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The Heretic Queen
A Novel

by Michelle Moran

      The Heretic Queen is a smashing new novel by Michelle Moran, a fitting book to follow her earlier bestseller Nefertiti. The Heretic Queen is the fictional story of a very real historical person. Nefertari, Queen of Egypt, was the wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II. This is the Pharaoh some scholars believe is the pharaoh in the Bible who refused to let the children of Israel leave Egypt.

In this novel, Nefertari is the niece of Nefertiti, although there is no documentation of this relationship. In the novel, Ramesses has been the playmate of Nefertari all her life. As the story opens, she has followed nine-year-old Ramesses to the temple of Amun. Ramesses had gone there to ask this chief of the gods to spare the life of his six year old sister, Pili. Pili lay seriously ill inside the palace. Her parents, Pharaoh Seti and Queen Tuya would not leave her side.

The fact that the Pharoah did not come himself to the temple to pray angered Rahotep, high priest of Amun. He told Ramesses that he would not intercede for Pili. Unless Seti came in person, Pili woujld die. Thus Ramesses became the only livng child of Seti and Tuya.

Nefertari was the daughter of a queen who had died giving birth to her only child. Nefertari grew up as a princess, sort of an orphan of the court. Because of Nefertiti, Nefertari was called a heretic. After all, hadnít Nefertiti and her husband, Akhenaten, abandoned Egyptís gods and worshipped one god whom they called Aton?

Even though itís fiction, the story of Nefertariís rise from hated princess to beloved queen is an absorbing one. Iíve always found ancient history fascinating. This jaunt into Egyptís past is a plausible story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think you will too. And when youíre shopping for The Heretic Queen picked up its companion Nefertiti. Youíre in for a treat.

The Book

Crown / Tor
September 16, 2008
0307381757 / 978-0307381750
Historical Fantasy
More at
NOTE: violence, sex

The Reviewer

Jo Rogers
Reviewed 2008
© 2008