I was in the mood to read some Egyptian historical fiction so I picked up the Lords of the Two Lands trilogy by Pauline Gedge. Gedge has written my favorite book in this genre, The Twelfth Transforming, so I was excited to read something else by her. However, while I do love most of her work, some of her books are not my favorites. Fortunately, this trilogy seems like it’s going to be a good one. Let’s discuss book one, The Hippopotamus Marsh. This review will be spoiler free.
Seqenenra Tao, Prince of Weset, leads a revolt against the alien Hyksos pharaohs. His provincial aristocratic family is accustomed to a life of straitened gentility. But when the prince decides to rebel they must risk all, even life itself, to restore Egyptians and their gods to glory. The Hippopotamus Marsh begins a trilogy that brings to vivid life the passions and intrigues that ushered in the great Eighteenth Dynasty.
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Hippopotamus Marsh primarily sets the stage for an upcoming war. The Tao family ruled Egypt until they were defeated by the Hyksos. Two hundred years after the family’s defeat, Seqenenra Tao has had enough of bowing to foreign rulers. He begins a revolt that unfortunately ends in tragedy but in spite of this, the Tao family refuses to give up their battle for the throne.
One of the things I love most about Gedge’s writing is her ability to bring figures from history to life. She captures the human essence perfectly. The ancient Egyptians were real people with hopes and dreams but it’s easy to forget that because they lived so long ago. Gedge paints a well researched picture of what these people might have really been like and it just pulls you into the story.
I didn’t know anything about this period of Egyptian history until reading this book. I did a little research on it once I was finished and there isn’t much information available; which makes this story even more impressive. Gedge took a small amount of known info and spun it into a fully detailed book.
The only complaint I truly have with this novel is it felt overly long and dull at certain points. It was A LOT of slower paced politics and I prefer my stories to be more drama heavy and fast paced. I hope that the next two books have more romance, drama and all of the other stuff that keeps me hooked. Other than that, this book was an immersive and entertaining read.
If you’re interested in Egyptian historical fiction, you can’t go wrong with *most* of Pauline Gedge’s books. There are some duds but that’s true of every author. If you know of any other great books in this genre, tell me about them! Thanks for reading and have a great day!