Sphinx's Princess (Princesses of Myth Series)

( 123 )

Overview

She was far more than just a pretty face. . . .

Although Nefertiti is the dutiful daughter of a commoner, her inquisitive mind often gets her into situations that are far from ordinary, like receiving secret lessons from a scribe. And her striking beauty garners attention that she'd just as soon avoid, especially when it's her aunt, the manipulative Queen Tiye, who has set her sights on Nefertiti. The queen wants to use her niece as a pawn in her quest for power, so Nefertiti ...

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Sphinx's Princess (Princesses of Myth Series)

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Overview

She was far more than just a pretty face. . . .

Although Nefertiti is the dutiful daughter of a commoner, her inquisitive mind often gets her into situations that are far from ordinary, like receiving secret lessons from a scribe. And her striking beauty garners attention that she'd just as soon avoid, especially when it's her aunt, the manipulative Queen Tiye, who has set her sights on Nefertiti. The queen wants to use her niece as a pawn in her quest for power, so Nefertiti must leave her beloved family and enter a life filled with courtly intrigue and danger. But her spirit and mind will not rest as she continues to challenge herself and the boundaries of ancient Egyptian society. With control of a kingdom at stake and threats at every turn, Nefertiti is forced to make choices and stand up for her beliefs in ways she never imagined.

As she did in Nobody's Princess and Nobody's Prize, author Esther Friesner offers readers a fresh look at an iconic figure, blending historical fiction and mythology in a heady concoction.


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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
This is the fictionalized story of Nefertiti, here taken to be the daughter of Ay, whose sister Tiye is Pharaoh's queen. Narrated in Nefertiti's first-person voice, the novel depicts her as intensely curious and confident enough to compare herself to divine Isis. She persuades the scribe Henenu to teach her the secret arts of reading and writing. She talks back to her father. She is aggravated by the circumscribed life she's required to live. She finds inspiration in the story of Hatshepsut who ruled as Pharaoh over the Black Land. In a vision of Isis, the goddess jests with Nefertiti and seems to validate her desire to learn to read. The story moves from an awakening event, the killing of a slave girl, through the family's encounter with the Great Royal Wife Tiye to life in the court at Thebes. When Nefertiti is pressured to comply with her royal aunt's scheming, she has to face her own destiny and learn how to stand up for her beliefs. A few scenes like one in which she learns how to drive a chariot seem a little too tidily placed. The third part of the novel begins to tiptoe quite surely into the historical narrative that is accepted about Nefertiti, pointing subtly to roles she is generally thought to have assumed later in her life. In effect, the book crafts a bridge between a scant historical record and girl readers' interest in princesses, raising the stakes through minor characters including the cat Ta-Miu and through the protagonist's fierce desire for independence. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Nefertiti is a bright, beautiful, graceful child, indulged by her prosperous and influential family. She is also willful and independent, learning to read and write at a time when women are not expected to do so. But when she is summoned to the court of her uncle, Pharaoh Amenhotep III, she is stunned to learn that her fate has been decided for her—she is to marry her cousin, the crown prince, even though she doesn't know him, and as she gets to know him, she doesn't like him. Nefertiti uses her wits and skills, and forges alliances in the shady recesses of the palace at Thebes in order to take matters into her own hands. Certain liberties appear to have been taken with the birth order of Pharaoh's children, but in most other respects, the story is carefully constructed so as to fit plausibly into Nefertiti's story, about which little is known until she marries Akhenaten. In some instances, Nefertiti also seems suspiciously modern in attitude—she is extremely democratic in her relations with her servants and slaves, and occasionally lapses into 21st-century language. The architecture, dress, food, and court life of Egypt during the New Kingdom are described in moderate detail. Readers who enjoyed the "Royal Diaries" books (Scholastic) will welcome this novel.—Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
Kirkus Reviews
Friesner imagines the childhood of legendary queen Nefertiti, as she did for Helen of Troy in Nobody's Princess (2007) and Nobody's Prize (2008). Here she weaves the little information known with various historians' theories and a definite sense of contemporary tween/teen princess fantasies. This Nefertiti may be a little too good to be true-she dances! She's smart! She's kind to slaves! She's impossibly beautiful-and a little too modern to please true history buffs. However, the first-person, past-tense narration, laced with the glamour of ancient Egypt (painted friezes, paper-thin linen, beautiful jewelry) and topped with a dollop of tension (Nefertiti is engaged to Pharaoh's cold, possibly mad oldest son but falls for his kind brother instead) makes for an undemanding but satisfying foray into a time and place not often written about. The rare reader who knows Nefertiti's later role in creating a new religion will see the clues being laid; most will just enjoy the ancient princess who reads and writes, drives chariots and always looks fantastic. (map, afterword) (Historical fantasy. 11 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375856556
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/24/2010
  • Series: Princesses of Myth Series
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 187,498
  • Age range: 12 - 16 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.44 (w) x 11.06 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Esther Friesner

