Read The Hippopotamus Marsh by Pauline Gedge Online


Seqenenra Tao, Prince of Weset, leads a revolt against the alien Hyksos pharaohs. His provincial aristocratic family is accustomed to a life of straitened gentility. But when the prince decides to rebel they must risk all, even life itself, to restore Egyptians and their gods to glory. The Hippopotamus Marsh begins a trilogy that brings to vivid life the passions and intriSeqenenra Tao, Prince of Weset, leads a revolt against the alien Hyksos pharaohs. His provincial aristocratic family is accustomed to a life of straitened gentility. But when the prince decides to rebel they must risk all, even life itself, to restore Egyptians and their gods to glory. The Hippopotamus Marsh begins a trilogy that brings to vivid life the passions and intrigues that ushered in the great Eighteenth Dynasty....

Title : The Hippopotamus Marsh
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781569472200
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 408 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Hippopotamus Marsh Reviews

  • Iset
    2019-04-10 05:59

    I have heard many authors in the past decade being touted as ‘the Queen of Historical Fiction’; in fact there must be a civil war going on, I see it bandied around so often. I’m a lifelong history nut and voracious reader, and yet I can definitively state that no historical fiction author I have read to date can match up to the majesty of Pauline Gedge.It is frankly criminal that this author is not better known. This is my third re-reading of Gedge’s trilogy about ancient Egypt’s 17th Dynasty, and there’s a reason why I keep coming back to it time and time again. Gedge is a gifted writer, there’s no other way for me to put it. Her knowledge of language is broad, and yet she never writes down with condescension, or conversely stuffs her text with obscure words repeatedly like other nameless authors who seem to open a thesaurus and then worry at a marvellous newly discovered word with all the persistency of a dog with favourite toy. Her prose has beautiful flow, never jarred by awkward phrasings or misjudged pacing. Her descriptions and imagery are vivid and engage all the senses, truly transporting you to historical places with remarkable intensity. Moreover, they are accurate! You would think the author had access to a time machine – and I say that as an academic in this field with a specialism in ancient Egypt. The writing is inventive and intriguing rather than pedestrian and prosaic, full of flair and finesse; a style that is exciting and stylish without being off-the-wall or frustrating.p.51: “Spring ended and Weset sank into its summer somnolence. In the arbour the grapes formed and began to swell, green and hard. The crops began to lose their willowy brightness and stiffen to yellow. The crocodiles could often be seen basking immobile, with eyes closed, on the sandbanks of the rapidly shrinking Nile, and over all that self-contained, placid domain the sultry timelessness of Shemu exhaled its burning breath.”p.163: “The Nile is beautiful by starlight; the water dark, and the ripples silver.”p.184: “The sky faded to pearl. The stars went out. If he braved the spray of fine sand the horses kicked up and craned to the side, he could see ahead to where the Braves’ chariots were wheeling out onto the desert.”Gedge’s character building is just as deft as her skill with scene-setting and turning a phrase. There are no stereotypes to be found here. Each and every character is a realistic Human being; subtle and complex. Each character is distinct, driven by their own experiences and agendas, and makes decisions that have a logic you can follow and empathise with even if you don’t agree with it – and yes, that applies to the antagonists too! This is really something we should demand and expect as a matter of course from historical fiction, but I have seen way too many flat characterisations and cheap stereotypes in my time. This kind of understanding and finesse in creation of characters is a real treasure! And Gedge marries this instinctive grasp of characters to a grounding in the social mores and values of their time, so that the characters are both instantly empathetic to the reader and completely in tune with historical attitudes. It’s an incredibly rare skill in a historical fiction author. Most of the time I read books where the characters either behave like 21st century people, or the characters behave seemingly irrationally and inscrutable stereotypes, often because the author has failed to understand their culture and the motivations behind their actions.The level of research that goes into Gedge’s books is obvious. The care and thoroughness of it marks a genuine dedication to telling the story of these historical personages. The Egyptian and Setiu (Hyksos, in Greek) names, place names and idiomatic phrases are authentic. Culture, style, and the landscape of the country in this period has been highly researched. I will note that the accuracy isn’t 100% – Gedge did deliberately change a few minor details. If you don’t want spoilers, don’t click the link. (view spoiler)[In real history Aahotep was Seqenenra’s sister, and he also had two other sister-wives named Inhapy and Sitdjehuty. Tani was actually the name of Apepa’s sister (who was also possibly his wife), and the name of Seqenenra’s younger daughter was really Aahmes-Nebta. Si-Amun is fictional, and there was more of an age gap between the brothers Kamose and Ahmose. Seqenenra’s wounds were real, as was his rebellion, but we may never know exactly how they were sustained. (hide spoiler)] The important thing about the changes Gedge makes is that they don’t overwhelm the history; it’s mostly a case of plausible gap-filling and some minor alterations that have very little impact on the long-term historical plot.Pauline Gedge is in my estimation one of just three historical fiction authors of this high level of quality, the others being Mary Renault for ancient Greece, and Sharon Kay Penman for medieval Eurasia, in the brilliance of writing and the understanding of their respective time periods. Pauline Gedge is the true Mistress of the Two Lands.10 out of 10

