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Reflections in the Nile    by Suzanne Frank order for
Reflections in the Nile
by J. Suzanne Frank
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 1999 (1997)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

While exploring an inner room in the legendary temple at Karnak during a long-awaited vacation to exotic Egypt, Dallas artist Chloe Green accidentally steps into a time vortex. Traveling through centuries in a matter of seconds, Chloe finds herself in the body of RaEmhetep, high priestess of HatHor in the year 1452 B.C..

It is a mysterious period in Egypt's history, in which the lady pharaoh Hatshepsut is in a power struggle with her nephew Thutmosis III. While Chloe is in RaEm's body and has random bits of RaEm's memory, she still sees through her own eyes. Thus everything looks both similar and alien. Surrounded by intrigue, jealousy and danger, and with no idea as to why, a hapless Chloe finds herself in big trouble as evidence of RaEm's rampant amatory exploits comes to light. Chloe/RaEm is banished from court. Royal physician Cheftu who, as it turns out, is one of RaEm's numerous discarded lovers, is sent along with her.

Chloe is in eternal conflict between the two personalities in her own mind - one an ancient Egyptian warning her of grave danger, and the other a modern American who longs for underwear and cigarettes. The attraction between Chloe and Cheftu grows along with the unrest in Egypt. The Israeli slaves are rebelling and Ramoses (Moses) approaches prince regent Thutmosis again and again, asking to be released. When Thut refuses, all the legendary Biblical plagues break over Egypt. The reader wonders what will happen to Chloe and Cheftu now? Will an enraged Hatshepsut have them executed or will they escape? The story reveals the Exodus through Chloe and Cheftu's dazzled, awe-stuck eyes!

Suzanne Frank takes the reader along on a magical journey of discovery From Texas to Egypt, audaciously setting the Exodus during Hatshepsut's reign instead of Ramses' (as is the acknowledged version of events). A vast and majestic civilization of ancient Egypt comes to life in all its glory and splendor through Chloe's startled eyes, Suzanne Frank has adroitly captured the atmosphere of both current day and ancient Egypt, incorporating historical facts and figures into her fictional narrative.

It is impressive to read how religion and life after death dominate the day-to-day activities of the public as well as the Pharaoh. The reader undergoes the wrath of Elohim, the God of the Israelis, in the form of the seven Biblical plagues, along with the vulnerable Egyptians. Though at times Ms. Frank's imagination knows no bounds, Reflections in the Nile is nevertheless an awesome read.

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