The Horus Road by Pauline Gedge

(Cover picture courtesy of mcnallyrobinson.com)

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 Oasis, the stunning second volume of Pauline Gedge’s Lords of the Two Lands trilogy, Kamose, the son of Seqenenra, continued his father’s fight for the freedom of Egypt and his family.

In this riveting final volume of the trilogy, Ahmose, the brother of Kamose, vows to continue the struggle that has been so catastrophic for his family.  He knows that the time has come to lay siege to the Setiu capital, but he realizes that military might alone will not be enough to breach the city’s walls.  He will need no less than a miracle from Amun.  And he cannot imagine how devious Apepa will be in his attempt to rob the Tao family of its chance for total victory.

Okay, we all know that Ahmose ends up liberating Egypt from the Hyksos.  The appealing part of The Horus Road is the journey to victory, not so much the victory itself.  Will Ahmose be able to continue on and finish what Seqenenra and Kamose died for?  Of course he will, but nothing will ever be the same again in the Tao family.

Ahmose is a three dimensional character, but after reading The Oasis, which is in Kamose’s perspective, he seems pale in comparison to his brother.  Yet, throughout the novel, Ahmose steps into the large footprints left by his father and brother and eventually outshines both of them.  Ahmose is a great character, but Pauline Gedge has not neglected secondary characters like the resourceful Ahmose-Nefertari or the tragic Ramose.  She only gives us hints at the great woman Ahmose-Nefertari would become, but it is enough to make her steal every scene that she’s in.

Since the end of the war is drawing near, the plot moves along at a fantastic pace that makes you never want to put this book down.  Cities burn, kings run from danger and betrayal happens on both sides…what more could you ask for in the conclusion to this stunning trilogy?  The ending is not a perfectly happy one, but it is satisfying and the characters stay true to themselves.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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