Nefertiti: A Novel by Michelle MoranNefertiti: A Novel by Michelle Moran

Nefertiti: A Novel

byMichelle Moran

Paperback | May 27, 2008

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Fast-paced and historically accurate, Nefertiti is the dramatic story of two unforgettable women living through a remarkable period in history.

Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped that her strong personality will temper the young ruler’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods.

From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people but fails to see that powerful priests are plotting against her husband’s rule. The only person brave enough to warn the queen is her younger sister, Mutnodjmet.

Observant and contemplative, Mutnodjmet has never shared her sister’s desire for power. She yearns for a quiet existence away from family duty and the intrigues of court. But remaining loyal to Nefertiti will force Mutnodjmet into a dangerous political game; one that could cost her everything she holds dear. Teeming with love, betrayal, political unrest, plague, and religious conflict, Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life in vivid detail.

“Meticulously researched and richly detailed . . . an engrossing tribute to one of the most powerful and alluring women in history.”
Boston Globe

MICHELLE MORAN’s experiences at archaeological sites around the world motivated her to write historical fiction and continue to provide inspiration for her novels. She is nationally bestselling author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, Cleopatra's Daughter, and Madame Tussaud. Visit her online at
Title:Nefertiti: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 1 inPublished:May 27, 2008Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307381749

