Excerpt of Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
(Page 5 of 5)
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When it was clear that Pharaoh would
not take Amunhoteps hand, my father stepped forward, saving the prince
Let your brother be buried, he
The look Amunhotep gave his father
would have turned Anubis cold.
It was only when we returned on barges across the Nile, with the waves to drown our
voices, that anyone dared to speak.
He is unstable, my father pronounced
on our way back to Akhmim. For three generations our family has given
women to the Pharaohs of Egypt. But I will not give one of my daughters
to that man.
I wrapped my wool cloak around my
shoulders. It wasnt me he was talking about. It was my sister, Nefertiti.
If Amunhotep is to be made co-regent
with his father, he will need a Chief Wife, my mother said. It will
be Nefertiti or Kiya. And if it is Kiya
She left the words unspoken, but
we all knew what she had meant to say. If it was Kiya, then the Vizier
Panahesi would have sway in Egypt. It would be easy and logical to make
his daughter queen: Kiya was already married to Amunhotep and nearly three
months pregnant with his child. But if she became Chief Wife our family
would bow to Panahesis, and that would be an unthinkable thing.
My father shifted his weight on his
cushion, brooding while the servants rowed north.
Nefertiti has been told she will
be a royal wife, my mother added. You told her that.
When Tuthmosis was alive! When there
was stability and it looked as if Egypt would be ruled by
closed his eyes.
I watched as the
moon rose over the barge, and when enough time had passed,
I thought it safe to ask, Father, what is Aten?
He opened his eyes. The sun, he
replied, staring at my mother. There were thoughts passing between them,
but no words.
But Amun-Ra is god of the sun.
And Aten is the sun itself, he
I didnt understand. But why would
Amunhotep want to build temples to a sun-god that no one has heard of?
Because if he builds temples to
Aten there will be no need for the Priests of Amun.
I was shocked. He wants to be rid
Yes. my father nodded. And go
against all the laws of Maat.
I sucked in my breath. No one went
against the goddess of truth. But why?
Because the crown prince is weak,
my father explained. Because he is weak and shallow, and you should learn
to recognize men who are afraid of others with power, Mutnodjmet.
My mother threw a sharp glance at
him. It was treason, what my father just said, but there was no one to
hear it above the splash of the oars.
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.