  • Lolly's Library
    2019-03-30 23:42

    4.5 starsLet me state, right off the bat, this is an excellent book. It is truly the standard by which all ancient Egyptian historical fiction novels should be measured...for the most part (I'll explain in a moment). The research is impeccable, thorough without being overwhelming and used appropriately (meaning that Gedge knows when to hold back and let the story take over and when to use her research to enhance/explain a scene). No info dumps here! The story itself moves along a brisk pace, the tension and action nicely balanced with more introspective, character-centered moments--it neither drags nor wears the reader out with never-ending action. The language is where Gedge truly shows her talent: the dialogue is beautiful, neither anachronistically modern (thus jarring the reader out of the book's ancient setting) nor so archaically formal that the reader is forced into multiple re-reads in order to decipher what was said; the narrative truly immerses the reader in the sights, sounds, and textures of ancient Egypt, to the point where I felt I could reach out and stroke the sweat-slicked flesh of the characters as they sat under Ra's implacable eye or smell the intoxicating scents of perfumed oil cones as they melted, the oil soaking the gauzy linen sheaths and kilts of the banqueters as they feasted in a stuffy, noisy dining hall. Certain hist. fiction authors who are currently the darlings of the publishing world, whom shall remain nameless here (although I will give out the initials P.G. and M.M.), should take note of Gedge's creative writing ability and follow her most excellent example.Now to explain the "for the most part" bit from earlier. Bear with me as my one criticism- no, that's the wrong word. How about I say 'problem' instead? My one problem with the book is rather nebulous and difficult to explain. While all of what I've said in the previous paragraph is true, while Gedge brings to life these ancient peoples and places and personages to a degree that is to be envied and admired, the characters themselves, most especially those who are responsible for driving the story, still don't feel as fully fleshed as they could be, as though they're missing whatever it is that would make them jump off the pages and become real human beings. To contrast, Conn Iggulden, whose Genghis series I'm currently reading, has to deal with some of the same issues as Gedge in bringing his characters to life, i.e. taking an historical personage about whom more myth than reality is written/known and creating a real human being from the scraps of truth to be found in such myths and legends. Yet Conn's Temujin/Genghis doesn't just leap off the page, he smashes his way through the flimsy wood pulp and weak ink letters which hold him captive. And the same dynamism is true of all the other characters in Genghis's life: some are weak, some are cunning, some are utterly depraved and despicable, and some are brave, noble, conflicted, innocent, dependable--in other words they are human, with human foibles and human drives. With the characters in The Hippopotamus Marsh I don't get that same sense of reality. Yes, we are shown the motivations of Seqenenra and his son Kamose, their pride and sense of honor, as they chafe under the rule of the Setiu/Hyksos king Apepa; the conflicted outrage of Kamose's twin brother Si-Amun as he traps himself in a no-way-out situation; the wise resignation of Seqenenra's wife Aahotep, the haughty grandeur of Tetisheri, the matriarch of the family, and the lesser motivations of the rest of the family. Yet I never really got a sense of each character's depth beyond those surface impressions. And this is where the nebulousness comes in, as the depth of personality for each of these characters (which I'm sure will deepen as the series progresses) is perfectly adequate (and in comparison to some hist. fiction downright marvelous). Taken in combination with the rest of the elements of Gedge's writing, The Hippopotamus Marsh becomes a work of fiction which is quite astonishing and absolutely amazing to read. So why am I complaining? I guess because I want to go deeper, I want to know more about these characters--Kamose, Seqenenra, Tani, Ramose, Aahmes-Nefertari and the rest--I want them to break free of history's cobwebs, leap off the page and stand before me as they tell me their story, through Gedge's words, much as Conn Iggulden's Genghis Khan did. They seemed too tame, too calm, too remote for such dynamic history taking place around them.One other quibble I have with the book, which ties in with the issue I pointed out above, is the action, compelling as it was, could've been more dynamic and more compelling to read. Once again, I need to refer to Iggulden as I've been spoiled by him and his depictions of battle, of blood and death, defeat and victory, depictions which are at once gruesome and engrossing. If I can smell the flood waters of the Nile, feel its life-giving mud slither through my fingers and the grit of the desert sand, then I should also be able to see the sweat and fear pouring off a soldier's face, hear the clashing of swords, the crash of shields, the twang of bowstrings, the hiss of blood as it sinks into the baking earth. Yet that never occurred. As with the personalities of the book's characters, the action is surface-level only: I saw the clash, I saw the tactics, the hope and fatigue of the soldiers, the humiliation of defeat, but I never felt the reality of the action taking place. Maybe it's simply due to a contrast in styles between a male and female author (and, god, I hate myself for even thinking that, let alone writing it, as I'm well aware of many female authors who can write kinetic and enthralling action scenes as well as, if not better than, male authors). Or perhaps it's simply that Gedge has so much territory to cover, she didn't feel the need to dwell on the battle scenes. Who knows?What I do know is the issues I have with the novel are minor in comparison to The Hippopotamus Marsh's overall scope and readability. There may be a few (a very few) books out there which are better (and we all know "better" and "worse" are highly subjective adjectives), but there are certainly a great deal too many books which are worse--pieces of dreck which would have to climb onto extension ladders just to get close enough to reach out and aspire to Gedge's level of artistry.

