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The Eloquent Scribe (The Sitehuti & Nefer-Djenou-Bastet Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B01N7DWM7G
- Publisher : Per Bastet Publications (December 2, 2016)
- Publication date : December 2, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 3145 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 306 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #495,482 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Ancient Egypt is so unlike our own era that it’s easy to lapse into formality and stiffness when writing about it. After all, the art of the time is quite formal and unrealistic, and the religious practices have little in common with ours of the present day. However, Harris makes the setting believable while at the same time letting us know things are different by the judicious use of description. We can feel what life might have been like in the oasis on the banks of the Nile. She has in effect created a conworld based on a historical period of our own planet. The characters speak in a relaxed manner, at times even indulging in a bit of modern slang, but not so much that it seems unnatural. One can imagine that it’s a translation of the jargon used in ancient Egypt.
I particularly liked some of the descriptive metaphors. The cat “sprawled on his back with his legs splayed wide to catch the most sunshine. He looked like he’d been squashed by a sledge.” And again, “I was feeling small, lonely and a little like a solitary clay bead in a big rattle.”
And then the cat – the big, spotted Sacred Cat Nefer-Djenou-Bastet from the Temple of Bast, who adopts our young scribe Sitehuti for no reason anyone can discern. Neffi is a wonderful cat, with special powers of prescience. He made me think a little bit of Santa Claus (maybe just because I was reading this over Christmas!) – you better watch out because Neffi knows if you’ve been bad or good and he will take appropriate action! And yet he behaves like a real cat most of the time, preferring to drink out of a footbath rather than out of his pristine water bowl. Anybody who likes cats will take delight in this tale!
Some readers may be put off by the complex and interrelated names, but that didn’t bother me, since I write conlangs and always enjoy names. I’m sure the author did extensive research and I would have liked to see a glossary included, giving the meanings of the names.
The only thing that disappointed me a little was the end, which just sort of petered out without any punch. I had thought there might be a cliff-hanger in preparation for another book in the series, but that didn’t happen; the story just sort of stopped. However, I’m sure there will be more tales about the young scribe Sitehuti and the Sacred Cat Neffi, and I’m looking forward to reading them.
This is a cozy, so depending on your mood you may figure out the bad guys, but the story is good. People who don't like cozies, this is not a book for you.
A bit better proofreading would be good. But this was not so much of a problem as to pull me out of the story. I will buy the next few, based on this.
He makes far too many references to people saying things like: "get this animal out of here" "get this animal away from me", and so on......unimaginable in ancient Egypt where cats were revered and where once a Roman was killed by a mob for killing a cat!
THAT is an anachronistic aberration that is impossible to overlook. For a book in which the cat is (one assumes!) one of the main characters, he is seen through "modern" eyes.......that is, through the eyes of people descended from 1000 years of European "Dark Ages" in which cats were associated with witches and the devil and were often burned alive and tortured in other ways. (Some historians think the link between cats being worshipped in Egypt is HOW and WHY the ancient Europeans feared and hated them! ).
I would not expect ancient Egyptians to have any negative attitudes toward cats, but that is seen over and over in this book. Therefore, I had to quit reading the book about half way through......just couldn't accept the "cat haters", "cat fearers" which kept appearing!!!
I am buying the second book immediately!!
Has good character development a lot of good humor. there is also a collection of three short stories by the same author which is also worth
reading. As the Author is also an Egyptologist the reader can also learn bits about ancient Egyptian Culture
Top reviews from other countries
In T Lee Harris’ latest Egyptian novel, The Eloquent Scribe, titular apprentice Sitehuti is drawn into a manhunt for a missing fellow scribe, which turns into a full-on murder mystery.
Thanks to his feline sidekick, sacred temple cat Nefer-Djenou-Bastet, Sitehuti becomes an official, if undercover, investigator with his own personal, furry bodyguard.
Characters from history step down from the tomb paintings and come to life in a vividly modern way, as we meet the great Pharaoh Ramesses and his extended and factional family; and everyday Egyptian life is painted with the subtlest strokes of Harris’ pen so that the reader is immersed in a very real world, peopled with strong personalities.
Fans of Lindsey Davis’ Roman amateur sleuth Marcus Didius Falco, and anyone who enjoys a good historical whodunnit, will thoroughly enjoy this well constructed and gripping story.
Reviewed in Canada on February 1, 2020