Nebula Award winner Esther Friesner is the author of more than 30 novels and over 150 short stories. She is also the editor of numerous popular anthologies. She is married, is the mother of two, harbors cats, and lives in Connecticut.

You can visit Esther at www.sff.net/people/e.friesner/

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Read an Excerpt

Gathering Magic almost a year after I tamed my dream-lions, during the Festival of the Inundation, my life began to change as surely as the rising river changes the deepest heart of the Black Land.

The Inundation is always a season of wild rejoicing. It’s the time when the god Hapy, fat and generous, makes the river overflow its banks to bring new life to the farmlands. A good flood means a good harvest, a good harvest means we’ll have more than enough to eat, that our Pharaoh’s reign is blessed, and that the gods love us.

That year, when I was five, the priests of every temple in the city observed the rising of the Nile and declared that their prayers had given us a good flood and a fine harvest to come. All Akhmin filled the streets to celebrate the event with music, dance, song, feasting, and gladness. Sunlight flashed from the brilliantly painted walls of the temples and the enameled gold necklaces, bracelets, and earrings of the highborn men and women. The air was filled with a wonderful jumble of delicious scents from many food vendors. Everyone seemed to be laughing. Father carried me on his shoulders so that I could have a clear view of the festivi- ties. I was pleased to be able to see everything from up so high, but when I caught sight of the older girls dancing, singing, and playing their harps, rattles, and tambourines, I squirmed like a fresh-caught fish.

“What’s the matter with you, my little bird?” Father asked, grabbing my ankles when I wriggled so hard that I nearly fell off his shoulders.

“I want to get down!” I cried. “I want to dance, too!”

He chuckled, but he didn’t let me go. “You’re not a bird anymore; you’re a kitten, wanting to pounce on anything that catches your eye. Well, little kitten, this dance is to please the gods and to thank them for all that they’ve given us. It’s a sacred thing, not a game for little girls to play at. If you want to dance for the gods someday, you will, but not now. When you’re older.”

His voice was always loud, a trait he’d kept from his days commanding Pharaoh’s troops on the battlefield. One of the dancers who was waiting her turn to perform overheard him and left her group to approach us. I gasped when I saw her: She was so beautiful! Next to her, my dearly loved Mery would have looked like a little brown hen beside a long-limbed, dark-eyed gazelle. The dancer’s eyes were artfully outlined with black kohl, the lids glittering green as the reeds along the Nile, and her lips were tinted the rich red of sunset. I stared, fascinated by the dozens of gold charms adorning her tightly braided wig, but when she smiled at me and offered me her tambourine, I worshipped her with gratitude.

While I bounced on Father’s shoulders, beating the little instrument with more enthusiasm than skill, she talked to him. At first I paid no attention to their conversation, but I soon began to feel Father’s back growing straighter and straighter, his shoulders tensing.

“That will be enough, my darling,” he said, reaching up to still my hands. “Give the tambourine back to this young woman now and thank her.” I wondered why his voice sounded so strained, the way it did whenever I’d done something wrong that was too serious for him to laugh off.

