Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Review: Daughter of the God-King by Anne Cleeland


The Cursed Tombs of Egypt Hold Many Secrets…

Miss Hattie Blackhouse has never been close to her parents… and no wonder, since the Blackhouses are renowned scholars who spend most of their time excavating ancient tombs in Egypt. But news of their disappearance forces Hattie to leave England and embark on a voyage that will reveal the long-buried secrets of her past. An encrypted senet board and a gold medallion lead Hattie ona perilous quest to track down her missing parents-and discover why people associated with the Blackhouses continue to turn up dead. What she uncovers is a secret that could alter the course of history…

Filled with intrigue, romance, and ancient secrets, Anne Cleeland's thrilling novel takes you on an unforgettable Egyptian adventure.

Sourcebooks Landmark | November 5, 2013 | 368 pages | ISBN: 140227985X

My Review

Daughter of the God-King takes places in the early 19th century, at the time of the Congress of Vienna and Napoleon’s exile on the Isle of Elba. The novel’s heroine, Hattie Blackhouse, is the daughter of famous Egyptologists who are always off exploring the Valley of the Kings while she passes the time in remote, uneventful Cornwall. When her parents go missing after discovering the tomb of an Egyptian princess, Hattie sets out for Egypt in an attempt to uncover the truth behind their disappearance. But Hattie soon learns that there is much more to her parents’ disappearance than meets the eye, and she quickly finds herself the centre of various intrigues.

While Daughter of the God-King is a quick-paced historical adventure with a spirited heroine, the stated premise of the novel – Hattie’s quest to discover the fate of her parents – often takes a backseat to the story’s romantic subplot. This subplot focuses on Hattie’s budding relationship with Monsieur Berry, a man who worked for her parents. Given that very little about Berry is revealed even by the novel’s end, he fails to come across as an appealing romantic lead. Though there is much to like about Hattie, her lack of emotion over the disappearance and presumed death of her parents is off-putting, especially given her focus on her romantic entanglements instead. As a result, the reader may, at times, feel little sympathy for her. The various political intrigues that form part of the novel’s plot are interesting, although much more could have been done with them.

Although certain aspects of Daughter of the God-King didn’t work as well for me as I’d hoped, I think readers looking for historical adventure that includes a prominent romantic storyline will enjoy this novel.

Note: This review first appeared in Historical Novels Review (Issue 66, November 2013).  I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

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