Excerpt from Nefertiti by Michelle Moran, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Nefertiti

A Novel

By Michelle Moran

Nefertiti
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jul 2007,
    480 pages.
    Paperback: May 2008,
    496 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


We walked to the eerie rattle of the sistrums and I watched my golden sandals reflect the dying light. As we ascended the cliffs, I stopped to look down over the land.

“Don’t stop,” my father cautioned. “Keep going.”

We trudged onward through the hills while the animals snorted their way up the rocks. The priests went before us now, carrying torches to light our way as we walked, then the High Priest hesitated, and I wondered if he’d lost his bearing in the night.

“Untie the sarcophagus and free the oxen,” he commanded, and I saw, carved into the face of the cliff, the entrance to the tomb. Children shifted in their beads and women’s bangles clinked together as they passed each other looks. Then I saw the narrow staircase leading down into the earth and understood their fear.

“I don’t like this,” my mother whispered.

The priests relieved the oxen of their burden, heaving the gilded sarcophagus onto their backs. Then my father squeezed my hand to give me courage and we followed our dead prince into his chamber, out of the dying sun and into total darkness.

Carefully, so as not to slip on the rocks, we descended into the slick bowels of the earth, staying close to the priests and their reed-dipped torches. Inside the tomb, the light cast shadows across the painted scenes of Tuthmosis’ twenty years in Egypt. There were women dancing, wealthy noblemen hunting, Queen Tiye serving her eldest son honeyed lotus and wine. I pressed my mother’s hand for comfort and when she said nothing I knew she was offering up silent prayers to Amun.

Below us, the heavy air grew dank and the smell of the tomb became that of shifted earth. Images appeared and disappeared in the flickering torchlight, yellow painted women and laughing men, children floating lotus blossoms along the River Nile. But most fearsome was the blue faced god of the underworld, holding the crook and flail of Egypt. “Osiris,” I whispered, and no one heard.

We kept walking, into the most secretive chambers of the earth, then suddenly we entered a vaulted room and I gasped. This was where all the prince’s earthly treasures were gathered; painted barges, golden chariots, sandals trimmed in leopard fur. We passed through this room to the innermost burial chamber, and my father leaned close to me and whispered meaningfully, “Remember what I told you.”

Inside the empty chamber Pharaoh and his queen stood side by side. In the light of the torches it was impossible to see anything but their shadowy figures and the long sarcophagus of the departed prince. I stretched out my arms in obeisance and my aunt nodded solemnly at me, remembering my face from her infrequent visits to our family in Akhmim. my father had taken Nefertiti and me to Thebes only once. He kept us away from the palace, from the intrigues and ostentation of the court. Now, in the flickering light of the tomb, I saw that the queen hadn’t changed in the six years since I had last seen her. She was still small and pale. Her light eyes appraised me as I held out my arms and I wondered what she thought of my dark skin and unusual height. I straightened, and the High Priest of Amun opened the Book of the Dead, his voice intoning the words of dying mortals to the gods.

“Let my soul come to me from wherever it is. Come for my soul, O you Guardians of the heavens. May my soul see my corpse, may it rest on my mummified body which will never be destroyed or perish…”

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.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Sailor Twain
by Mark Siegel

Published Mar. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and ambitious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.