  • Crystal Starr Light
    2019-03-28 07:57

    Bullet Review:Let's have a history lesson to put things into perspective.The last time I rated anything I read 5-stars: February 24, 2017The last non-fiction book I rated 5-stars: January 13, 2017The last fiction book I rated 5-stars: March 31, 2015 (and to be honest, the only reason I think it should get 5-stars is from its good message; I'm actually going to go right now to that review and revise to 4-stars)The last fiction book I rated 5-stars that makes me want to reread it RIGHT NOW: April 16, 2014I do NOT pass out 5-stars willy nilly. And I have NOT read a fiction book decent enough to rate 5 stars in nearly TWO YEARS, and not one that made me excited to reread or gave me fond memories in nearly THREE. Hell, the last fiction read that I gave 4-stars was back in November of last year.This book is fabulous. I've been effing needing a book like this to remind me how much I love to read FOR EFFING YEARS.Full Review:Seqenenra Tao is a Prince of Weset and one of the last of the royal house of Egypt. He lives rather peaceably there, minding his own business but King Apepa, ruler of the Two Lands from the Horus Throne in Het-Uart, is not content with letting that be. He makes demands of Seqenenra until finally Seqenenra has had enough and amasses an army to go to war. This is the novel of that uprising.This book was awesome and the first fiction book I've loved in 2 - 3 years (depending how you reckon it). Read it.Bye, I'm on book 2!Oh wait...did you want more of a review than this??? Well, I suppose I can accommodate. After all, this IS the FIRST fiction book I've rated 5-stars since 2015.Yes, you read that right - the last fiction book I rated 5-stars was Anna Godbersen's "The Lucky Ones" in January of 2015 (Sara Zarr's "Story of a Girl" was 5-stars until yesterday, when I realized it was more of a 4-star read). That means in 2 years, I've read nearly 300 books and comics, 87 books (fiction and nonfiction) without a single 5-stars fiction read.I mention all this to emphasize: I don't pass out 5-stars willy nilly. I'm not one of those readers who 4- and 5-stars everything. I'm also one of those readers who picks out the worst books for herself - ones she hopes she will like but ends up hating or just feeling meh about.This changes TODAY (actually yesterday) because I finally broke my 2 year dry spell of fiction and found something that makes me all happy and tingly inside because it is SO GOOD.My dear friend, Iset, was the one who gave me this book some years back. Due to our various schedules, we haven't had the chance to buddy read until this year. When discussing what book we should buddy read, we settled on this one. Ancient Egypt is one of my favorite periods to read about - I like to get away from the overdone eras (Tudors, Regency, Edwardian, etc.) and really explore what it was like a long time ago in a world so much different from ours. I'll admit, I was a bit nervous because it's part of a trilogy and the books are big, and I'm a slow reader. But I finished this book in about a month (and that was with a brief break in the middle and switching from this and a few other books I finally cleared off my currently reading shelf), and I cannot WAIT to move onto "The Oasis".Why do I like a book? So much of the answer is just how the author executes the book itself, but I like to boil it into discrete categories: Characters (who are they: are they unique real people or are they caricatures and stereotypes?), story (what is the point of the novel itself?), flow (does the story move fluidly from beginning to end or does it start and stop?), writing (does the author use her skill to create a beautiful, well-thought out world...or does she write the absolute bare minimum with the most basic of English skills?) and other (this could be things like historical or scientific facts, overall message or theme of the book, or perhaps something really noteworthy