Ancient palace plot of intrigue and love

I enjoyed this book immensely. Though it is fiction, it gave me a little glimpse of the history of the Egyptian dynasty.

English king Henry VIII's murderous reign has been on TV lately. It is not historically accurate but it had many glued to the screen. This book has an equally compelling story line.

The heretic queen was a niece of the mysterious Queen Nefertiti who was hated by her people for outlawing the gods of Egypt.

Nefertari was raised in the palace of her mother's conquerors who treated her with benign neglect. She was best friends with the future King Ramesses who ascended to the throne at the age of 18.

Nefertari was heartbroken when Ramesses married the palace beauty. She was persuaded by her friends to chase after the king and bewitch him. As his wife, she would be safe from palace politics and intrigues.

All went according to plan. But she had to contend with the continuing backstabbing from the king's sister and the other wife.

The rest of the book is about how she managed to wrestle the affections of Ramesses from his first wife, and then began the battle to be elevated to the position of the senior wife and eventually Queen of Egypt.

Moran is a skillful storyteller who weaves in glimpses of ordinary life during the king's rule. She reveals the fluid religion and superstitions that constrained palace life.