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The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran - Excerpt

The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran - Excerpt

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The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family–with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen. Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.
The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family–with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen. Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

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Publish date: Sep 1, 2009
Added to Scribd: Sep 10, 2009
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The
HereticQueen
A NOVEL
MICHELLE MORAN
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the productof the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.Copyright © 2008, 2009 by Michelle MoranExcerpt from
Cleopatra’s Daughter 
copyright © 2009 by Michelle MoranAll rights reserved.Published in the United States by Three Rivers Press, an imprint of theCrown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.www.crownpublishing.com
THREE RIVERS PRESS
and the Tugboat design are registered trademarks ofRandom House, Inc.Originally published in hardcover in slightly different form in the United States byCrown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of RandomHouse, Inc., New York, in 2008.This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming book
Cleopatra’s Daughter 
byMichelle Moran. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect thefinal content of the forthcoming edition.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataMoran, Michelle.The heretic queen: a novel/Michelle Moran.—1st ed.p.cm.1. Nefertari, Queen, consort of Ramesses II, King of Egypt—Fiction.2. Ramesses II, Kingof Egypt—Fiction.3. Egypt—History—Nineteenth dynasty, ca. 1320–1200 B.C.—Fiction.4. Queens—Egypt—Fiction.5. Egypt—Kings and rulers—Fiction.I. Title.PS3613.O682H47 2008813'.6dc222008011857ISBN 978-0-307-38176-7Printed in the United States of America
 Design by JoAnne Metsch Map by Sophie Kittredge
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1First Paperback Edition
www.ThreeRiversPress.com

