This is the lost story of Lord Ankhwenefer, known to the Greeks as Chaonnophris the Rebel, the last native Egyptian Pharaoh. The brilliance and heartache of his rebellion weave a tale that history has forgotten.
In the year 205 B.C, after centuries of Persian and Macedonian occupation, a rebel king rises from the south to take ancient Egypt back unto native hands. He will battle the Ptolemy line for twenty years, and rule almost eighty percent of Egypt, yet in the end, history will never mention his name.
Born Prince Ankhmakis, the last in a line of native Egyptian kings, he is raised with one purpose—to help his father reclaim Egypt from the Macedonian occupiers and return their country to dynastic greatness. Fate, however, has its own plans. For lies and deceit live in the hearts of all involved, from his family to the priesthood, and the Greeks aren’t the only ones who seek to destroy him.
Natasa is in training to become the High Priestess of the temple of Isis. Her task is to strengthen the royal family with the magic of the goddess through love and pleasure. She never thought the connection between her and Ankhmakis could be so strong, or carry a power coveted by those lurking in the shadows. Nor did she know that the child they would create would have her own great destiny to fulfill.
Together, Ankhmakis and Natasa must defend the potential of their love from those who would seek to use it for their own gain. Theirs is a world of magic, power, riches, and lust, and there are those within the court who would do anything to keep Ankhmakis and Natasa apart. Between mystical forces, murder, and illicit schemes–only the gods know if they’ll survive.
Origins by Nicole Anderson is a sweeping epic tale of Ancient Egypt that has more magic and mystical elements that will keep you gripped to the edge of your seat. This novel is superbly done, with well written character motivations. I felt that the characters in the book, whether it was Chanax, Set, Natasa and the Greeks, or even Anhkmakis had realistic motivations. Part of the problem of being in a royal family, is that fate decides your destiny. This novel emphasises this a lot. It’s like the Tudors show, if I were to put it in comparison.
What I also liked about the novel was that Nicole depicted both sides as morally grey. Of course there was a rebellion in Egypt after the Battle of Raphia in 272 BCE, but the Ptolemaic Greeks made sure to remove any notice, any hint, any news about this. Both Egyptian and Greeks were attacking each other for the dominance of Egypt. Some of the visuals in this book are epic! There was a scene which I would not spoil, but just imagine that you’re going through a movie. It has the power of lightening comparable to Zeus. It is an epic scene and I loved this.
That being said, some of my nitpicks would be that sometimes I felt the chemistry between Ankhmakis and Natasa was developed a little faster, and thus I would have wanted to seen more scene development between them. I also would have had made Chanax’s motivations a bigger part of the novel. I would also have wanted to seen how the Greeks had dis-respect for the native Egyptians, because although we’re following the perspective of the Royal Families, a little insight from the Commoners would have been good. I would also have wanted to seen more mythical depictions of Horus and Ra as well. I like that through this novel we’re going through quotes that explain Egypt’s history. This gives a sense that I’m reading through a lost hidden scroll that has been discovered after thousands of years.
If there was anything this novel could be even more great, each characterisation has the detail of Game of Thrones potential. Nicole does not shy to show the brutality of this world, how people treated each other, and how the world was essentially for the Ancient Egyptian during this time period, an dangerous period to live in. It is no doubt that many Egyptians desired the return of a strong and native Egyptian Pharaoh, but I read somewhere in a prophecy that the Ancient Gods of Egypt would abandon this land. There’s an interesting quote in this novel about Kemit and strange lands. Find that, and you’ll see what I mean. Nevertheless, I like historical fiction. Sure I do. But I’ve grown more accustomed to Ancient Historical Fiction having mythology and Gods. I’m of the belief that you should have more mythological presence in historical novels. I understand that in today’s age, you don’t have enough resources to establish how people spoke a language thousands of years ago. Hence, you’ll use language from the 21st century to relate for your audience. Shakespeare did the same thing. However, I myself would like to see more mythological presences because that is how the Ancients viewed it. For them, mythology was real. It was their religion, it was their life. That’s me as a reader.
With a few nitpicks along the way, sometimes I felt the characters were often agreeing too often with each other. Hence, we need more scenes of conflict. It depends as this is based on a royal family, so generally everyone would have agreed on important issues. It wasn’t so clear cut, oh no evil prince wants to take over the throne, etc. It is, more like today’s political families that know the value of power. Hence, this is all an exercise of power. All of it is.
This is a great novel, and I really loved this. My rating is 5/5