Christian Jacq, author of the international triumphs Ramses and The Stone of Light, brings the people and passions of ancient Egypt to life in an enthralling epic novel in three volumes.
Egypt is a shadow of its former self. An army of barbarians mounted on horse-drawn chariots has swept through the Empire, destroying everything in its path. Known as the Hyksos, these "leaders from foreign lands" have reduced the country of the pharaohs to slavery. Only the city of Thebes resists, protected by the widow of the last pharaoh, Teti the Small. But Teti knows that her reign is limited, that it's only a matter of time before her men succumb to the barbarities of the cruel Hyksos. She has an eighteen-year-old daughter, however: Ahhotep. Fierce, beautiful, and courageous, this girl whom history will call "Egypt's Joan of Arc" will never accept defeat. And so she decides to re-ignite the flame of Egyptian resistance. All by herself.
Combining historical fact with a vivid imagination, Christian Jacq tells the enthralling true story of this Ancient Egyptian warrior-heroine. Without the courage and passion of Queen Ahhotep, the Valley of the Kings and the glorious treasures of the pharaohs, including Ramses the Great, would never have existed.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: Huge disappointment Comment: After reading 'Ramses' 5 books I was salivating on hope of another extra ordinary book by Mr. Jacq on ancient Egypt. However, this book is a huge disappointment. 'The Empire of Darkness' is set during the time when Egypt was ruled by Hyksos (people from the sea) and the remnants of Pharaoic Egypt had been represented by Queen Ahhotep and her husband Seqen in Thebes. It's the story of war of independence. It could be fascinating when comparing with so many historical wars of independence in not so distant past in Europe, Africa or Asia. But this book is nothing like a good historical or political thriller. It's more like a light adventure mixing or omitting historical facts. This book is far from what Mr. Jacq achieved in 'Ramses' series. The language is very simple (maybe this is just the issue of translation?), descriptions of country and main characters are very dubious, and the flow of the sory not that exctiting. If you really want to read a great historical book on Hyksos invasion and Egypt's struggle for independence, get 'Lords of the Two Lands' by Pauline Gedge. Customer Rating: Summary: Translating Issue? Comment: This story does not flow as well as some of Jacq's other work, but that may be less a fault of the story and more the problem of a disappointing translation. Customer Rating: Summary: Easy-Going Historical Fiction... Comment: I often find myself mentally escaping to Hatschepsut's Temple and the Valley of the Kings and Queens in reading this book...
This is easy-going beach/holiday fiction. His descriptions of how the historical characters looked aren't the quintessence of accuracy, but it is readable nonetheless.
If you fancy Egyptology, historical fiction or a just plain easy read, go for this piece. And if you are mystified by this part of the world and trilogies, it makes it even better. Customer Rating: Summary: It's no Ramses... Comment: Christian Jacq's trilogy opener, `The Empire of Darkness' is set in 1690B.C, covering a decade during the time known as the Second intermediate period. It is, as the title suggests, a period of darkness in Pharaonic Egypt, with the Two Lands beset by the Hyksos invaders who have achieved their conquest with the introduction of the horse and chariot to the military technology. As a result the only nominally free city is that of Thebes were the aging Queen Teti rules without her Pharoah, but her headstrong daughter, Ahhotep seeks to raise the resistance and vanquish the invaders. At her side, comes the common-born Seqen and her guard dog, Laughter. The former quickly declares his love as they seek to garner some support for their rebellion and becomes her husband and Pharoah. Ahhotep dedicates her cause to Mut and is blessed by the Eygyptian Gods. The Hyksos are represented by the evil Apophis, his henchman Khamudi and their wives, who enjoy torturing, murdering and suppressing the Eygptians, the resistance grassroots by the wily Afghan and his growing band of rebels. However, a sympathetic Hyksos appointed overlord, Emheb, ensures that Ahhotep and Seqen are able to maintain the facade of Thebes' subservience throughout the years whilst secretly removing all the Hyksos sympathizers and creating a small army with which to strike back. By the end of the first novel, they have two strong children and eventually cast off their cloak of meekness to attack and defeat the Hyksos in two river and then one land battle, the last ultimately costing the Pharaoh his life. Nevertheless we are set up the for the next two novels for Ahhotep to continue her liberation of Egypt. As ever Jacq's style is very limited and punchy and his novels would benefit from more `fill'. It is as though he wants to move from key scene to key scene as quickly as possible and, as such, there is little character empathy or even understandable reason for their actions most of the time. Indeed the entire novel is screenplay in its effort. Nevertheless, this has been Jacq's style (or the style of Dyson, the translator) for most of his novels now, so it is to be expected. For now, novelisation of historical Egypt is dominated by Jacq's prolific pen, but there is room for substantial improvement. Customer Rating: Summary: Perhaps Egyptï¿½s Greatest Queen Comment: Before the great Pharaoh Ramses II and the renowned Queen Cleopatra VII, Egypt was liberated by Queen Ahhotep of Thebes. Known as the Egyptian "Joan of Arc", Queen Ahhotep led the resistance that would restore Egypt to its former glory. Mounted with a new weapon of war the horse-drawn chariot the barbarian hoard known as the Hyksos lead by its Emperor Apophis would invade Eygpt and subjected it to a century of despair and slavery.
A rich and prosperous country Egypt had known tranquility until the 18th century B.C. when it experienced its first major foreign invasion by a collaboration of peoples known as the Hyksos. The Hyksos were able to overrun Egypt by using an animal unknown to them at the time called a horse. In addition, the Hyksos used wheeled chariots that could carry up to four soldiers during battle and threw bronze-headed spears. Turning the Egyptian populace into slaves, the Hyksos displayed unfathomable ways of torture and cruelty bleeding the land dry of resources and wealth. With its military headquarters established in the Delta city of Avaris only the small island city of Thebes remained free of the ruthless tyrant Apophis's reach. Thebes under the rule of Queen Teti the Small was seen as unchallenging to the occupation. Unable to lead the battle of resistance herself her eighteen year old daughter Princess Ahhotep took up the reigns. Now as Queen Ahhotep established the resistance that would return freedom and reunification to Egypt. By her side in battle was her husband the Pharaoh Seqen-en-Ra whose head was horribly disfigured during an attack in war. Queen Ahhotep preserved the Pharaoh Seqen's memory of bravery by having him mummified without removing traces of his wounds.
This is the first volume of the Queen of Freedom trilogy. Queen Ahhotep's sons Prince Kames and Prince Ahmose continue the battle of this true history.