A Path of Shadows: A Mystery of Ancient Egypt
Avon, 2003 (2003)
Reviewed by Nina de Angeli
he fabled turquoise mines of Queen Hatshepsut lie far from the usual Nile River haunts of Egyptian frontier officer Lt. Bak. Much to his dismay, on the eve of departing for a coveted new assignment closer to the great capital of Egypt, he is ordered to trace a missing explorer from a well-connected family last seen at the mining seaport. To find the shadowy Minnakht, dead or alive, Bak and his loyal Medjay (Nubian) police must cross a vast barren desert and then sail the Eastern (Red) Sea to the royal mines.
atching their backs after finding a stranger stabbed at the first oasis, Bak and his desert caravan of city merchants, nomad guides, and soldiers suffer attacks from nature and man along the way. Boulders roll down from steep hillsides. A flash flood in a desert wadi threatens to sweep away the travelers and their donkeys. Poisonous vipers lie in wait under the burning sands. Human enemies shadow the caravan's tortuous path as nomad tribes watch from the hills and stalk the strangers in their midst.
aney's skillful evocation of the rocky desert landscape brings out both its varied geology and its harsh beauty, a fitting background for her carefully researched characters and story. The reader is transported back to the 15th century BCE, to the edges of a vast empire only loosely ruled by far away pharaohs. A detailed list of characters and principal deities, and a map of Bak's travels, informs and helps the reader get oriented as the story unfolds. It is eighth in the series.
Haney is one of the few authors in this field commended for accuracy by KMT, a major Egyptology magazine.
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