By Duncan Sprott
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400075102, 496pp.)
Publication Date: June 14, 2005
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From a refreshingly antic new voice in historical fiction, this epically entertaining, irresistibly madcap novel re-creates an ancient family whose obsessions and dysfunctions would change the world, for better or worse.
They were the last pharaohs to rule Egypt. Ptolemy Soter (putative half-brother of Alexander the Great–his mother may have been raped by Alexander’s father) begins it all when he takes the kingdom of the Nile as his share of the empire and brings along Alexander’s carefully embalmed corpse for luck. Soon enough, Ptolemy, in a kind of ancient corporate takeover, becomes pharoah, the living god of Egypt, first in what he hopes will be a long line of Ptolemies. Scheming priests, conniving wives, errant sons and daughters (some of whom have a thing for each other), and an epic’s worth of battles and intrigue make for a tale so rich in upheaval and mayhem that perhaps only our narrator, the irreverent and disapproving Thoth, Egyptian god of Wisdom and Patron of Scribes, could do it justice.
Duncan Sprott is the author of two previous books, The Clopton Hercules and Our Lady of the Potatoes, both historical reconstructions, published in the United Kingdom. He lives in Ireland.
“A virtuoso novel. . . . A supremely knowing book.” –The Guardian
“Historical fiction made nitrous-oxide giddy. . . . A stitch. . . . While the events may be accurate . . . Sprott never lets accuracy bury a good story. And what a story.” –Scottsdale Tribune
“A larger-than-life yarn. . . . Imaginative and effective. . . . Masterfully presented.” –Booklist