“Why so eager to be gone?” the dancer drawled, glancing up at Father from beneath lowered eyelids. “She can play with the tambourine a while longer. The child has talent as well as beauty. You should stay at least long enough to see me dance. I promise you, you won’t regret it.” She gave him a strange little half-smile.

I didn’t know what the stranger was trying to do, giving my father such odd, sidelong looks; I just knew that he didn’t like it and neither did I. “I’m done,” I announced abruptly, handing back the tambourine. “Thank you very much. I want to go home now.”

I saw the dancer’s lovely face turn ugly in an instant. She snatched the tambourine from my hands and muttered something under her breath. The only words I could make out were “that child . . . spoiled.”

“I didn’t spoil anything!” I protested as Father carried me off.

“And you never could,” he said fondly. “So let’s not spoil this happy day by going home too soon. There are still plenty of things to see and taste and try. Now tell me the truth, my kitten: Do you really want to go home, or did you just want to go away from that sharp-faced little dancer?”

“Away,” I said. I took a deep breath and added: “I’m sorry.”

“What for?” Father exclaimed. “For not liking her? That makes two of us.”

“But I should have liked her,” I said. “She was beautiful, and she was kind to me. She let me play her tambourine, and she said nice things about me.”

“My sweet one, beauty and favors and flattery don’t have anything to do with whether or not you should like someone. Affection isn’t something you can buy, not if it’s real. You still like Mery even when she scolds you, right?”

“I love Mery,” I said loyally. “Even if she’s not as pretty as that dancer. She was much prettier than Mery, wasn’t she, Father?”

“Hrmph.” Father coughed into his fist, or at least it sounded like a cough. “I don’t think so.”

“You don’t?” What was wrong with Father, saying something like that? Mery was nice-looking, but nowhere near as lovely as the dancer.

“No, I don’t,” he said firmly. “Anyway, there are more important things than beauty, dearest.”

“But she was prettier than Mery, wasn’t she?” I insisted.

“Let’s not worry about pretty and prettier,” Father said hastily. “And we won’t bother Mery with this. Besides, when you’re near, all the other girls look like old crocodiles. Now let’s go enjoy ourselves!” He broke into a brisk jog that made me shriek with delight as we raced back to the festival.

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Table of Contents

Map ix

Prologue 1

Part I Akhmin

1 Gathering Magic 13

2 The Scribe 33

3 She-Who-Writes 48

4 Shadows on the River 65

5 The House of Isis 85

6 A Word Can Change the World 108

Part II Abydos

7 Meetings in Abydos 125

8 Great Royal Wife 141

Part III Thebes

9 Farewells and Greetings 161

10 Family Secrets 180

11 The Knife and the Reed 201

12 Two Princes 225

13 Whispers 253

14 Walking on Feathers 275

15 The Devourer of Souls 292

16 Trial 315

17 Monsters from the Shadows 328

18 Dawn 351

Afterword 367

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 123 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(90)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 123 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    a new beginning

    Nefertiti is not a princess but her father is the sister of the Royal Wife to the Pharaoh. When Queen Tiye hears about Nefertiti's beauty, she's determined to make her a Princess in order to marry her first born son. She orders Nefertiti's family to her side where she manipulates the family into giving Nefertiti's hand in marriage. There is a catch, Nefertiti will not marry for three years, but in that time she must reside in the royal household. Sadness overwhelms her as she says goodbye to her family, not knowing when she'll ever see them again. She moves into the women's suite where she's given a comfortable room. The other women in the suite are junior wives of the Pharaoh. Due to Queen Tiye's paranoia, she's not allowed to communicate with any of them. Instead, her loneliness threatens her state of mind. Before long, she begins to take secret scribing lessons again. While Nefertiti rarely spends any time with her betrothed, a cold man, she enjoys his brother's company greatly. He teaches her how to drive a chariot and shows her around the city. But when Nefertiti's betrothed learns of this, he threatens his bride to be. When the Pharaoh leaves the palace for an extended period of time and leaves his first born son in charge, the change in him is overwhelming. Nefertiti can't believe the difference and she just might fall in love with him - but when an accusation comes her way, can he save her?