that the author did). I don't think it's too much to ask to have a book rank highly in these areas (aren't these the absolute basics of novels>) - but according to my track record, it is.How does "The Hippopotamus Marsh" rate?Characters - 10 stars out of 5. The characters are well-developed, unique individuals. When I think of their names - Seqenenra, Tetisheri, Ahmose, Si-Amun, Kamose, Tani - I can think of more than one adjective to describe them, detail more than one thing about their character than just their one reason for existing in this world. Even the villains - Apepa, Pezedkhu, the spy, the traitor(s) - are real people with actual motivations behind their actions that are beyond "ZOMG, I am so evulz muahahahhaah!"Story - 5 stars. Perhaps this is your "standard" uprising story, though none of it feels "standard" to me. We see Seqenenra have to deal with Apepa's taunting and teasing, how challenging it is, how demeaning for someone of royal blood. These early scenes are not superfluous - in fact, there is not a point in the book that comes across as extraneous or only added for padding or to read a certain page/word count.Flow - 5 stars. Hell maybe 6 stars in light of the wordy books I've recently had to read *cough*Dreams of Gods & Monsters*cough*. Every bit of the novel is necessary to further the plot - there is not one moment that you go, "Okay, so I just finished reading 4 chapters of that - what was the point?"Writing - 10 stars out of 5. Gedge is a master craftsperson, able to form sentences and paragraphs and chapters that perform the dual function of being beautiful withOUT bogging the story down in purple prose. There were numerous passages that detailed the beauty of this exotic world and time, without hampering the flow, derailing from the story, or detracting from the character study. Too many times and especially in this day and age of the Hunger Games, authors have gone for the stripped-down, pedestrian style that makes reading ugly and clunky. Or alternatively, authors get so purply with their prose, you can't find the story through the words. Not so with Gedge.Other - 5 stars. Gedge made Egypt come alive for me. She described this amazing world so well, that while I was reading, I felt I was there. THIS is the reader's high. THIS is what a reader dreams of reaching - the "runner's zone" of reading. Where you forget the world around you, you live in the book, and when you are done, you look around and sigh despairingly, "Oh, right...that was a book, not reality."For many years, I despaired that I didn't love to read anymore. I went to authors I once loved and books I thought were my favorites and was disappointed by them. I read so many books from book clubs and Goodread reviewers and friends who said, "OMG, this is the best ever!" and came away feeling like I am on a totally different planet - a planet where I was the sole person who disliked/wasn't wowed/hated a book everyone else loved. As I went through the copious books I bought, culling the ones I didn't want to read anymore, I wondered despondently if I should just purge all the books in my personal library and just not try to read anymore - to abandon a hobby I've had since I was a wee one, reading Boxcar Children Books in 2nd grade.But finally...finally!...I have found that Holy Grail that readers the world over look for - a 5-star read that I gobbled up enthusiastically and cannot wait to dive head-first into the sequel. I am trying to keep my hopes for book 2 modest, so as not to be disappointed, but given how masterfully Gedge wrote "The Hippopotamus Marsh", I have no doubt that she will wow me once again in "The Oasis".Thank you, Pauline Gedge, for helping me rediscover my love of reading! And thank you to my dear friend, Iset, for giving me this book - without it, I would still be looking for that White Elephant, that Unicorn of a 5-star read.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-07 23:45

