Pauline Gedge, Author HarperCollins Publishers $21.95 (460p) ISBN 978-0-06-016541-3
The destruction of a noble ancient Egyptian family, precipitated by violation of an ancient taboo, is traced with vibrant detail in this novel (published abroad as Scroll of Saqqara ) from the author of Child of the Morning . Khaemwaset, a son of the Pharaoh, is a physician-scholar and head of a leading Memphis clan. Pursuing his quest for enlightenment, he enters a tomb and steals the scroll of Thoth, believed to have the ``power to bend the dead and living to its will,'' thereby setting in motion the disaster that will overtake his family. Returning from the tomb, Khaemwaset catches sight of a beautiful woman, Tbubui, with whom he becomes obsessed, eventually bringing her into his household as his second wife. Among the mysteries surrounding Tbubui is a pervasive, slightly fetid perfume which does not affect Khaemwaset's lust. His passion continues unabated even when he must accept the grisly evidence that the odor is that of the charnel house. Gedge vividly renders the exotic, sensuous world of ancient Memphis, the domestic rituals of bathing and dressing, the social ambience of superstitions and spells. These details generally compensate for labored dialogue and the jarring use of contemporary expressions. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
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