Pharaoh: A Novel of Ancient Egypt

Pharaoh: A Novel of Ancient Egypt

by Wilbur Smith

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Worldwide #1 bestselling author Wilbur Smith returns to Ancient Egypt in a captivating new novel that will transport you to extraordinary times.


Pharaoh Tamose lies mortally wounded. The ancient city of Luxor is surrounded, All seems lost.

Taita, advisor to the Pharaoh, prepares for the enemy’s final, fatal push. The ex-slave, now


Worldwide #1 bestselling author Wilbur Smith returns to Ancient Egypt in a captivating new novel that will transport you to extraordinary times.


Pharaoh Tamose lies mortally wounded. The ancient city of Luxor is surrounded, All seems lost.

Taita, advisor to the Pharaoh, prepares for the enemy’s final, fatal push. The ex-slave, now general of Tamose’s armies, is never more ingenious than when all hope is dashed. And this is Egypt’s most desperate hour.

With the timely arrival of an old ally, the tide is turned and the Egyptian army feasts upon its retreating foe. But upon his victorious return to Luxor, Taita is seized and branded a traitor. Tamose is dead and a poisonous new era has begun. The new Pharaoh has risen — and he must be stopped…

From the glittering temples of Luxor to the Citadel of Sparta, PHARAOH is an intense and powerful novel magnificently transporting you to a time of threat, blood and glory. Master storyteller, Wilbur Smith, is at the very peak of his powers.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Since the five novels in veteran author Smith's ancient Egypt series have sold nearly 1.5 million print copies in the United States alone, historical fiction fans will welcome the next entry. Series protagonist Taita, the Pharaoh's adviser, is up to his neck in roiling intrigue.
Kirkus Review
Sept. 7, 2016
Smith (Desert God, 2014, etc.) continues the saga of Lord Taita, loyal consigliere to Pharaoh Tamose.Sadly, as Taita drives the last of the invading Hyksos from Egypt, Tamose dies. That’s troublesome for Taita because Tamose’s eldest son and heir is a cowardly, hedonistic pervert who calls himself Utteric Turo the Great. Utteric fears Taita. Utteric is also wary of his own brother, Rameses, next in line for the throne. Utteric betrays them both, but after imprisonment, derring-do, and escape, Taita and Rameses sail to Greece’s Bay of Githion, where they’re assured support from King Hurotas. Hurotas was once Tamose’s Capt. Zaras, an Egyptian officer, later persona non grata because he eloped with Tamose’s sister, Princess Tehuti, after being assigned to escort her to marry Minos of Crete. Tehuti and Hurotas’ beautiful daughter, Princess Serrena of Sparta, is like Taita—intelligent, possessor of warrior skills, master of a mythical blue sword with a ruby pommel—and because she was sired by Apollo, divine. Hurotas and Taita contrive alliances among multiple kings to invade Egypt and overthrow Utteric. These Egyptians seemed fascinated with Greek gods, but the novel skids into standard action territory—all swords, chariots, and magic with palace intrigue and set-piece battles. There’s a Serrena-Rameses magnetic attraction but little other human drama. Smith’s Taita continues to think much of himself—“my abundant charms exquisite...protocol prevailed”—but constant self-appreciation creates an unsympathetic hero. The dialogue doesn’t distract, and characters are generally all good or all bad. The bad die gruesomely while the pace, like Taita’s self-regard, never slackens. A swords-and-sandals action-adventure no worse or better than the first five in Smith’s Egyptian series.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.08(d)

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Meet the Author


As an infant of eighteen months I was struck down by cerebral malaria, delirious for ten days. The doctors told my parents that it was probably better if I died, because if I survived I would be brain damaged. Despite the primitive medical facilities available in Africa in those days, their prognosis proved correct; I survived and am now only mildly crazy. Which is good because you have to be at least slightly crazy to write fiction for a living.

I spent the first years of my life on my father's ranch, so I had as my playground 12,000 hectares (or if you prefer 25,000 acres) of forest, hills and savannah. My companions were the sons of the ranch workers, small black boys with the same interests and preoccupations as myself. Chief amongst these was avoiding the discipline and unreasonable interference of our elders. Armed with our slingshots and accompanied by a pack of mongrels we ranged at large through the bush, hunting and trapping birds and small mammals. These we scorched over a cooking fire and devoured with immense gusto. I returned home as late in the evening as I dared with my bare legs scratched and bloody from the viciously hooked 'wait-a bit' thorns, smelling strongly of wood smoke and dried sweat, and infested with bush ticks.

I was occasionally allowed to ride on the back of my father's pickup truck while he went about the business of a cattleman. Later when he had trained me not to talk too much and not to be “a bloody nuisance”, I was allowed to run with the herders and bring the cattle in for branding and dipping. As I made myself more useful I was gradually allowed to spend more time with him.

My old man was a Victorian father and ran a tight ship. He would not hesitate to pull his belt out of the loops of his trousers and give me taste of the buckle end. That was perfectly all right with me. I usually deserved it, and a few shots across my skinny little buttocks was small price to pay for being close to him. To me he was God on earth, and I worshipped him.

When I turned eight years of age he gave me a .22 Remington repeater rifle. It had belonged to my grandfather before him, and it had 122 notches on its butt. He taught me to shoot it safely and to honour the sportsman's code. Soon there was no more space on the butt for my own notches. It was the start of my lifelong love affair with firearms.

The previous owner of my rifle, my grandfather, possessed a magnificent pair of moustaches only slightly stained with tobacco juice. He could hit his spittoon at five paces without spilling a drop. He could spin a tale to make the eyes of an eight-year-old boy start out of their sockets. In his youth he had been a mighty Nimrod and warrior. He had commanded a Maxim gun team during the Zulu Wars. His name was Courtney James Smith. Later I took his name Courtney for the hero of my first novel, “When the Lion Feeds.”

If my old man was God then my mother was an angel from heaven. She shielded me from my father's rage, until it had cooled. She taught me to love all of nature. She opened my eyes to the beauty of the wild world all around me. She was an artist, and to this day at the age of 93 she still paints beautiful watercolours of trees and animals.

Best of all she loved books. Before I could read myself she taught me to revere books and the written word. Every night she read bed-time stories to me, and these sessions became the highlights of my long exciting days on the ranch.

Through her influence I became a reader myself at a precociously young age. I started with 'Biggles' and 'Just William'. Pretty soon I moved on to the novels of C.S. Forester, Ryder Haggard and John Buchan. From then onwards I always had a well-thumbed book in my pocket.

My father felt that my obsession with books was unnatural and unhealthy. I was forced to become a secret reader. I spent so much time in the outhouse long-drop latrine, where I kept a cache of my favourite books, that my father ordered my mother to administer regular and copious doses of castor oil.