Ancient Egypt Historical Fiction

Mara, Daughter of the Nile

Book cover: 'Mara, Daughter of the Nile'
Author(s): 
Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Copyright: 
1953
Publisher: 
Puffin Books
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
279 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This book tells the story of a young Egyptian slave girl whose yearning for freedom places her in the middle of a tangled web of intrigue and deception. Mara, Daughter of the Nile is a marvelous piece of historical fiction, giving detailed descriptions of ancient Egypt in the time of pyramids, temples, battles, and pharaohs. The plot is fast-paced and the characters are exciting, brave, and adventurous . When Mom read this book to us we always begged for 'just one more chapter, please.' It's definitely a 'must read' for every homeschooling family doing a unit on ancient Egypt.
Additional Comments: In the end, the book portrays some excellent character development, however the flirtations of the main character (earlier in the book - the story does not condone the behavior) make me hesitate to read this one aloud to younger children. If in doubt, I suggest pre-reading it yourself. (Most suitable for Upper Grade School) - A.V.H.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

Shadow Hawk

Book cover: 'Shadow Hawk'
Author(s): 
Andre Norton
Copyright: 
1960
Publisher: 
Bethlehem Books
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
246 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Set in approximately 1590 B.C. in Ancient Egypt and Nubia, this historical novel tells of Rahotep, an Egyptian nobleman who commands a small but capable force of Nubian archers. He and his archers offer their services to the Pharaoh Sekenenre, who wishes to finally throw off the rule of the Hyksos invaders and restore Egypt to its former glory. The young and sometimes rash Rahotep finds himself in the middle of a complex web of traditional court protocol, scheming temple priests and treacherous plots to take the life of the Pharaoh. He is finally caught in the web himself, falsely accused of an attack on the Pharoah's life. Escaping, he must choose between rescuing the Pharaoh from another plot and proving his innocence or simply making his escape to safety elsewhere - having a strong excuse after the false accusations. He chooses to help the Pharaoh and becomes involved in several impressive battles with the goal of an all-important first great victory against the Hyksos - necessary to rally Egypt's confidence and support.

This dramatic story makes you feel like you've been dropped right into Ancient Egypt to experience life among soldiers and courtiers in dangerous times. The plot rivals the great adventure novels - secret plots overheard, dangerous undercover missions, daring military campaigns - and offers more besides. The characters are well-portrayed, not overly-simplified or stereotyped. The noble characters fight with courage and honor, and the author shows death and killing as an unfortunate consequence of a just war, not something to be gloried in or dwelt upon in a crude fashion (a remarkable departure from so many books and movies made today).The treacherous plottings in the court and the temples vividly and accurately portray those insidious evils that mix truth and lie into a complex deception. This sort of literature helps children to develop a strong moral sense of right and wrong and the intellectual skills necessary to distinguish the two. Suitable for upper grade school or high school.

Review Date: 
4-13-02
Reviewed by: 

The Golden Goblet

Book cover: 'The Golden Goblet'
Author(s): 
Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Copyright: 
1961
Publisher: 
Puffin Newbery Library
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
248 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

The Golden Goblet is a story set in Ancient Egypt, of a young boy, Ranofer, who dreams of becoming a goldsmith like his father before him. Unfortunately, now that his father is dead, Ranofer lives with his horrible half-brother, Gebu, who has no love for his young charge, keeps him undernourished and beats him whenever he's in a bad mood. In the course of struggling with these things, Ranofer and his two loyal friends get caught up a in a mystery that leads from the revered tombs of the dead all the way to the Pharaoh's palace. The story is very exciting, the villains very evil and it will definitely be hard to put this book down. While getting wrapped up in the story, the reader will begin to understand how seriously and reverently the Ancient Egyptians treated the dead and how their strong beliefs in the supernatural and in the after life caused their preparations for death to play a major role in their culture. (Suitable for Mid to Upper Grade School)

Review Date: 
3-17-2000
Reviewed by: