If you are to believe what the viziers say, then Amunhotep
killed his brother for the crown of Egypt.
In the third month of Akhet, Crown Prince Tuthmosis lay in his room in Malkata Palace. A warm wind stirred the curtains of his chamber, carrying with it the desert scents of zaatar and myrrh. With each breeze the long linens danced, wrapping themselves around the columns of the palace, brushing the sun-dappled tiles on the floor. But while the twenty-year-old Prince of Egypt should have been riding to victory at the head of Pharaohs charioteers, he was lying in his bedchamber, his right leg supported by cushions, swollen and crushed. The chariot that had failed him had immediately been burned, but the damage was done. His fever was high and his shoulders slumped. And while the jackal-headed god of death crept closer, Amunhotep sat across the room on a gilded chair, not even flinching when his older brother spat up the wine-colored phlegm that spelled a possible death to the viziers.
When Amunhotep couldnt stand any more of his brothers sickness, he stalked from the chamber and stood on a balcony overlooking Thebes. He crossed his arms over his golden pectoral, watching the farmers with their emmer wheat, harvesting in the heavy heat of the day. Their silhouettes moved across the temples of Amun, his fathers greatest contributions to the land. He stood above the city, thinking of the message that had summoned him from Memphis to his brothers side, and as the sun sank lower he grew besieged by visions of what now might be. Amunhotep the Great. Amunhotep the Builder. Amunhotep the Magnificent. He could imagine it all, and it was only when a new moon rose over the horizon that the sound of sandals slapping against tile made him turn.
Your brother has called you back into his chamber.
Queen Tiye turned her back on her son. Yes.
Excerpted from Nefertiti by Michelle Moran Copyright © 2007 by Michelle Moran. Excerpted by permission of Crown Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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