This is the second book of the adventures of Lord Meren and his adopted son Kysen set in the reign of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Unas, a humble priest of Amun is late one evening and he overhears two men plotting terrible things in the temple. Frightened, he tries to hide in a storage room but manages to find bowls which frighten him even more. In his fear, he breaks one of the bowls and takes the shards with him. In his house he burns the shards much to his wife’s consternation. He tries to talk with Lord Meren who is the Eyes and Ears of Pharaoh but his courage fails and he flees. Then he is pushed down from the high, new statue of Pharaoh.

Unas’ supervisor priest wants to just keep the matter quiet but the head carpenter takes the matter forward and it reaches Lord Meren. Because Pharaoh’s new statue is also a political statement against the growing power of the priests, Meren sends his son to investigate.

Kysen finds out that the priest had been behaving a bit oddly a few days before his death but can’t find any evidence that it’s a murder. But when a scribe is killed by no fewer than five cobras which have been left in his satchel, Kysen and Meren have to investigate. This angers the high priests of Amun who have just started to recover from the reign of the infamous Pharaoh Akhenaten who had displaced all of Egypt’s traditional gods in favor of the sun god Aten. Meren must proceed with caution so that he wouldn’t tip the precarious balance of power between the 14-year old Pharaoh and the priests. The matter isn’t made easier by Meren’s cousin Ebana who blames Meren for the death of his family at the hands of Akhenaten. Ebana is one of the high priests of Amun.

Meanwhile a group of Tutankhamun’s oldest friends returns to the palace from a diplomatic mission. They seem to be content and happy men but under the surface many of them bear a grudge towards someone in the royal family. Some of them are Tutankhamun’s half brothers and soon there are rumors that the boy is too young to rule.

I liked Robinson’s second book even more than the first. This book has more characters but they are also more entertaining. I enjoyed especially the easy camaraderie between the group of young men and the both sides of Tutankhamun: the teenager and the ruler.

This book had more political elements than the previous one, too.

Advertisements