    Oh my god.If you gave me one word, just one, to sum this book up, it would be: epic. In The Hippopotamus Marsh, Pauline Gedge tackles (with all of her considerable skill and talent) one of the most defining moments of Ancient Egyptian history: the expulsion of the Hyksos, which led to the golden age of the Egyptian empire: the New Kingdom.It's a period I've long been interested in, but not one I've read a lot about as most of the books I've come across talk about the Hyskos as a short prologue to introduce Egypt's New Kingdom. So it's incredible to see this time, and the pharaohs Seqenenra Tao, Kamose and Ahmose given the attention they more than deserve. These pharaohs, and the rest of their family, are examples of Gedge's superb characterisations. She doesn't bash us over the head with how deserving they are of the Horus throne, but instead allows them to become figures that the readers can find believable, and admirable, attractive or at the least, understandable. (view spoiler)[For example, I didn't want Si-Amun to die, despite knowing that he betrayed his family and his relative unimportance to the historical explusion (hide spoiler)]. This lends a sense of pathos to the story, and when beloved characters were in some way harmed or killed, I felt their pain and/or loss keenly. If I had to pick a flaw, I would say that there could have been a little bit of time spent with Ahmose, but he'll probably come into his own in the next instalments. Despite this, he was one of my (many) favourite characters.I adore that Gedge also used the Ancient Egyptian names for locations rather than the modern names (i.e. Weset instead of Thebes). It might be a bit off-putting for less knowledgeable readers, but I found it refreshing, not least because it makes the story feel more authentic to its setting.I have to say that I was surprised to hear that others thought this book 'slow' – I thought it was anything but. It was a real page-turner for me, and I regretted not being able to really sit down and devour it in one go. As I write this review, I'm restraining myself from racing off to order the rest of Gedge's bibliography the trilogy because it's that good.In short, it's an amazing, epic read, the beginning of a "lush, sweeping epic", if you'd like, and Pauline Gedge remains, in my head at least, the undisputed Queen of Ancient Egyptian historical fiction.

  • Cayleigh
    2019-04-06 00:12

    I randomly found Pauline Gedge while searching the Goodreads list of Egyptian books. Hippopotamus Marsh was the only book my library had by her. I enjoyed this book, she brings Ancient Egypt alive during the time when the Hyskos are ruling egypt and the Tao family decides they want their birthright as the real Kings of Egypt back. For the first part of the book I didn't know if I was going to like it, then the things started hopping and by the end of the book I became entrenched with the characters Kamose and Hor-Ah. I'm now eagerly awaiting getting my hands on the next in this series.

  • Dawn
    2019-03-21 04:02

    My seemingly never ending quest to find a really good historical fiction story set in Ancient Egypt led me to this series. To my disappointment it was another dud. It did have potential as a story. It is a good period of history and stories of oppression and uprisings make for good reads. I thought the plot was a little lacking, there was a very long set up period and it could be said that the entire book is a preamble to the real story coming in the rest of the series, which I found to make the read very tedious. I also thought that there should have been fewer characters that we spent more time with and that got fleshed out better, rather than such a big cast and trying to incorporate them all, leaving me with half created personalities. I shall have to continue my quest elsewhere.

