaemwaset appears as a ghost under the name of Setne;
OTHER EGYPTIAN-SET FICTION:
AKHENATEN: DWELLER IN TRUTH by Naguib Mahfouz
Mahfouz tells with extraordinary insight the story of the “heretic pharaoh,” or “sun king,”–and the first known monotheistic ruler–whose iconoclastic and controversial reign during the 18th Dynasty (1540-1307 B.C.) has uncanny resonance with modern sensibilities. Narrating the novel is a young man with a passion for the truth, who questions the pharaoh’s contemporaries after his horrible death–including Akhenaten’s closest friends, his most bitter enemies, and finally his enigmatic wife, Nefertiti–in an effort to discover what really happened in those strange, dark days at Akhenaten’s court. As our narrator and each of the subjects he interviews contribute their version of Akhenaten, “the truth” becomes increasingly evanescent. Akhenaten encompasses all of the contradictions his subjects see in him: at once cruel and empathic, feminine and barbaric, mad and divinely inspired, his character, as Mahfouz imagines him, is eerily modern, and fascinatingly ethereal. An ambitious and exceptionally lucid and accessible book, Akhenaten is a work only Mahfouz could render so elegantly, so irresistibly.
CHILD OF THE MORNING by Pauline Gedge
She ruled Egypt not as Queen but as Pharaoh, thirty five centuries ago. Yet her name–Hatshepsut–does not appear in dynastic scrolls, nor is her reign celebrated on monuments. This is the story of the young woman who assumed the throne of Egypt, mastered the arts of war and government, lived her life by her own design, and ruled an empire–the only woman Pharaoh in history.