Scroll of Saqqara by Pauline Gedge

(Cover picture courtesy of Pauline Gedge’s website.)

Prince Khaemwaset is a powerful man.  The son of Ramses II and a revered physician, he is respected for his wisdom 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.

Richly detailed with the exotic realities of Ancient Egypt, Scroll of Saqqara is a compelling tale of power, lust, and obsession.

Scroll of Saqqara is one of the few novels that has truly managed to surprise me.  I thought it was going to be another slow-paced novel that chronicles the life of a famous ancient Egyptian, but I was very, very wrong.  Scroll of Saqqara is a relatively fast-paced novel that chronicles the life of a virtually unknown (and fairly unimportant) son of Ramses the Great.

It starts out with Khaemwaset inspecting a tomb that he has ordered opened.  The strange thing is that he himself has been digging in the sacred hills of Saqqara—a resting place for the dead that was already ancient in his time—looking for the Scroll of Thoth.  It is Khaemwaset’s obsession with finding this legendary scroll that will bring a curse on him and his family.

Scroll of Saqqara is an historical fiction novel, but it could also be categorized as a horror novel because of the tense undercurrent running throughout it (especially in the last 200 pages).  Pauline Gedge brings all of her characters to life, especially Ramses, who makes a brief, but memorable appearance.  Each character is very well developed and readers will understand them, if not completely sympathize with them.  Because of its sexual content, I would recommend Scroll of Saqqara for older teens and adults.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

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