ISBN - 13:9780307381743

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read for all ancient Egyptian fans I enjoyed reading this immensely. There's not a lot of ancient Egyptian fictional novels but this is a must read. It is written from the POV of Nefertiti's sister and tells the tale of Nefertiti's rise to fame and power, all the way to her downfall.
Date published: 2017-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved, Loved, Loved it! Michelle Moran gives us readers a compelling story with strong characters and excellent writing....she writes about woman with power, power to destroy an empire. The attention to detail and the research for historical accuracy gives us a magnificent story. NEFERTITI is history with realism. We learn about ancient Egypt, royal unions, the colorful intrigue of a royal court, imperial politics, religious differences, seduction and deciet. I loved this book, and I would recommend it to fans of Historical Fiction or to anyone who loves all things Roman or Egyptian. Michelle Moran is becoming one of my favourite authors.
Date published: 2017-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from leaves you out of breath Please please please do read this book and get an insight of the beautiful Pharaoh Nefertiti and her wise sister! Even after I had finished reading this book, I will continuously read all of what Michelle could write about. Amazing author.
Date published: 2017-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible and Engaging! This book is so engaging you won't want to put it down. Moran includes historic fact and detail into her writing while pulling the reader so far in they forget that they are learning. It really opened up my eyes to life in Ancient Egypt and helped me understand part of its history in a way that made me devour it.
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It! It was very good. There isn't enough historical fiction in Ancient Egypt and I'm thankful that Michelle Moran has three of them and I'd recommend all three. There was a lot of comparisons to be had between the sister relationship here and the one in the Other Boleyn Girl with the rivalry something I find in most of her work but not anything really to negatively take away. If I had one complaint it would be the sudden time jump at the end and then speedy resolution.
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent and engaging read An engrossing saga detailing the feign of a most famous Queen. Detailed and delightful. Reminds me of the Wilbur Smith saga.
Date published: 2015-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling! An absolute must read. I love MM's writing style. Her craft for words, plus my love of history, particularly Egypt's past, is a perfect marriage! I could not put the book down!! I can't wait to read all of her books!
Date published: 2013-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I like her writing style Told from Nefertiti's younger sister's point of view, it is the mid-1300s BCE in Egypt. Nefertiti was married at 15-years old to the next Pharaoh of Egypt, Amunhotep. Between the two of them, they became greedy and ambitious; not only that, Amunhotep insisted on worshipping only one god, a god most Egyptians had never heard of: Aten, the sun. This caused a lot of unrest in Egypt while he and Nefertiti ruled. In the meantime, Mutny, Nefertiti's sister, only wanted to live a quiet life away from court politics, tending to a herb garden and helping people. But Nefertiti, always afraid of being alone, didn't want to let her sister go. I really enjoyed this. Not as much as Cleopatra's Daughter, but I really seem to like her writing style. Once again, this is a time and place I don't know much, if anything beyond names, about, so it was interesting to read about these people and the culture of the time.
Date published: 2012-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining Writing historical fiction set in the Eighteenth Dynasty, ancient Egypt, is a challenging endeavour and difficult to deliver. With a vivid imagination the author has created an interesting spin on a fascinating chapter in history. This is a dramatic tale of two unforgettable sisters one so beautiful she will attract the attention of all Egyptians. The story is narrated by Mutnodjmet (Mutny), the younger (haft) sister of Nefertiti. She tells the story of how her beloved sister, a woman of exceptional beauty and great aspirations to power eventually marries and becomes the ruler of Egypt. It commences with the arranged marriage of fifteen year old Nefertiti to pharaoh Amunhotep IV, a young man with great plans that include changing the entire spiritual structure, ultimately making Aten (the sun disk) the center of worship. It was hoped the marriage would tone down Amunhotep’s vision but as fate would have it, Nefertiti had high ambitions of her own and like her husband wanted the complete support and adoration of the people. As we progress through the pages, we follow the struggle to change the course of politics and worship of the Egyptian population. Strong family dynamics come to life within the main thread and we see double dealing, corruption and vengeance running ramped in the Royal court. It is the ultimate recipe for a Dynasty spiralling downward to a disastrous ending. I enjoyed Ms. Moran’s version, she provides an exciting atmospheric story where the reader can almost see the sights, smell the scents and hear the sounds. Of all the characters I preferred Mutny, she is portrayed as a loveable and sympathetic person a complete contrast to her egocentric and unstable sister and the Pharaoh. I also found the unusual dynamic between the pharaoh and his daughters particularly interesting. Some may find the dialog to be a bit too simplistic but it made for a light and a refreshing summer read for the none purist. The novel is highly fictionalized to make it entertaining so history critics should probably take a pass or take it for what it is.
