Desert God – Wilbur Smith

Here is a brand new historical fiction era I haven’t tried before! Ancient Egypt. A new and exiting place for me to be transported. This book I picked up as part of the Dymock’s Top 101 Books for 2016. As a younger person I was fascinated by the idea and culture of the Ancient Egyptians so couldn’t resist the idea of this book. I had also previously read some of Smith’s book from the Courtney series and found them hard to put down. Ultimately I quite enjoyed this book and was excited to realise that there are four other books in his Egyptian series that I can now add to my TBR list. Never fear though, the book does stand alone and can be read without previous knowledge of the others.


This book follows Taita, a trusted advisor to the Pharaoh and his sisters, the two princesses Tehuti and Bekahti as they face navigating life in Ancient Egypt. The story is rich in intrigue, politics, love and action. As much as the book is described as a historical fiction I don’t think the story has an basis in any actual historical event. More it provides a snapshot of what day to day life would have been like back in that time while incorporating the superstitions and beliefs of the time. The books crosses into the intangible at times but I feel it matches the beliefs of the time and therefore flows with the story.


A highlight of the book was the main character Taita, with the story told from his perspective. Taita is all knowing, smart, incredibly gifted and extremely arrogant both in himself and his civilisation. Usually a character like the would irritate me to no end, however, it just worked. Again, I think it reflected their thinking of the era and the arrogance was completely founded. Despite his arrogance Taita is ultimately caring, thoughtful and just. His decisions are measured and intelligent and it is extremely interesting reading his thoughts throughout the book. The other characters are vibrant, if a tad cliche of what you would expect from the types of legends that came form the period.


The plot is full of adventure and actions. There is deception, acts of heroism and a whole host of different nations of the time vying for power. My only issue with the book was it seemed to come to quite an abrupt end. I would have liked a little moe follow up at the conclusion rather than ending without a lot of explanation. If you are at all interested in Ancient Egypt I would definitely recommend this one. It give a good insight into what you imagine life would have been like back then. Harsh and deadly needing all of your wit to stay alive. I give Desert God three volcanic eruptions.


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