(Cover picture courtesy of Sharon Bayliss.)
Tut has grown into his position as Pharaoh, but he is a wild young man. Naomi fears for him, not only because of his recklessness, but because he has put his trust in Ay–the man determined to destroy Naomi—despite her and Horemheb advising against it.
Meanwhile, death and slavery hang over Naomi and her family. With fear of the booming Hebrew numbers causing talk of enslaving them, conscription is reinstated and Naomi fears
for the lives of her other children. Especially since Ay’s children are now adults, and just as dangerous as their father. They threaten to take Itani, conspire against Tut, and pushing for power.
But Tut is in trouble. While Ay’s daughter draws Horemheb’s attention, and Naomi deals with the struggles of her family, everyone’s distraction could spell death for the young Pharaoh.
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
First off this is historical fiction, but it isn’t exactly historically accurate. Yes, the broad strokes are there (Kiya being Akhenaten’s wife, Horemheb ascending the throne, etc) but the things like the Hebrew enslavement have no basis in archaeological fact. There’s some dispute about things like Horemheb’s reign length but I’m willing to overlook things like that because it is still an controversy among Egyptologists. Normally historical inaccuracies would bother me, but this is far from the case in the Kiya trilogy.
The fact is, Kiya: Rise of a New Dynasty is a great story. It’s got everything from tragic unrequited love to political intrigue. Naomi is now in her thirties and Tutankhamun is now a wild young man instead of a shy, frightened boy. I like how Katie Hamstead emphasized Tut’s reputation for being a bit of a wild Pharaoh who loved riding chariots far too fast and hunting. It’s an important part of his characterization but there’s also that sensitive side of him we see with his mother. He’s not a perfect child (sometimes he’s actually rather horrible) but he is essentially a good, if flawed, human being.
I like how Naomi has changed. She’s very much in love with her husband Malachi but Horemheb is still an important part of her life. Katie Hamstead couldn’t have solved the love triangle better than she did at the end of this novel, to be honest. I don’t want to spoil anything but it’s a very satisfying, almost happy ending to what is a pretty sad novel. Naomi must navigate everything from trying to advise her teenage son to influencing the politics of his royal court and it’s interesting to see how she handles things. She’s far from perfect but she’s one of my absolute favourite characters. Of course I still have a special place in my heart for Horemheb because although I’m not much of a romantic, I have a weakness for the tragic unrequited love trope.
Of all the novels in the trilogy I’d have to say that Rise of a New Dynasty is probably the most fast-paced. It covers quite a large span of years and a fascinating time period in history. Some of the dramas are made up but it does make for a good story and this trilogy was never presented as being very meticulously researched and true to the facts.
If you’ve read the previous two books in the trilogy, you’re going to love the conclusion. It’s fast-paced, interesting and the characters are very well fleshed-out. Basically, this was the perfect end to a great trilogy.
I give this book 5/5 stars.