(Cover picture courtesy of Amazon.)
Using subtle means of political power and economic control, a foreign power known as the “Rulers of the Upland” has taken over Egypt to plunder its riches and eradicate its religion and culture. In The Hippopotamus Marsh, the stunning first volume of Pauline Gedge’s Lords of the Two Lands trilogy, the family of the last true King of Egypt chose to end 200 years of submission to King Apepa, and attempted to resurrect a dynasty. Seqenenra Tao began a courageous and tragic revolt that almost led to the destruction of his family.
In this thrilling second volume, Seqenenra’s surviving son Kamose refuses an inheritance of failure, and chooses instead to continue his father’s fight for the freedom of Egypt and his family. He begins his desperate sweep north, collecting fighting men from the loyal towns and villages he passes. Will his savage brilliance bring him victory of defeat? And will his acts redeem him or drive him to the brink of madness?
With his father (Seqenenra) and his twin (Si-Amun) dead, you would think Kamose would be ready to give up. But instead of standing by and watching his family torn apart by the Hyksos king, Apepa, he decides to fight. After all, he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Kamose’s decision to fight irrevocably changes both himself and the fate of Egypt.
Faster paced than her later work and filled with memorable characters, The Oasis is my favourite book in the Lords of the Two Lands trilogy. Of course I am biased because I love reading about ancient warfare, but Pauline Gedge has still penned a wonderful novel. Told mostly from the point of view of Kamose, she gives us greater insight into the man behind the ruthless reputation. His motivations are very believable and his internal struggles with the war are heart-wrenching, which makes him a very three dimensional character.
“This trilogy is dedicated to Prince Kamose, one of the most obscure and misunderstood characters in Egyptian history. I hope that in some small way I have contributed to his rehabilitation.”
I truly believe that Pauline Gedge has contributed a lot to the rehabilitation of the infamous Kamose Tao, in much the same way Marcus Crassus was rehabilitated in my eyes by Andrew Levkoff. Her trilogy certainly changed my perception of the great leader and I hope it changes yours as well.
I give this book 5/5 stars.