Date published: 2011-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!!!
Date published: 2011-08-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An addictive read Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Court intrigue and the boy king's shift from Amun to Aten. Nefertiti as the manipulative power behind the throne. Faithful to the timeline and and blood lines. Very close to the accepted history of this pharaoh and hard to put down.
Date published: 2011-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! I loved this book. It was chosen by our book club and it was absolutely amazing! Michelle Moran does an amazing job presenting ancient Egypt to us in such detail that it can actually be envisioned in the reader's mind. The detail is exsquisite but not overwhelming. Writing from the point of view of Nefertiti's sister you can understand the feelings and motivations of all the key players. The book is extremely readable and a real page turner. Her follow up book "The Heretic Queen" should be just as good.
Date published: 2011-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! I loved this book; it had great detail and a great story. The characters were well introduced and very colourful. The only thing I didn't like was there were a few false history facts. And normally I don't mind that because it is “historical fiction” after all, but these facts are important in the plot & important in real history and if you love history as much as I do, you might get a tad annoying at those parts. With that said, I would still recommend this book to anyone!
Date published: 2010-08-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nefertiti by Michelle Moran Really, I don't know that I can say anything more than has already been said about Michelle Moran's debut effort Nefertiti: A Novel. I was captivated by a period in history that many of us would admit we are fascinated by. Michelle Moran made Ancient Egypt come alive with such ingenuity and precision, creating strong, compelling characters and layered intrigues set in a region continually on the brink of turmoil. I am in awe of Moran's writing and the dedication to research I am sure was required. If you are a lover of historical fiction this story is a must read! I'll definitely be picking up The Heretic Queen and Cleopatra's Daughter in the near future. Currently Michelle is working on her next novel about the life of Madame Tussaud during the French Revolution to be released March 2011. I will miss her vision of Egypt but look forward to her recreation of the French Revolution in her next effort. My Rating: 4.5
Date published: 2010-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! Michelle Moran brilliantly succeeds in delivering historical facts, exquisite detail and fascinating insight into the unraveling life of the timeless and dazzling ruler, Nefertiti. The author ingeniously uses Nefertiti’s closest relation, her sister Mutnodgmet, to describe the Egyptian Queen’s life of acclaimed power and reign. This effectively gives us a close-up of Nefertiti’s character in order to help us understand her personal reasoning and motives, all the while remaining true to the exterior perception of others as well. The regal and stunningly beautiful Nefertiti, through strategically clever ways, managed to sway and pacify one of Egypt’s worst rulers, her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten. This heretic ruler was known for his self-righteousness need to conquer all in his attempt to be revered and immortalized as a god. The results led to his effectuating the total destruction of an empire he forcefully created despite opposition from the people. While one of Nefertities major roles included placating the ruthless Pharaoh in order to curb his senseless agenda, she astutely paved her way to becoming Egypt’s favourite Queen of the times; both as ruler of the land, as well as, beloved queen of the people. By ensuring her daughters’ rank equal that of Pharaoh’s son (from his secondary wife), Nefertiti set a precedent ensuing a series of changes that would forever revolutionize the perception and status of women as rulers. Ultimately, Nefertiti managed to equal and even surpass Pharaoh in the most unbelievable way… Nefertiti’s ruling, initially from the sidelines, helped keep Egypt safe, strong and secure from possible dangers and threatening of bordering lands. Consequently, her role was instrumental in creating a position for herself that commanded respect and reverence. Nefertiti made sure that she was the center of attention at all times; it was Nefertiti’s world. This borderline egotistic behaviour was often quite overwhelming for her sister…sadly resulting in Mutnodgmet suffering a major blow that nearly separated the two sisters for life- altering their relationship to a different level. For me, what made the story most interesting was