You know that awesome feeling when you devour an entire trilogy of books in a single weekend because you just can’t stop and you’re not even mad about it? Yeah, that happened.
I’ve got a thing for reading historical fiction. It’s kind of weird because I hated anything to do with history when I was in school. Yet here I am, seeking out fictional stories based around real people, places or events throughout history. I was browsing the store on my Kindle and came across this series and it was just too good for me to pass up! I have a soft spot for all things Egyptian so when I saw the cover of the first book, I knew that it would be my next read. Imagine my excitement when I saw that it was part of a trilogy!
When Naomi’s sisters are snatched up to be taken to be wives of the erratic Pharaoh, Akhenaten, she knows they won’t survive the palace, so she offers herself in their place. The fearsome Commander Horemheb sees her courage, and knows she is exactly what he is looking for…
The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her. When Akhenaten declares Kiya will be the mother of his heir, Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Kiya.
Kiya must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. If she does bear an heir, she knows she will need to fight to protect him, as well as herself, from Nefertiti who is out for blood.
So after I finished Hope of the Pharaoh, I was so in love with the strong-willed heroine, Naomi/Kiya and I definitely needed more. I found the characters incredibly intriguing and likeable (or unlikeable, depending on who they were in the story) so I wanted to see how their stories and lives would develop. Onto the second installment, Mother of a King.
Nefertiti has forced Naomi to flee Amarna with Malachi and the three children. But even under the protection of Naomi’s family in Thebes, Nefertiti still hunts her and Tut. Nefertiti sends assassins to kill them, and while Naomi fights to protect the children, Malachi fights to keep her safe.
With three children in tow, one of which isn’t her own, she is labeled the harlot outcast wife of the pharaoh and is shunned. She isn’t safe among her own people, and flees from being stoned to death. Although her family protects her, she must find a way to survive.
While Naomi struggles to keep herself and Tut alive, old adversaries return as Smenkhkare takes advantage of Akhenaten’s ailing health. Naomi must rely on Horemheb’s promise to protect Tut’s birthright, but her feelings for Malachi could cause more problems with Horemheb than she expects.
After Mother of a King, I certainly wasn’t bored of Kiya and crew. Although they’re not 100% historically accurate, I love Katie Hamstead’s take on what could have happened. It’s definitely made me want to dig into some of my own research and learn the factual turn of events.
Tut has grown into his position as Pharaoh, but he is a wild young man. Naomi fears for him, not only because of his recklessness, but because he has put his trust in Ay—the man determined to destroy Naomi—despite her and Horemheb advising against it.
Meanwhile, death and slavery hang over Naomi and her family. With fear of the booming Hebrew numbers causing talk of enslaving them, conscription is reinstated and Naomi fears for the lives of her other children. Especially since Ay’s children are now adults, and just as dangerous as their father. They threaten to take Itani, conspire against Tut, and push for power.
But Tut is in trouble. While Ay’s daughter draws Horemheb’s attention, and Naomi deals with the struggles of her family, everyone’s distraction could spell death for the young Pharaoh.
I’m not going to lie, even after Rise of a New Dynasty, I wanted more. There was just the right amount of romance, suspense, and action to keep me on the edge of my seat. There were so many fantastic characters that I loved and I found myself incredibly invested in the story. I was particulary enamoured with the 3 main men in Kiya’s life.
I loved reading about the essentric Pharaoh Akhenaten and how his love for Kiya grows, causing her to oust nemesis Queen Nefertiti (fun fact, I named a cat Neffi, after her) from her spot as his most beloved wife. Then there is the strong, handsome, feared Horemheb. I was totally crushing on this fictional, bad boy character from the get go. Finally the humble, caring, hardworking Malachi who was always the good guy and the one you knew she’d always be able to trust. I won’t give any spoilers to how those relationships develop, but I will say that they toyed with my emotions and I was happy overall.
Like I said at the beginning, I finished all 3 of these books in a single weekend and I still wanted more! Hint, hint, Katie Hamstead. Really though, I adored her writing style so I promptly added her other books to my TBR (to be read) list.
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