    An enchanting beginning tale of the strong feisty character of Nefertiti. The cover intrigues me too and it looks very similar to the Nobody YA novels. This historical fiction makes me want to read a biography of Nefertiti to find out more info. A second book is in the works, which is great because this book ends on a cliff hanger

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    sphinx's princess

    This is a great book about Nefertiti. N has to live with her aunt who is the Queen. in three years she has to marry a prince who loves his cat. N becomes friends with the other prince and his sister.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

    Nefertiti is not a princess but her father is the brother of the Royal Wife to the Pharaoh. When Queen Tiye hears about Nefertiti's beauty, she's determined to make her a Princess in order to marry her firstborn son. She orders Nefertiti's family to her side, where she manipulates the family into giving Nefertiti's hand in marriage.

    There is a catch, of course. Nefertiti will not marry for three years, but in that time she must reside in the royal household. Sadness overwhelms her as she says goodbye to her family, not knowing when she'll ever see them again.

    She moves into the women's suite where she's given a comfortable room. The other women in the suite are junior wives of the Pharaoh. Due to Queen Tiye's paranoia, she's not allowed to communicate with any of them. Instead, her loneliness threatens her state of mind.

    Before long, she begins to take secret scribing lessons again. While Nefertiti rarely spends any time with her betrothed, a cold man, she enjoys his brother's company greatly. He teaches her how to drive a chariot and shows her around the city. But when Nefertiti's betrothed learns of this, he threatens his bride-to-be.

    When the Pharaoh leaves the palace for an extended period of time and leaves his firstborn son in charge, the change in him is overwhelming. Nefertiti can't believe the difference, and she just might fall in love with him. But when an accusation comes her way, can he save her?

    An enchanting beginning tale of the strong feisty character of Nefertiti left me wanting to read more; the cliffhanger ending leaves me anxiously awaiting the next installment about this fascinating woman.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2013

    fabu!!!! i love it!!!

    fabu!!!!

    i love it!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2011

    Never received book

    I never received this book. It was out of stock and my order was cancelled.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2011

    MUST READ!!!!

    This is one of my favorite books!!! I love Nefertiti's strong character and how ancient Egypt is portrayed. When I finished it, I had to go out and buy the next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2011

    Very good

    Highly recommended

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    Megan

    loved it can't wait to read the next one

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Must Have This Book!!!

    This was an amazing book. One of my favorites. I know it might look boring, but it's not in any way. it's filled with adventure, jealousy, hatred, love, friendship, trust, mysteries, questions and more. i would recommend this book for children 13 and older. because some things in the book, younger children might not understand. There is nothing inappropriate in this book.*

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Ive read this book and i thought it was amazing loved it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Bad Buy

    I picked up this book, hoping that it would be a (finally!) anceint egypt book for young adults. I was sadly mistaken. The main narration and narrator is boring and unlike able, the cahracters are one demensional and the historical inaccuracies kill the historian in me. I couldn't get past the third chapter without tossing this book away.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2013

    Anonymous

    I had to read this book for my history class and at first I thought I wouldnt like it. But when i finjshed it i was all like wow that was awesome!!!! I totaly am reading the sequal also want to read herother books in the series

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I really liked it :)

    It was really good It had mystery, romance, suspense, dramatic plot twists, a powerful's female subject, and engrossing details of life in ancient Egypt!! :D Loved the book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Great

    If you read the bad revew their as stupid as crap this amazing book changed my life the first few chapters were ah but the rest was amazing.Definate read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

    This book was great!

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2013

    Back in March I first borrowed Sphinx's Princess but I wasn't ab

    Back in March I first borrowed Sphinx's Princess but I wasn't able to get to it in time before it had to go back to the library. Story of my life...however last week I saw it while browsing the shelves at my local library branch and decided to give it another shot and am I ever so glad that I did.



