"The closest thing to time travel to Ancient Egypt"
Reviewed by Dot Dittman
Posted March 13, 2015
DESERT GOD by Wilbur Smith is one of those rare creatures:
a book in a series that is a stand alone read. This I can
say with certainty because I haven't read the other books
in the series.
DESERT GOD transports the reader to ancient Egypt,
Mesopotamia, and Crete. The unconventional protagonist is
former slave, Taita, who is now a trusted advisor to the
Pharaoh. He has achieved this by his extreme cleverness
intelligence. He is not a modest man and will be the first
to extol his virtues. This aspect is actually pretty funny
as Taita praises his own accomplishments. At one point, he
even brags about his humility! One of the other characters
remarks to Taita: "Even the smell of your farts is
conceited and ostentatious."
Wilbur Smith uses this unreliable narrator to inject humor
into the tale. This gives it a human quality and reminds
that all history is told from someone's perspective. The
humor is very tongue-in-cheek and understated, but it is
Besides advising the Pharaoh, Taita supervises the
education and care of Pharaoh's sisters, Tehuti &
He loves them more than anyone—after their deceased
Queen Lostris. He spoils and caters to them sometimes at a
risk to his own position.
Egypt wants to reclaim the part of their kingdom that the
But it will take a great deal to finance the armies and
weapons that they need to wage war. They need an ally and
they need for Crete and Hyksos to be at odds with each
other so they can't join against Egypt. Taita's solutions
to these problems are entertaining, imaginative, and
Taita is absolutely sure of his success. He has a
surprising source of supernatural help who tells him
something he has always suspected of himself. Taita
finally knows why he is so much smarter and handsomer than
other men, and why he doesn't age past his prime. His
conceit would be annoying if it wasn't so funny.
The physical descriptions of all the locales in DESERT GOD
are beautifully done. The narrative about ancient Crete
before and during volcanic eruption is break-taking. The
ending is somewhat of a surprise; but I can see a sequel
I am asking myself why I haven't read Wilbur
Smith's books before. Fans of historical fiction with epic
proportions will enjoy DESERT GOD. Even days after
finishing it, I am still thinking and smiling about it.
Game of Thrones meets ancient Egypt in this magnificent
from one of the world's biggest-selling authors. Conjuring
the magic, mystery and bloody intrigue of a fascinating
world, Desert God presents Wilbur Smith at the helm of one
of the greatest stories of all time.
On the gleaming banks of the Nile, the brilliant Taita—a
freed slave and advisor to the Pharaoh—devises a plan to
destroy Egypt's most feared enemy, the mighty Hyksos. His
quest will take him on an epic journey up the ancient
through Arabia and the magical city of Babylon and across
the open seas—all in the company of the Pharaoh's
sisters. With the future of the kingdom itself on his
shoulders, Taita plunges into a world where the line
loyalty and betrayal shifts like the desert sands, evil
waits in the shadows and death lingers on the edge of
Hundreds of millions have fallen in love with the magic of
Wilbur Smith. In Desert God, he is at the peak of his
powers, transporting readers to an extraordinary time and
place. This is a novel of supreme adventure, blazing
heart-racing romance and a sense of history so real that
will feel the dunes moving beneath you and the Nile
at your feet.
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