precisely the way Mutnodgmet depicts Nefertiti throughout the book. Yes, the Queen was inevitably supreme in most ways…Yet; Mutnodgmet also allows us to see the real Nefertiti, the way she actually was with others- especially her family. Her achievements could not have been attained without the moral and continued support she received from her loved ones, including Mutnodgmet who tended to her every need. Guided by her father, Nefertiti remained focused on keeping the Pharaoh on track in order to minimize the damage he continued to generate. Nefertiti’s unbelievable energy and commitment to secure her family’s position was relentless. Nothing could ever slow her down. For example, it was not unusual for Nefertiti, to immediately rise from her birthing bed to attend a feast, event or even a chariot ride if she deemed it necessary. As well, she went through incredible measures to maintain Pharaoh’s loyalty, devotion and priority towards her and her children rendering his other offspring and wife almost irrelevant. I enjoyed reading about this strong-willed woman who used her, intelligence, guts charms and beauty to keep an empire thriving. Nefertiti used every gift she possessed to advance herself to an ultimate and never-before attainable position- unimaginable and impossible even by today’s standards… Nefertiti is a superb story! It’s a magnetic read that kept me glued from page to page. There isn’t a dull moment in this book. Not only did I plunge into Egyptian history and its different gods, rulers, customs, traditions, architecture, I also learned about the fascinating world of herbs (cures for diseases, conditions and even how to avoid affliction of the plague-Mutnodgmet being the true expert on all of this). But ultimately, it was the palpable characters bursting with emotion, voice and true- to- life detail that totally captured my attention while transporting me into this mesmerizing world of the past. I highly recommend Nefertiti. It’s an unforgettable read- I promise.
Date published: 2009-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Novel! Nefertiti by Michelle Moran is historical fiction at its best. It is a novel about Ancient Egypt that hooked me from page one and didn't let go to the very end. What a fabulous novel! It is rich in detail and history-it draws you into this ancient world and you're able to see and learn so much. The story is about two sisters, Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet (called Mutny by her family). At the start of the novel Mutny is 14 and Nefertiti is 16 years old. They are used to the finer things in life-they've always been raised in a powerful family. Nefertiti is to marry Amunhotep, the young pharaoh of Egypt who has his own set of ideas as to how things should be run and carried out in Egypt. The Dowager Queen, Tiye, hopes that Nefertiti will be able to have some control over his wild impulses. So, it is agreed on and Nefertiti marries Amunhotep and becomes queen. He also has a second wife Kiya who is a constant thorn in Nefertiti's side. From the beginning Nefertiti is loved by the people, she is beautiful and has a presence that the people are drawn to. However, she is unable to produce a son-an heir, instead she has six daughters while Kiya does birth a son. She remains powerful though and eventually is named pharaoh alongside Amunhotep. Throughout all of these years though, there are plots being hatched behind the backs of those in power threatening to bring Nefertiti's world crumbling down which is eventually what happens. My favorite character was Mutny, Nefertiti's half sister-they share the same father, different mothers. Mutny is wise beyond her years from the very beginning. It's hard to imagine that she was as young as she was when you read how she was able to handle her sister and other things that happened within the Palace. Mutny has never been interested in power. She has absolutely no desire to rule Egypt or for that matter live in the Palace where she is basically a slave to Nefertiti. Nefertiti feels that Mutny should never want to leave her, should be with her forever watching out for her and taking care of her. Mutny, on the other hand, wants to live quietly with her love, the general, and tend her gardens. Mutny has a talent when it comes to herbs and turned into a medicine woman of sorts with all the women in the surrounding areas and the palace coming to her for sickness or to prevent pregnancies. However, even though Mutny yearns for this calm life, her loyalties lie with Nefertiti and her family. I was completely drawn into the characters lives in this book, even the ones who didn't have as big a part in the story. Michelle Moran manages to write so wonderfully that she makes you feel happy or sad for these characters-she makes you care what's happening or going to happen to them. While this story is based on historical occurences in Ancient Egypt, she has weaved a wonderful tale around the actual facts. By the end of the story my emotions were so wrapped up in both Mutny and Nefertiti that I was sorry to see it end. It wraps up well though and we're not left wondering about anything. So much happens in this novel that it's hard to cover it all in a review which is why this novel is so worth reading yourself. I myself would love to do more research into Nefertiti and Mutny, their families and lives and that of Ancient Egypt; I found it all so fascinating.
Date published: 2008-10-19

