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House of Illusions

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Overview

House of Illusions shares the heroine of Lady of the Reeds, Thu, a peasant girl from the village of Aswat. Because she possesses both beauty and wisdom, Thu is chosen and trained at court. She rises in favor only to be betrayed in a court intrigue that threatens her life. House of Illusions opens on Gedge's vividly recreated Egypt, sixteen years after Thu's banishment. Egyptian soldiers returning from missions down the Nile would occasionally pause in the village of Aswat to pray to the god of war, Wepwawet. The ...
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House of Illusions

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Overview

House of Illusions shares the heroine of Lady of the Reeds, Thu, a peasant girl from the village of Aswat. Because she possesses both beauty and wisdom, Thu is chosen and trained at court. She rises in favor only to be betrayed in a court intrigue that threatens her life. House of Illusions opens on Gedge's vividly recreated Egypt, sixteen years after Thu's banishment. Egyptian soldiers returning from missions down the Nile would occasionally pause in the village of Aswat to pray to the god of war, Wepwawet. The stories of the mad woman and her desperate pleas to have her manuscript delivered to Pharaoh are well known to them all. Kamen, a junior officer from Pharaoh's palace guard, is forced to stay a night in the dreaded village of Aswat. Taking pity on Thu, he agrees to deliver her beautifully bound manuscript to Pharaoh. He errs, however, in failing to follow her exact instructions, thus setting in motion a fateful chain of events that ends in a threat to the lives of many, including his own.

Pauline Gedge's historical novels set in ancient Egypt have found millions of fans around the world. This book is the fifth in that illustrious line and is the sequel to House of Dreams, in which Thu, a peasant girl cultivated to become Pharaoh's favorite concubine, is made the scapegoat for a murderous plot against him--and banished to her village, Aswat. 448 pp.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bestselling author Gedge (Child of the Morning) gives historical fiction a good name. In this, her fifth novel set in ancient Egypt, she continues to render immediate the most remote and exotic of historical settings. Lady of the Reeds, Gedge's previous novel, focused on Thu, a peasant girl cultivated to become the pharaoh's favorite concubine, who was banished after her association with a failed plot to murder the pharaoh. It is 16 years later, and Thu's desire for revenge against those who used and abandoned her burns stronger than ever. Living as a peasant along the banks of the Nile, Thu is considered a madwoman because of her frenzied attempts to find someone to carry her story back to the pharaoh. Eventually Kamen, an honorable junior army officer, takes pity on her and agrees to try to deliver her package. He does not suspect that his actions will resuscitate long-buried intrigues and deceits that will threaten Thu's life and also his own. Told in three voicesKamen's; his wise family servant's; and Thu'sthis vivid and absorbing drama of vengeance and vindication, of confession and forgiveness, builds with every page. Gedge's gifts as a storyteller include full-blooded characterizations and vivid detail that brings ancient Egypt gloriously to life. (May) FYI: House of Illusions was originally published in Canada in June 1996.
Kirkus Reviews
Ancient history comes alive and stays that way as Thu, the Egyptian peasant in Lady of the Reeds (1995) who became a pharaoh's concubine and was then banished, now triumphantly vindicates herself.

Like its predecessors, this fifth in a series is set at the height of ancient Egypt's influence. Gedge excels at setting the scene and subtly evoking a sense of the period as she tells a timeless story of greed, love, and revenge—a story that picks up 17 years after Thu has been banished to her native village of Aswat for her part in a plot to murder the Pharaoh Ramses. Kamen, a young soldier and the adopted son of a merchant, now on his way back from Nubia, spends the night in Aswat and is accosted by a blue-eyed woman who asks him to deliver an intricately bound package to the pharaoh. Kamen's companions dismiss the woman as mad, but he himself, not entirely convinced of her madness, agrees to take it. Back in the capital, he hands it over to his commanding general Paiis, and when Paiis realizes what the package contains—Thu's account of the role Paiis and others played in the plot to murder Ramses—he and his co-conspirators act quickly. Kamen is commanded to bring the woman to the city, and so, once again in Aswat, he and Thu narrowly escape an assassin. As Thu seeks a hearing in the capital, she and Kamen are ruthlessly hunted down by the former plotters. Only the intervention of the dying Ramses and his heir saves them. Justice is done, and Thu is not only reunited with her long-lost son but meets up again with the only man she's ever loved—the man who used, deserted, but never forgot her.

Thu is larger than life, and coincidences abound, but Gedge is so splendid a teller of tales that all is forgiven. First-class historical fiction.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143167433
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/21/2010
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,055,683
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2003

    spellbound

    Lady of the Reeds and House of Illusions are two fantastic books. House of Illusions was a book I could hardly stand to put down. I can not wait for another Pauline Gedge book to be published.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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