Sunday, May 1, 2011

Princess of the Two Lands by Lois M. Parker

book cover

Princess of the Two Lands
by Lois M. Parker

ISBN: 0812700880
Trade Paperback: 126 pages
Publisher: Southern Publishing Association
Released: 1975

Source: Personal library.

Book Description from Back Cover (modified):
Fearful whispers sweep the length of the land of Egypt. Moses is back. Moses--whose name was not to be spoken, whose name the Egyptian rulers had obliterated from the nation's monuments and records. Scota, the daughter of a minor wife of the Pharaoh, is excited but she also feels a vague sense of dread at the news brought to her father by the handsome general of the Egyptian armies.

The nation is caught between Moses, who brings the demand of his God that Pharaoh let His people go, and a Pharaoh who refuses to release them. Princess Scota is torn between her loyalty to her father, her fear of the priests of Amon-Re who want her for their temple, and the might of Moses' God.

My Review:
Princess of the Two Lands is a Middle Grade biblical/historical novel. It's been a favorite of mine since I was a child, and I still read it periodically. However, it's probably hard to find now.

The characters were engaging and interesting. Scota was a kind and curious 13-year-old. There was a romance of sorts (as she's given in marriage to the general), but it's not the kissy-huggy type. It's more a growing to care for the other person. Because the marriage wasn't physically intimate, the difference in age between the two never bothered me though he was probably twice her age.

The author stayed true to what is given in the Bible, but the details about Moses and the plagues were a backdrop to the events going on in Scota's life. However, since the plagues affected everyone, they also had a major impact on her life. There was a nice amount of daily-life and political historical detail woven into the story. These details didn't get heavy-handed or turn into a lecture. For those who are curious, this author made Thutmose III the pharaoh of the Exodus.

Scota and other Egyptians did begin to question the power of the Egyptian gods and acknowledge the existence and power of the Hebrew God. There was no bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd highly recommend this charming, enjoyable historical novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The hand on her shoulder gently pressed a little harder. Scota, Princess of Egypt, opened her eyes to the dim gray light of early dawn. Her companion, Mery, leaned over her.

"Gracious Lady, it is time to rise. You are hymn leader for the royal awakening this morning."

Scota sprang out of bed, tumbling her wooden headrest to the floor. To be disgraced by being late the first morning! Her slave, Berenike, knelt at her feet with perfumed oil for a hasty anointing. Dahamun, an elderly relative, slipped the plain white linen robe over her head and adjusted the folds to perfection. Mery brushed back Scota's hair and tied the linen kerchief in a straight line across the forehead, then brought the sides to frame her face.

The two thirteen-year-old girls were breathless by the time they reached the antechamber. The other young singers had already assembled, and Scota took her place before the line of slender girls. Mery, the daughter of a minor noble, stood in the shadows at the rear. After her parents' death, the court had reared her as part of Scota's household.

Scota's bare feet tingled from the coolness of the stone floor, but she hardly noticed it. After her nervous glance to see that all was in order, she signaled the others.

With the grace of many hours of practice, the singers, girls from the highest-ranking families of Egypt, sank to their knees and began the morning hymn by which Pharaoh and his queen began each day.

"Awake in peace!" Scota hoped her father would be pleased with her.

"Great Queen, awake in peace!"

The Great Royal Wife, Meryetre, would be stirring now, slipping from her bed to kneel as she aroused her husband. Of course he had heard the singers, but it was not for anyone less than his consort, if she were near him to do it, to awaken the living incarnation of the god Amon-Re. He must wait for her touch.

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