I have a huge interest in Egyptology so I was intrigued by this book! Many of the Egyptological stories I have read in the past, (e.g, Bram Stoker's, The Jewel of Seven Stars) have been 'okay', but never really gripped me from the first page and took ages to get into. Newland's novel, however, immediately grabbed my attention, so much so I read a huge chunk of it in one sitting (and very nearly missed my train stop!).
I was transformed into a world that seemed so familiar, but how? It is told as if it has been written centuries ago, (but without the nightmarish Shakespearean language!) and has a nostalgic fable element to the narrative. I was surprised how a work of essentially ‘alternative history' fiction could also seem so dystopian and alien to me. I thought addressing it as ‘speculative fiction' would be best (think Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Atwood) as there are so many uncanny features similar to our own world, yet we are looking through them from a completely different perspective.
I thought the characters were very well thought out and not only emphasise the power of survival, but also bring high moral values to the plot, which for me, was what notched this novel up to 5/5 stars. I couldn't comprehend what was going to happen next- this book is so unpredictable I had to race to get to the end as I couldn't wait any longer!
The descriptive narration throughout the novel created graphic and vivid images so full of imagination and whimsy, I could not help but soak in the ambiance of the story. Even the oppositional elements – destruction vs creation, I thought the balance (good/evil etc) was excellently portrayed to a point where I was hoping this would end up being a series of books!
Newland's novel is creative, sophisticated, and down right brilliant! I couldn't ask more of a Egyptian-esque book!
BOOKSBEYONDTHESTORY, August 22, 2018