Libbie Hawker’s The Sekhmet Bed introduces us to the royal family of Egypt immediately after the death of Pharaoh Amunhotep. Hawker sets up the novel with then Princess Ahmose being told that she is to be the Great Royal Wife, which basically means that she’s the first wife from whom all heirs will be legitimate. I found the opening chapters of this novel to be quite intriguing as the author takes us through the ritual mourning the family must face, as well as the fact that since Amunhotep had no sons, a successor must be chosen from outside the family.
Since the historical figures in this novel actually lived, I’m not spoiling anything to say that this story is ultimately about the birth and reception of Queen Hatshepsut. One of the most enigmatic figures in history, Queen Hatshepsut officially ruled Egypt alongside her brother-husband Thutmose III, but is considered by many to be one of the greatest rulers of the ancient kingdom of Egypt. Since Hatshepsut is not actually mentioned in the novel until close to its end, I was amazed by the back story Hawker provides us of Hatshepsut’s parents and immediate family. Having only a cursory knowledge of Hathepsut’s life, I did not realize that male siblings were born to her father and his second wife well before Hatshepsut was conceived by Queen Ahmose. The amazing thing about historical fiction is that even though you know the end result, a good writer will get you there in a way that is satisfying and still a bit surprising.
The first book in the She-King series, The Sekhmet Bed was a wonderful addition to my ever growing library of historical fiction about ancient Egypt. A look at My Ultimate Travel Bucket List will give you a glimpse into my love for anything to do with Ancient Egypt. I picked up this novel through BookBub, an online service that will send you recommendations every day about books you might enjoy. This post is not sponsored by BookBub, but I thought I’d mention this in case you’re looking for an affordable way to pick up new ebooks.
I highly recommend this book if you’re into historical fiction surrounding real life characters. I think Hawker did an excellent job of presenting the daily lives of this royal family, as well as the very complicated rules surrounding who could inherit the kingdom. If you’re into historical fiction, then I also highly recommend the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. Do you like historical fiction? If so, please give me some recommendations!