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e5j reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I loved this one just as much as Nefertiti. Moran is spellbinding.
pidgeon92_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
More excellent historical fiction by Michelle Moran.
fyrefly98 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Summary: Nefertari is a princess of Egypt, but her family all died when she was young, and she's grown up in the court of Pharoah Seti ever since. Although she's friends with the young prince Ramesses, her presence is only tolerated by everyone else: her aunt was the Queen Nefertiti, wife of the Heretic King, who only a generation before turned his back on Egypt's gods, and brought down plague and suffering upon the people. As Nefertari grows up, her place in court becomes even less secure, as she becomes a player in the power struggles of Ramesses's two aunts, both head priestesses of powerful temples. The only path that leads to success is for Nefertari to marry Ramesses and become first wife and Queen, but will the people ever accept her, knowing that the blood of heretics runs in her veins?Review: All of the things that I knew Michelle Moran was good at - creating believable, sympathetic characters; bringing historical time periods and locations to life; writing clear, accessible prose - is all very much on display in The Heretic Queen. I can easily see why it's some people's favorite book of hers, and although I'd personally put Madame Tussaud in the top spot, I definitely enjoyed this one. There were a few elements that kept me from totally loving it, however.My primary issues with The Heretic Queen may have been one of timing; specifically, that I read it too close in time to Nefertiti. I thought I'd given it enough space between the two, but the maneuvering for the position of first wife and the race to produce an heir that make up the bulk of the plot of The Heretic Queen felt pretty repetitive, since it was a major part of Nefertiti as well. It wasn't uninteresting, but it had a definite sense of something that had been done before, and Iset (Ramesses's other wife) wasn't a strong enough character to make a super-compelling opponent for our protagonist. I also thought in the early chapters that Moran was setting up a subplot involving Nefertari's childhood friend Asha, possibly a love triangle, and so was disappointed when nothing of the sort materialized; I thought that was a wasted opportunity.(I also spent a fair bit of this book trying to mentally reconcile Moran's Ramesses with Anne Rice's Ramses the Damned, and giggling at the results.)In short, although this book wasn't a barn-burner for me, it definitely taught me some history I didn't know, wrapped it in an entertaining story, and was overall a solidly enjoyable read. 4 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: Although it's technically a sequel to Nefertiti, it could stand on its own just fine. Recommended for anyone interested in losing themselves in Ancient Egypt for an evening or two.
jo3jo_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I was thrilled to travel back to ancient Egypt with Moran leading the way in this beautiful novel. Nefertari is the narrator in this novel and since her aunt, Nefertiti, was known as the infamous heretic queen, her future in the kingdom is questionable. It is a joy to watch Nefertari develop from the carefree tomboy she once was, into the respectable woman she becomes.We learn early on in the novel that Nefertari's mother died in childbirth. We see how lonely life has been for this young girl, growing up in a royal court without any family left, and very few friends. The current Pharoah does not discount thE fact of Nefertari's royalty, so even though she comes from a line of heretics, she still is allowed to use the title of Princess.When Nefertari catches the eye of the young Pharoah, the royal court hesitantly accepts her as a wife, while the people of Egypt take a bit longer to acknowledge her favorably. The people cannot forget that Nefertari is a descendant of the heretic queen, and they feel that if Nefertari is given power, she will lead their country down the wrong path.Moran did a beautiful job of depicting the time and place for me, allowing me to create vivid and lucid pictures in my mind. Greed and power were desired just as much in ancient Egypt as it is in our society today. All the ladies in my book group loved this novel and is one of the only books that we all gave it the highest possible rating. With themes of love, power, royalty, this is a book that I highly recommend for both personal leisure and book club discussions.
jedisakora_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Brilliant: adjective. to sparkle, glitter, bright, beam, luminous, this book. This book was everything and above. Again Michelle Moran writes a book which transports you to another time in history and it feels so real that you don't want to leave. You just want to break the time machine and yell "press on young man/woman". Then when you get to the very last page you feel a great deal of sadness for a loss you don't understand. I felt this way at the end of "Nefertiti", but was comforted by the fact there was a sequel in place. Unfortunately this time around there is no such book. Michelle tells us the story of Nefertari in "The Heretic Queen" started at the tender age of 6. Why this age. Because the book is as much as a romance as a coming of age and in parts action adventure. At the age of 6 Nefertari has her first real memory of the man she would love all her life "Rameses II". We then get a fast forward to Nefertari age 13 and Rameses the great coronation as co-regent of Egypt. We also learn that things aren't all rosey for Princess Nefertari. She is always associated with the "Heretics" and her family name has been wiped clean from Egyptian record. On her mother, Queen Mutnodjmet, who was briefly married to Pharaoh Horemheb name has been left in tact. It is on this day we learn that Nefertari's love for the young prince and her willingness to do whatever it takes to be his wife. Along we way she runs into quite a few obstacles and grows into herself. She finds that her desire become Rameses chief wife is much more than her love for him. She must do it for herself as well. As i mentioned before i loved this book. It's one of those books you run into every once in awhile that screams perfection in every which way that you can't put it down. Literally. So you find yourself finishing it in one day. There really isn't much more i can say except that if "Nefetiti" stoked my Egyptian obsession this one fanned the flames. I'm now on a hunt to read each and every book that takes place in ancient Egypt.5 stars. Bravo Michelle Moran. Bravo!
bolgai reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Nefertari has a shadow hanging over her wherever she goes - she is the niece of the hated heretic Nefertiti, the spare princess allowed to live in the palace but mistrusted by almost everybody. If she wants to marry the love of her life, Ramesses, become queen and ensure her family is eternally remembered she must make the people of Egypt embrace her for who she is and forgive her family's past. But will Nefertari's enemies let that happen? Beginning Moran's second novel I wondered if she would be able to repeat the magic of Nefertiti and give us a different book at the same time. I hoped she would and fortunately she did. Reading the first chapter of this book is like stepping through a gateway between time and place and ending up in ancient Egypt, not a foreigner to whom everything is explained but an observer who doesn't require any special treatment. This is one of the reasons I like Moran's books - there's no explaining. She knows that the readers will make intuitive leaps, they'll understand things from context and there's no need to document every breath. Nefertati is a very interesting character in that her struggle for a place in the royal dynasty happens when she's not even 17 years old but she is no longer a child. She is intelligent, honest, hard-working, loyal and admirably courageous. She makes difficult decisions and she doesn't complain when things are hard. It would be so easy for her to become bitter and angry when everybody seems to be against her, when her enemies are too strong and dangerous and when the people won't accept her but she retains her kindness and compassion and keeps going, becoming only more determined as she moves towards her goals. The secondary characters are very interesting as well and I grew fond of Nefertari's friends and teachers. They are kind but don't let things go to her head and they complement her very nicely. One might argue that the characters are too one-dimensional in their being either good or evil but somehow they never feel that way. There's always humanity in Iset, Rahotep and even Henuttawi while Merit, Paser and Woserit have their own demons to fight. You just know that things aren't all that simple. I really enjoyed watching the relationship between Nefertari and Ramesses unfold. They started out as friends, then fell in love and married and theirs was a true partnership of two like minds working to achieve the same goals. Things weren't easy for them but they were in it together and reading about them was so pleasant, especially when outside of their chambers the court was so full of intrigue and deceit. The court intrigues are really the only thing that soured the experience for me (I don't like the politics that come with life at the very top) but without it all the story wouldn't have been realistic so I suppose we couldn't have done without them. One of my favorite messages in this book is that intelligence is more valuable than the most dazzling good looks. As Nefertari said "Her beauty might fascinate men, but it was difficult to charm them when she stood mute..." I think that in today's culture that's all about beauty and youth we often forget that a pretty face isn't everything.If you like a well-written historical novel that's told in a clear, simple and warm voice but is never dull I think you'll enjoy this book.
christi0lenz reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I loved this book. It gave me a whole new perspective of this time period in history.
ojos11 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Awesome. Love the stories, all the turns it takes for Nefertitti to become queen and specially her relationship with Woserit.
shifrack00 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Wonderful, a powerful author
readingwithmartinis reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Egypt in the time of the pharaohs totally fascinates me and is one of my most favorite historical fiction periods. Michelle Moran’s writing of this novel was masterful. Her prose was elegant, the attention to detail exquisite, and the characters were so alive that they felt completely alive.I was not familiar with Nefertari before reading this novel, but reading this novel made me research her to see how the real historical figure measured up to Moran’s portrayal. Moran definitely captured the love affair between Nefertari and Ramesses. There are tablets, buildings, and ancient documents dedicated to Nefertari by Ramesses that proclaim his love for her. The love story was such a huge part of this novel and Moran wrote it with tact, grace, and passion.Related to the love story aspect is Nefertari’s struggle to catch Ramesses’ eye and ascend to the position of queen. This is the part of the story where Moran weaves palace intrigue, deception, and a glimpse of what life was life for a woman during this time trying to stake her place in a system designed by and operated by men.I loved this book. I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction.

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