  • Jacob
    2019-03-20 06:05

    Historical Fiction set in Ancient Egypt like Child of the Morning. This one focuses on a family descended directly from former Pharaohs who have been displaced by conquerors. A monarch never rests easy around someone else who has a legitimate claim on power, so the story asks: what do you do when you're not a credible threat to the powers that be, but too much of a threat to be left alone?I again appreciated the historical education in terms of ancient Egyptian culture. It's not a typical setting, so I feel like it's more worth reading for that alone. And months later I can still remember the story and care enough that I'll be reading the two sequels.

  • Forgotten Realms Queen
    2019-03-20 07:55

    I am a fan of Pauline Gedge's book. I am waiting with baited breathe for her last instalment in the King's Man trilogy to come out in mass market, but I must admit I was rather dissapointed in this book, the first of her Lord of the Two Lands trilogy.Now don't get me wrong I did enjoy it, but it was not my favorite of her works. It was rather dry , and the characters were for the most part whiny. Constantly bemoning their bad luck, disgrace, and fall from grace.It's a lot of repetition in the actions of the characters and the reactions of the world around them. I wound up skimming several pages.It is still beautifully written, the characters are colorful, and the breathless and timeless beauty of Egypt springs forth as it does in all her other books, but the plot and the story just didn't seem as well put together as the other books I read by her.

  • Marylyn
    2019-04-09 06:03

    Could not get into this, gave it a good 200 pages, maybe pick it up again in like 50 years!!!

  • Dawn Ang
    2019-04-19 07:06

    "The Hippopotamus Marsh" by Pauling Gedge is an engaging historical fiction that raises to life the Ancient Egypt in which it's characters lived. Gedge's prose is on point with the time period she depicts. All aspects of the novel combine to craft a beautiful story.Set during an Egypt in transition--not at its height nor during its final days as an empire-- "The Hippopotamus Marsh" gives an interesting, unique perspective on the majestic civilization.Some reviewers have said the novel moved too slowly at times but, in my opinion, the pacing is done very well and reflects the pace of the life of the characters. There are, indeed, times when the pace is slower but these slacks in the plot allows for a glimpse of the characters away from the influence of the conflict. The reader is afforded a chance to get to know the players as they are--without them having to make difficult choices or deal with challenging situations.The characters of the novel are well-formed. They are all very likable and they undergo visible growth as the plot progresses. The consistency of the characterization allows for the reader to grow an attached to them; the reader grows with the characters and becomes greatly invested in them. With such a wonderful cast of characters it is easy to bypass the background in which their stories take place but to do so would be to neglect to give Gedge the credit she deserves. The setting is vividly created. Gedge does an excellent job of transporting the readers to Ancient Egypt. The atmosphere is palpable throughout the novel--I believe the novel is worth reading just for Gedge's construction of life on the ancient banks of the Nile.This is a satisfying read and I will definitely be reading the next in the series!

  • Kate
    2019-04-19 07:01

    Excellent book! Historical fiction of Ancient Egypt. This follows the beginnings of the rise of the Tao family, who fought against the Hyksos pharoahs who had usurped the Egyptian throne. Fascinating portraits of life in Ancient Egypt and fully alive characters who drive the story.

  • Megan
    2019-04-03 08:07

    This was fine, but didn't exactly bring ancient Egypt to life. It did pique my interest enough for me to find out more about the events depicted, but not enough to read the next in the series.

  • Shira Bea
    2019-03-31 04:07

    Oh my, such a fantastic read! The author weaves words with such flourish, that every time I read a sentence, it blends into a wonderful, dream-like narrative. I can imagine Ancient Egypt with the way she writes. First, it hurts that Seqenenre Tao was killed in battle. Second, Si-Amun's suicide is inevitable, but a sad reality during that time. Third, I like Kamose's grit. He never wavers on the path of righteous vengeance. Fourth, I have learned little bits of historical knowledge from this book that I have never encountered in other books, which makes it a fantastic read. Overall, I love reading this book, it builds a suspense, from Seqenenre's rebellion to Kamose's vengeance. I can hardly wait to read the second book! For a trilogy, this first book is a success!!

