Friday, May 20, 2011
Book Review Friday -- The Eyes of Pharaoh
This week I had the pleasure of reading a historical mystery by Chris Eboch, The Eyes of Pharaoh, set in ancient Egypt during the reign of Ramses the Third. This is a fast-paced adventure, with historical details that plunge you into the era, engaging characters that feel realistic, and tension that never lets up.
Thirteen-year-old Seshta is one of the young temple dancers in the Temple of Hathor. Her dream is to eventually leave the temple and become a renowned performer. Her two best friends are thirteen-year-old Horus, son of her family's former maid and apprentice to a toymaker, and sixteen-year-old Reya, a conscript in Egypt's army.
When the story opens, Seshta is focused on the coming dancing contest for the temple dancers. The Pharoah himself will see the contest, and winning could ensure Seshta's future as a performer. Then Reya meets up with her and Horus, saying that he has information about a threat from the Libu (a tribe from what is present day Libya). Reya is on his way to inform the general, but wants Seshta and Horus to know something first, in case something goes wrong. Then Reya disappears.
Since Reya is a soldier, his family assumes he is on a mission. But Horus's blind sister dreams of Reya being trapped in a small place, alone and scared. Seshta, too, has ominous dreams of danger, and she decides it is up to her and Horus to find and rescue their friend. The two become spies, asking questions in the marketplace that lead them to the army garrison, a merchant's wealthy grounds, and a prince's estate, as they uncover clues about a plot to overthrow Pharaoh Ramses the Third. Even the head of the Eyes of Horus, the secret police, seems to be involved.
This book sparkles with drama, historical accuracy, and lively characters today's young people can relate to. I wish I'd had Eboch's book when I was teaching sixth grade. The unit on ancient Egypt is always a favorite with students, and her book brings the era to life.
For information about how to contact Chris Eboch and how to order her book, visit her website (click on her name). You'll find other good reads by this author (including the Haunted series), information on writing, and lesson plans for her historical books. For my own part, I want to read her Haunted books next, since I love a good ghost story! Then again, the Mayan book looks intriguing as well . . .