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Slayer of Gods    by Lynda S. Robinson order for
Slayer of Gods
by Lynda S. Robinson
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2001 (2001)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the sixth volume in the Lord Meren series, set in Ancient Egypt (mid-fourteenth century B.C.) in the fascinating era of Tutankhamun. The pharaoh is distressed by the mystery of the murder of the previous ruler's queen, the beautiful Nefertiti, who was a second mother to him. He is concerned that her ka, her unavenged soul, wanders lost in the desert. Tutankhamun has tasked Lord Meren, the Eyes and Ears of Pharaoh, with tracking down whoever ordered Nefertiti's death. Of course, the period in which Nefertiti's husband, Akhenaten, ruled Egypt is itself one of the big historical mysteries. Akhenaten was the heretic king, who abandoned the old gods (and disestablished their priesthood) to worship the sun deity Aten.

The enigmatic Meren is assisted in his investigation by Anath, the Eyes of Babylon, a childhood friend and a spy who has worked under his orders in the past. As witnesses fall down wells, Meren and Anath pursue clues down the Nile to the Horizon of the Aten, center of Akhenaten's rule. A romance gradually develops between them while they question witnesses and peruse scraps of papyrus. The story moves slowly with most of the action in the final stages, when Lord Meren's grown children - adopted son Kysen and daughter Bener - get in on the investigation and are targeted by the mysterious and powerful villain.

The author does a good job of throwing up a smokescreen of suspicious characters, who obscure the true enemy. This leads to a dramatic ending and a historically plausible interpretation of events, along with a few surprises. However the mystery itself interested me less than its Egyptian context - the minutiae of daily life, the power structures and relationships with neighboring realms, which add so much color. Slayer of Gods is the first book of the Lord Meren series that I have tried and, though it does stand on its own as an entertaining historical mystery, I suspect it would add to the interest to read the volumes in sequence. If you haven't tried any of them yet, and share my interest in ancient Egypt, then don't miss Lord Meren.

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