cover image Death of an Eye

Death of an Eye

Dana Stabenow. Head of Zeus (IPG, dist.), $29.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-78854-919-6

Edgar winner Stabenow (the Kate Shugak series) ventures into historical crime fiction in this uneven series launch set in ancient Egypt. Tetisheri (known as Sheri) is a childhood friend of Cleopatra Philopater Thea Noetera, “the incarnation on Earth of the goddess Isis, and absolute ruler of Alexandria and Upper and Lower Egypt,” who is currently heavily pregnant with the child of Julius Caesar. Cleopatra (whom Sheri calls Pati) is desperate: a shipment of gold coins, which were meant to shore up the Egyptian economy, has been stolen, and Cleopatra’s secret agent, known as the Eye, has been murdered. “Find the coin, find the thieves, and find the killer and bring all to me,” the queen implores her friend. “I am surrounded by spies set in place by the Romans, by the nobles, by my brother, all of whom are watching and waiting for me to make that one slip.” Pirates, palace intrigue, an abusive husband, a budding romance, and shadowy walks down Alexandria’s mean streets fill out this slice of research-laden ancient history, whose details fail to make the reader feel what it’s like to live in that time and place. Stabenow tries too hard to make ancient Egypt sound contemporarily now. [em](Dec.) [/em]