Sitting on my desk is the second novel by A.R. Duckworth set in the ancient civilisation of Egypt. The author has taken two well-known biblical stories and presented them through the reality of the times, in the style of two novels. It makes for compelling reading, so much so that one can hardly connect the kernel of the two novels to what one learned in Bible History as children.
The first book entitled “The King and her Children” fleshed out the story of the young Egyptian Princess who finds a baby in the reeds and takes him to her Palace. As Prince Senenmut, the baby is given the education of a Prince of the Realm, studying religion, the arts, diplomacy and the skills of war. (See previous Review entitled ´The King and her Children’).
In the second novel, published in April 2023, A.R. Duckworth presents her new work in two parts “The Napoleon of Egypt: The Story of Tutmose III” and “Exodus: The Flight from Egypt”.
The storyline follows the expansion of the Egyptian Empire by Tutmose lll who ascends the throne on the death of the Pharoah Hatshepsut (the Princess who found the baby in the reeds). There is of course unrequited love by Tutmose III of the daughter of the old Pharoah complicated by the fact that she loves his rival and former mentor Prince Senenmut. No doubt this accounts for his determination to hunt Senenmut down in the aftermath of his flight from his royal life. Yet, historically, it is Tutmose lll with his warring activities who in later centuries is famed and named as “The Napoleon of Egypt”.
The second part of this novel entitled “Exodus” follows the life of Prince Senenmut, (found in the reeds by the Princess) after he discovers he is a descendent of captive workers, the Habiri (Hebrew), who had been enslaved by the Egyptians. After Senenmut´s flight from the royal court, he found his way inadvertently to his own people, thus changing his identity once again and becoming a shepherd. In effect, he is a wanted man by the Egyptians.
Yet by falling into the company of the Habiri, living the humble life of a shepherd, taking on a wife who is daughter of a tribal chief, he has the ideal disguise and protection of a once royal prince, now wanted dead or alive. Yet even with this new persona, his leadership qualities surface.
This novel has an astonishing end, which although as dramatic as a ´Star Wars´movie, is historically true, according to The Bible. The author has included much of her research at the start of the book to share with the reader. It might have been wiser to place such turgid information at the end of the novel since it is not easy reading as is the actual novel. Yet having said that, it is surprising to me that A.R. Duckworth´s writing has not received more publicity and acclaim.