Read from the Book

Chapter One1351 BCEPeret, Season of GrowingWHEN THE SUN set over Thebes, splaying its last rays over the limestone cliffs, we walked in a long procession across the sand. In the twisting line that threaded between the hills, the viziers of Upper and Lower Egypt came first, then the priests of Amun, followed by hundreds of mourners. The sand cooled rapidly in the shadows. I could feel the grains between the toes of my sandals, and when the wind blew under my thin linen robe, I shivered. I stepped out of line so I could see the sarcophagus, carried on a sledge by a team of oxen so the people of Egypt would know how wealthy and great our crown prince had been. Nefertiti would be jealous that she’d had to miss this.I will tell her all about it when I get home, I thought. If she is being nice to me.The bald-headed priests walked behind our family, for we were even more important than the representatives of the gods. The incense they swung from golden balls made me think of giant beetles, stinking up the air whichever way they went. When the funeral procession reached the mouth of the valley, the rattling of the sistrums stopped and the mourners went silent. On every cliff, families had gathered to see the prince, and now they looked down as the High Priest of Amun performed the Opening of the Mouth, to give Tuthmosis back his senses in the Afterlife. The priest was younger than the viziers of Egypt, but even so, men like my father stood back, deferring to his power when he touched a golden ankh to the mouth of the gure on the sarcophagus and announced, “The royal falcon has flown to heaven. Amunhotep the Younger is arisen in his place.”A wind echoed between the cliffs, and I thought I could hear the rush of the falcon’s wings as the crown prince was freed from his body and ascended to the sky. There was a great amount of shuffling, children looking around the legs of their parents to see the new prince. I, too, craned my neck.“Where is he?” I whispered. “Where is Amunhotep the Younger?”“In the tomb,” my father replied. His bald head shone dully in the setting sun, and in the deepening of the shadows his face appeared hawkish.“But doesn’t he want the people to see him?” I asked.“No, senit.” His word for little girl. “Not until he’s been given what his brother was promised.”I frowned. “And what is that?”He clenched his jaw. “The coregency,” he replied.When the ceremony was finished, soldiers spread out to stop commoners from following us into the valley, and our small party was expected to walk on alone. Behind us, the team of oxen heaved, pulling their golden cargo across the sand. Around us, cliffs rose against the darkening sky.“We will be climbing,” my father warned, and my mother paled slightly. We were cats, she and I, frightened of places we couldn’t understand, valleys whose sleeping Pharaohs watched from secret chambers. Nefertiti would have crossed this valley without pause, a falcon in her fearlessness, just like our father.We walked to the eerie rattle of the sistrums, and I watched my golden sandals reflect the dying light. As we ascended the cliffs, I stopped to look down over the land.“Don’t stop,” my father cautioned. “Keep going.”We trudged onward through the hills while the animals snorted their way up the rocks. The priests went before us now, carrying torches to light our way as we walked. Then the High Priest hesitated, and I wondered if he’d lost his bearing in the night.“Untie the sarcophagus and free the oxen,” he commanded, and I saw, carved into the face of the cliff, the entrance to the tomb. Children shifted in their beads and women’s bangles clinked together as they passed each other looks. Then I saw the narrow staircase leading down into the earth and understood their fear.“I don’t like this,” my mother whispered.The priests relieved the oxen of their burden, heaving the gilded sarcophagus onto their backs. Then my father squeezed my hand to give me courage and we followed our dead prince into his chamber, out of the dying sun and into total darkness.Carefully, so as not to slip on the rocks, we descended into the slick bowels of the earth, staying close to the priests and their reed-dipped torches. Inside the tomb, the light cast shadows across the painted scenes of Tuthmosis’s twenty years in Egypt. There were women dancing, wealthy noblemen hunting, Queen Tiye serving her eldest son honeyed lotus and wine. I pressed my mother’s hand for comfort, and when she said nothing, I knew she was offering up silent prayers to Amun.Below us, the heavy air grew dank and the smell of the tomb became that of shifted earth. Images appeared and disappeared in the flickering torchlight: yellow painted women and laughing men, children floating lotus blossoms along the River Nile. But most fearsome was the blue-faced god of the underworld, holding the crook and flail of Egypt. “Osiris,” I whispered, but no one heard.We kept walking, into the most secretive chambers of the earth, then we entered a vaulted room and I gasped. This was where all the prince’s earthly treasures were gathered: painted barges, golden chariots, sandals trimmed in leopard fur. We passed through this room to the innermost burial chamber, and my father leaned close to me and whispered, “Remember what I told you.”Inside the empty chamber, Pharaoh and his queen stood side by side. In the light of the torches, it was impossible to see anything but their shadowy gures and the long sarcophagus of the departed prince. I stretched out my arms in obeisance and my aunt nodded solemnly at me, remembering my face from her infrequent visits to our family in Akhmim. My father never took Nefertiti or I into Thebes. He kept us away from the palace, from the intrigues and ostentation of the court. Now, in the flickering light of the tomb, I saw that the queen hadn’t changed in the six years since I had last seen her. She was still small and pale. Her light eyes appraised me as I held out my arms, and I wondered what she thought of my dark skin and unusual height. I straightened, and the High Priest of Amun opened the Book of the Dead, his voice intoning the words of dying mortals to the gods.“Let my soul come to me from wherever it is. Come for my soul, O you Guardians of the heavens. May my soul see my corpse, may it rest on my mummified body which will never be destroyed or perish . . .”I searched the chamber for Amunhotep the Younger. He was standing away from the sarcophagus and the canopic jars that would carry Tuthmosis’s organs to the Afterlife. He was taller than I was, handsome despite his light curling hair, and I wondered if we could expect great things from him when it was his brother who had always been meant to reign. He shifted toward a statue of the goddess Mut, and I remembered that Tuthmosis had been a cat lover in his life. With him would go his beloved Ta-Miw, wrapped inside her own miniature sarcophagus of gold. I touched my mother’s arm gently and she turned.