Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Book Review: NEFERTITI, by Michelle Moran
Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
Michelle Moran brilliantly succeeds in delivering historical facts, exquisite detail and fascinating insight into the unraveling life of the timeless and dazzling ruler, Nefertiti. The author ingeniously uses Nefertiti’s closest relation, her sister Mutnodgmet, to describe the Egyptian Queen’s life of acclaimed power and reign. This effectively gives us a close-up of Nefertiti’s character in order to help us understand her personal reasoning and motives, all the while remaining true to the perception of others as well.
The regal and stunningly beautiful Nefertiti, used strategically clever ways, to sway and pacify one of Egypt’s worst rulers, her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten. This heretic ruler was known for his self-righteousness need to conquer all in his attempt to be revered and immortalized as a god. The results led to the total destruction of an empire he forcefully created despite opposition from the people.
While one of Nefertities major roles included placating the ruthless Pharaoh in order to curb his senseless agenda, she astutely paved her way to becoming Egypt’s favourite Queen of the times; both as ruler of the land, as well as, beloved queen of the people. By ensuring her daughters’ rank equal that of Pharaoh’s son (from his secondary wife), Nefertiti set a precedent ensuing a series of changes that would forever revolutionize the perception and status of women as rulers. Ultimately, Nefertiti managed to equal and even surpass Pharaoh in the most unbelievable way…
Nefertiti’s ruling, initially from the sidelines, helped keep Egypt safe, strong and secure from possible dangers and threatening of bordering lands. Consequently, her role was instrumental in creating a position for herself that commanded respect and reverence. Nefertiti made sure that she was the center of attention at all times; it was Nefertiti’s world. This borderline egotistic behaviour was often quite overwhelming for her sister…sadly resulting in Mutnodgmet suffering a major blow that nearly separated the two sisters for life- altering their relationship to a different level.
For me, what made the story most interesting was precisely the way Mutnodgmet depicts Nefertiti throughout the book. Yes, the Queen was inevitably supreme in most ways…Yet; Mutnodgmet also allows us to see the real Nefertiti, the way she actually was with others- especially her family. Her achievements could not have been attained without the moral and continued support she received from her loved ones, including Mutnodgmet who tended to her every need. Guided by her father, Nefertiti remained focused on keeping the Pharaoh on track in order to minimize the damage he continued to generate.
Nefertiti’s unbelievable energy and commitment to secure her family’s position was relentless. Nothing could ever slow her down. For example, it was not unusual for Nefertiti, to immediately rise from her birthing bed to attend a feast, event or even a chariot ride if she deemed it necessary. As well, she went through incredible measures to maintain Pharaoh’s loyalty, devotion and priority towards her and her children rendering his other offspring and wife almost irrelevant.
I enjoyed reading about this strong-willed woman who used her, intelligence, guts charms and beauty to keep an empire thriving. Nefertiti used every gift she possessed to advance herself to an ultimate and never-before attainable position- unimaginable and impossible even by today’s standards…
Nefertiti is a superb story! It’s a magnetic read that kept me glued from page to page. There isn’t a dull moment in this book. Not only did I plunge into Egyptian history and its different gods, rulers, customs, traditions, architecture, I also learned about the fascinating world of herbs (cures for diseases, conditions and even how to avoid affliction of the plague-Mutnodgmet being the true expert on all of this). But ultimately, it was the palpable characters bursting with emotion, voice and true- to- life detail that totally captured my attention while transporting me into this mesmerizing world of the past.
I highly recommend Nefertiti. It’s an unforgettable read- I promise.
Posted by Lucy at 6:00 PM