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How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt    by Tamara Bower order for
How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt
by Tamara Bower
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

What impressed me most about this engaging account of How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt (a legendary encounter and romance) is that most of the pages are presented in both English text and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Tamara Bower tells us about the Land of Women in Khor, near Assyria, where 'Amazon women lived free, without men', ruled by a queen, Serpot. One day, she was told that an army of Egyptians and Assyrians approached. Serpot sent her youngest sister, Ashteshyt, dressed as a soldier, to spy on the enemy camp - Bower portrays all the activities of the army in a format familiar to anyone who's looked at Egyptian art in museums.

The first day, the Amazons defeated the foreign army. The next day, their leader, Prince Pedikhons, challenged Queen Serpot to single combat. The two 'fought all through the day.' Neither won. They talked as the sun set and Pedikhons, moved by the Amazon women's courage and strength, put down his sword. He and Serpot fell in love with each other, 'made an alliance, and conquered India together' (quite a honeymoon!)

In a note at the back, Bower tells us that this story is taken from a papyrus scroll (part of the Story-Cycle of King Petubast) and that Prince Pedikhons was a real historical figure. She also explains hieroglyphs and demotic writing, and the symbolism in Egyptian and Assyrian art, on which her illustrations are based. There's a lot to be learned from this beautiful book - about ancient writing and storytelling as well as the legendary meeting itself.

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