“Did they kill her?” I whispered, and she followed my eyes to the little coffin beside the prince.My mother shook her head, and as the priests took up the sistrums she replied, “They said she stopped eating once the crown prince was dead.”The High Priest began chanting the Song to the Soul, a lament to Osiris and the jackal god, Anubis. Then he snapped shut the Book of the Dead and announced, “The blessing of the organs.”Queen Tiye stepped forward. She knelt in the dirt, kissing each of the canopic jars in turn. Then Pharaoh did the same, and I saw him turn sharply, searching for his younger son in the darkness. “Come,” he commanded.His youngest son didn’t move.“Come!” he shouted, and his voice was magnified a hundred times in the chamber.No one breathed. I looked at my father, and he shook his head sternly.“Why should I bow to him in obeisance?” Amunhotep demanded. “He would have handed Egypt over to the Amun priests like every king that came before him!”I covered my mouth, and for a moment I thought the Elder would move across the burial chamber to kill him. But Amunhotep was his only surviving son, the only legitimate heir to Egypt’s throne, and like every seventeen-year-old crown prince in our history, the people would expect to see him enthroned as coruler. The Elder would be Pharaoh of Lower Egypt and Thebes, and Amunhotep coregent of Upper Egypt from Memphis. If this son also died, the Elder’s line would be finished. The queen walked swiftly to where her youngest son stood. “You will bless your brother’s organs,” she commanded.“Why?”“Because he is a Prince of Egypt!”“And so am I!” Amunhotep said wildly.Queen Tiye’s eyes narrowed. “Your brother served this kingdom by joining Egypt’s army. He was a High Priest of Amun, dedicated to the gods.”Amunhotep laughed. “So you loved him better because he could butcher what he blessed?”Queen Tiyes inhaled angrily. “Go to your father. Ask him to make a soldier of you. Then we will see what kind of Pharaoh you shall become.”Amunhotep turned, stooping rashly before Pharaoh in the midst of his brother’s funeral. “I will become a warrior like my brother,” he swore. The hem of his white cloak trailed in the dirt, and the viziers shook their heads. “Together, you and I can raise Aten above Amun,” he promised. “We can rule the way your father once envisioned.”Pharaoh held on to his walking stick, as if it could support his ebbing life. “It was a mistake to raise you in Memphis,” he pronounced. “You should have been raised with your brother. Here. In Thebes.”Amunhotep stood swiftly and his shoulders straightened. “You only have me, Father.” He offered his hand to the old man who had conquered a dozen lands. “Take it. I may not be a warrior, but I will build a kingdom that will stand for eternity.”When it was clear that Pharaoh would not take Amunhotep’s hand, my father moved forward to save the prince from embarrassment.“Let your brother be buried,” he suggested quietly.The look Amunhotep gave his father would have turned Anubis cold.***It was only when we returned on barges across the Nile, with the waves to drown our voices, that anyone dared to speak.“He is unstable,” my father declared on our way back to Akhmim. “For three generations, our family has given women to the Pharaohs of Egypt. But I will not give one of my daughters to that man.”I wrapped my wool cloak around my shoulders. It wasn’t me he was talking about. It was my sister, Nefertiti.“If Amunhotep is to be made coregent with his father, he will need a Chief Wife,” my mother said. “It will be Nefertiti or Kiya. And if it is Kiya . . .”She left the words unspoken, but we all knew what she had meant to say. If it was Kiya, then Vizier Panahesi would have sway in Egypt. It would be easy and logical to make his daughter queen: Kiya was already married to Amunhotep and nearly three months pregnant with his child. But if she became Chief Wife, our family would bow to Panahesi’s, and that would be an unthinkable thing.My father shifted his weight on his cushion, brooding while the servants rowed north.“Nefertiti has been told she will be a royal wife,” my mother added. “You told her that.”“When Tuthmosis was alive! When there was stability and it looked as if Egypt would be ruled by...” My father closed his eyes.I watched as the moon rose over the barge, and when enough time had passed, I thought it safe to ask, “Father, what is Aten?”He opened his eyes. “The sun,” he replied, staring at my mother. There were thoughts passing between them, but no words.“But Amun-Ra is god of the sun.”“And Aten is the sun itself,” he said.I didn’t understand. “But why would Amunhotep want to build temples to a sun god that no one has heard of?”“Because if he builds temples to Aten, there will be no need for the priests of Amun.”I was shocked. “He wants to be rid of them?”“Yes.” My father nodded. “And go against all the laws of Ma’at.”I sucked in my breath. No one went against the goddess of truth. “But why?”“Because the crown prince is weak,” my father explained. “Because he is weak and shallow, and you should learn to recognize men who are afraid of others with power, Mutnodjmet.”My mother threw a sharp glance at him. It was treason, what my father just said, but there was no one to hear it above the splash of the oars.***Nefertiti was waiting for us. She was recovering from fever, but even so she was sitting in the garden, reclining by the lotus pool, the moonlight reflecting off her slender arms. She stood up as soon as she saw us, and I felt a sort of triumph that I had seen the prince’s funeral and she’d been too sick to go. Guilt swept this feeling away, however, when I saw the longing in her face.“Well, how was it?”I’d planned on having the information drawn out of me, but I couldn’t be cruel the way she could be. “Absolutely magnificent,” I gushed. “And the sarcophagus—”“What are you doing out of bed?” my mother scolded. She was not Nefertiti’s mother. She was only mine. Nefertiti’s mother had died when her daughter was two; she’d been a princess from Mitanni and my father’s first wife. She was the one who gave Nefertiti her name, which meant the Beautiful One Has Come. And though we were related, there was no comparing us: Nefertiti was small and bronze, with black hair, dark eyes, and cheekbones you could cup in the palm of your hand, whereas I am dark, with a narrow face that would never be picked out of a crowd. At birth, my mother didn’t name me for beauty. She called me Mutnodjmet, meaning Sweet Child of Goddess Mut.“Nefertiti should be in bed,” my father said. “She’s not feeling well.” And although it was my sister he should have been reprimanding, it was me to whom he spoke.“I’ll be fine,” Nefertiti promised. “See, I’m better already.” She smiled for him, and I turned to see my father’s reaction. Like always, he had a soft look for her.“Nevertheless,” my mother cut in, “you were hot with fever and you will go back to bed.”From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

