Eye of the Moon by Dianne Hofmeyr
|Eye of the Moon by Dianne Hofmeyr|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A fun and exciting historical adventure with strong, if anachronistic, female characters and enjoyable for both boys and girls. There's a lot of good historical detail artfully woven through a pacy narrative.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: March 2008|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books|
Isikara is the daughter of an expert embalmer. After an horrific accident in which her brother, Katep, loses an arm to a crocodile, she becomes his assistant. When they are called to an embalming by Mosret, the chief of priests himself, even the inexperienced Kara knows that someone very important has died. The very important someone turns out to be none other than Queen Tiy herself, murdered by poison, and her oldest son Tuthmosis is in grave danger of a similar fate. Kara finds herself on the run with this prince of Egypt, trying to get help to return him to his rightful place on the throne of Thebes.
It's a good time for Egyptian adventure stories, what with the Tutankhamun exhibition about to hit London. Those interested in Egyptology could certainly do a lot worse than pick up Eye of the Moon. Adventure-wise, it's fairly run of the mill, but it isn't a bad mill, is it? Children love pace and high-octane thrills and Eye of the Moon certainly has plenty of those - crocodiles, snakes, nomads, mercenaries, battles; it's all here. There are some of the seemingly inevitable anachronistic sensibilities, particularly in the romantic sub-plots, but we'll allow that sacrifice in return for two incredibly strong female characters.
What Eye of the Moon has in spades is accurate and interesting historical detail woven deftly into the narrative without a shred of exposition in sight. We're taken on a tour of embalming and how mummies are made, on religious rites and rituals, of the social hierarchy and - more unusually - of the ways in which the Ancient Egyptians waged war. I actually got the answer to a question I'd researched the net for and failed to find just a week or two ago - why did the Egyptians carry back severed hands as spoils of war? You don't know? I'll tell you. They amputated the hands (or fingers) of archers, perhaps not so much as spoils of war, but as a preventative measure. Makes more sense now, doesn't it?
I like all things ancient history, and I really did enjoy reading Eye of the Moon. For the nine to twelve age range, it's a perfect and timely choice. It's interesting to both boys and girls, it's relatively easy to read and it has a wealth of factual detail that never gets in the way of the narrative. Buy it for them, and be sure to take them to the exhibition!
My thanks to the nice people at Simon and Schuster for sending the book.
If they enjoyed this, they might also like Gill Harvey's Orphan of the Sun, a much lighter mystery adventure set against the construction of the pyramids, but with plenty of interesting historical detail.
You can read more book reviews or buy Eye of the Moon by Dianne Hofmeyr at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Eye of the Moon by Dianne Hofmeyr at Amazon.com.
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