Neferiti by Michelle Moran is the fictional accounting of Nefertiti’s rise to power in Egypt and her marriage but the tale is told from the view point of Mutny, Nefertiti’s half-sister and handmaiden. Nefertiti was chosen to be a wife of Akhenhapten by her father and aunt, but it is through her own political maneuverings and beauty that she rises to Chief Wife. Nefertiti and Akhenhapten changed the face of history forever. They destroyed the temples to the gods that Egyptians had worshiped for 2,000 years, forcing the people to worship Aten, a lessor known god. Ignoring tradition, Nefertiti changed the capital city, the role of the Chief Wife and rose to be crowned the first woman Pharoh. Mutny is the quiet, not as beautiful sister who is trapped in a world she doesn’t like, forced to be a spy for her sister to keep the family in power.
Several years ago I had the chance to see Nefertiti’s bust in person and have been intrigued by this woman ever since. The story is well told about the political machinations that must have occurred by the powerful families in Egypt’s upper class. Mutny is a likable character who understands the bonds of family and does everything she can to assist her family to be remembered in the eternities. Eventually, she falls in love with the wrong man (a general in the army who the Pharoh feels threatened by) and she must choose between staying with her family and leaving with the man she loves.
Several events transpire that cause Mutny to leave the palace of the Pharoh but despite the selfish behavior of her sister Nefertiti, when tragedy threatens the kingdom, she returns to assist her family. This is how it is with family, you irritate each other and things don’t happen in the best way for everyone but when needed, you take care of them regardless of past acts.
This book was a fast read for me as the characters are compellingly real and the author does an amazing job of showing the power and mistakes made by Nefertiti. The research performed by the author is incredible and the details of the everyday lives of the characters is amazing. I couldn’t put it down and I highly recommend this book!