"A stunning debut-I can't believe it's her first novel-what a thrilling read! I found the whole book rich and compelling, exciting and haunting. Nefertiti is a fine creation, both appealing and frightening, and she's surrounded by a thoroughly satisfying cast of characters, too. The whole world of Anceient Egypt comes to life."- Rosalind Miles, bestselling author of I, Elizabeth"There haven't been two more fascinating or outrageous siblings since the Boleyn sisters...Nefertiti is obsessive reading."- Robin Maxwell, author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn"An engrossing page-turner, Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life as two royal sisters struggle to find fulfillment and happiness- one craving ultimate political power, the other desiring only to follow her heart. A strong debut novel of passion and intrigue, Nefertiti kept me up way too late!"- India Edghill, author of Wisdom's Daughter "A provocative portrait of limitless power in an ancient land of limitless fascination."- Ki Longfellow, author of The Secret Magdalene“Nefertiti is a fascinating window into the past, a heroic story with a very human heart. Compulsively readable!”–Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Breath of Snow and Ashes"Though sometimes big events are telegraphed, Moran, who lives in California and is making her U.S. debut, gets the details just right, and there are still plenty of surprises in an epic that brings an ancient world to life."- Publishers Weekly "Beautifully written and completely engrossing, this first novel should enjoy wide readership."- Library Journal"A wonderful, beautifully written, and well researched novel, Nefertiti is a page-turner filled with amazing visuals of a dazzling historical period."-Jani Brooks - Romance Reviews TodayFrom the Hardcover edition.