    Sphinx's Princess was an amazing young adult historical fiction novel written by the ever popular Esther M. Friesner. When I first started the book I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. Though Danica from Taking it One Page at a Time's review of it made me really curious. I thought that maybe it would be a light and fluffy attempt at young adult historical with no substance but I was completely wrong.



    I have always had a love for Egyptian history and so hat is what initially drew me to this novel and I'm really glad I gave it a try. Like I said before I was a little concerned that the book would be a fluff piece but it really wasn't. From the first page it was evident that the author Esther Friesner had to have done an enormous amount of research to be able to pen this book. She was able to create a wonderful atmosphere for her novel by researching the historical figures that she used in this book as well as researching the day to day life of people in ancient Egypt including customs, religion and how they dressed as well as knowing quite a bit about the politics at the time. I was so pleased with the amount detail that went into the book because it helped me immerse myself in the story and it was as though I was actually there with our protagonist Nefertiti on her journey from a small child to a beautiful young woman with the gift of words.

    The way that all of that rich historical detail fit in with the overall story of Nefertiti's change from being a toddler to a young woman called to court by her Aunt Tiye The Great Royal Wife to marry her son the Crowned Prince Thutmose. It added that extra substance to the story because it made it feel as though the story was playing out right in front of me. I loved the story line of the novel. Nefertiti has always interested me and while this is a fictional account of her early life it is still based upon a lot of fact.

    What impressed me the most though was how well written the over all story was and the creation of the characters. I think that Nefertiti is probably one of my favourite bookish heroines of 2012 and one of my favourite heroines over all. She had a lot of spirit and had a lot of inner strength. This becomes especially apparent that this was true when she stands up to her Aunt Tiye and refuses to marry Thutmose until 3 years have passed. However, Aunt Tiye respects her a lot for her decision and outwardly acquiesce to her nieces decision but this doesn't stop her from trying to hasten the marriage along.

    While she's dined in the lap of luxury at the royal palace Nefertiti's world begins to unravel as treacherous plots are uncovered, accusations are made and death sentences are passed out like tick tacs and acts of betrayal become common place. Despite these hardships the bright Nefertiti still has friends in high places and just maybe, maybe things will work out for the better. Friesner depicted all of these things incredibly well for a young adult novel where such things may be passed over and not really delved into but she got right in there and even wrote the less favourable extremely well and I think that added a lot more substance to the novel.

    Overall, I thought the novel was great. There way the author used historical figures as characters in her novel was great. She aptly depicted the trials and tribulations of daily life in Ancient Egypt and wrote an incredibly well penned novel about the early life of one of the most famous queens in all of history. There was action, romance, mystery, inrigue, betrayal and murder which I think will allow this book to appeal to a wide audience of readers. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction especially if you have a love for ancient Egypt and young adult fiction and want a kick ass heroine. This book is one of my favourite books of 2012 and I can't wait to start the sequel to this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    Wonderful! Thrilling!

    I would tell anyone to read this book! This book deserves a 2nd read

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  • Posted July 20, 2012

    If you're a history-geek like me, this book may make you cringe

    If you're a history-geek like me, this book may make you cringe at first. However, it is a fairly good read. The story itself, disregarding the true facts of Nefertiti, is very entertaining and easy to get into. It really sets you into this girl's life and makes you want to know more. At the same time, I think the story takes a little while to start off. I love to hear the back story of characters, but a few chapters of it is a bit much. There is something so simple about Esther Friesner's writing, and yet beautiful too. It is a good read that I recommend to those inerested in Ancient Egypt or adventures, but I warn that it is not to be taken as fact.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Fabulous

    This was a fantastic book! I read Nobody's Princess and Nobody's Prize and I really enjoyed them, but I liked this book even better! I'm going to be a junior and I would recommend this book to any age group. It is very clean amd very enjoyable. It had just the right mix of plot, romance, and action. It's a quick read but totally worth your time!!

    ~MFJ

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    Thutmose!

    That little two faced a**hole!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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