  • Belinda
    2019-04-02 06:54

    4,5 stars - English hardcover - Thanks Amy to let me read this book. History at his best ( in a novel). It is long ago I did read this novel. My neighbours in Maastricht gave it to me to read. I noted the reating in my agenda but there was no entery of remarks about the book. That is a shame I think, but at the time I Just had a little baby with who I totaly adore. Amy went home to the states and I live in Venlo now. I still hope to get a chance to read this books again! They realy are good! 🌸🌷🌸

  • Dean
    2019-04-03 05:08

    great book...look forward to reading the next in the series....

  • Cristel Verhaegen
    2019-04-04 06:52

    een serie over het begin van mijn meest favoriete periode: de 18de dynastie

  • Elaine
    2019-03-31 04:05

    . 1560BC the Egyptians found themselves ruled by a foreign power, the Setiu, more commonly known as the Hyskos (from Asia. Came into the Nile Delta). They had found their way into the fertile Delta region of Egypt and settled there. Over time, they slowly removed all authority from what was already a weak Egyptian government. The entire invasion was achieved through subtle political and economic coercion, and was relatively bloodless. They became known as the Fifteenth Dynasty. During the mid-Seventeenth Dynasty the Setiu had been secure in Egypt for over 100 years. They ruled from the northern capital, The House of the Leg, Het-Uart, known also as Avaris. In Southern Egypt lived a group of Theban Princes who would claim descent from the last true King. These men would eventually revolt, ushering in a new epoch of immense power and prosperity known as the Eighteenth Dynasty.Kamose was the last king of the Theban Seventeenth Dynasty. Pharoh 1555-1550BC He was probably the son of Sekenenra Tao II and Ahhotep I and the full brother of Ahmose I, founder of the Eighteenth DynastyHis reign is important for the decisive military initiatives he took against the Hyksos, who had come to rule much of Ancient Egypt. His father had begun the initiatives and, quite possibly, lost his life in battle with them. It is thought that his mother, as regent, continued the campaigns after the death of Karmose (also in battle with the Hyksos), and that his full brother made the final conquest of them and united all of Egypt.But the Hyksos dream of being integrated into Egyptian society died within a century. The ruling family of Upper Egypt which originated from Thebes, waged war against the Hyksos kings. Apepi I (1600 to 1560) tried unsuccessfully to counter the threat posed by Tao II (Sequenenra Tao) and Kamose by entering into an alliance with the Kushites who had conquered Nubia. He killed Tao II in battle (though some think that Tao was assassinated), but had to retreat northward before Kamose to the vicinity of Avaris in the delta. In the end the Thebans forced Apepi II), the last king of the 15th (Hyksos) Dynasty to negotiate the withdrawal of the Hyksos army from Avaris and most of the Delta. The southern Pharaohs did not keep the agreement and Amosis (Ahmose I), the great general, drove the Hyksos out of Egypt by 1550 BCE after a decisive victory at Tanis. The highest attested year for Kamose is his third year, when he ordered two stelae to be erected in the temple of Karnak to record his military activities against the Hyksos. Although it is generally assumed that it was Seqenenre (Kamoses' father) who initiated the hostilities between the Thebans and the Hyksos, Kamose's stelae are the first known contemporary sources related to the Hyksos wars.Waset, it was so-called by the Egyptians.The famous capital of the pharaohs of the Middle and of the New Reign, known all over the world with the Greek name “Thebe”, was actually a real metropolis, full of life and activity. To go back over the pharaohs’ steps of the XVIII and XIX dynasty, today, we must go to Luxor, where the southern Opet of god Amon is. Only a few ruins remain of Waset, although part of the ruins of the temples in Karnak and in Luxor express at the best the greatness of the ancient Egyptian capital. Waset was on a vast territory divided in three main areas. The first one represented the city itself where the pharaohs and the people lived and to which was connected a sacred area in a northern suburb, which was dedicated exclusively to the gods.The Temples of Karnak and Luxor were the key sanctuaries of the ancient city of Thebes (Egyptian Waset), in Upper Egypt, Karnak becoming one of the largest religious complexes of all time. The principal deity worshiped was the local god Amun, who became a supreme national deity as Amun-Re, King of the Gods. However, a number of subsidiary temples and chapels were dedicated to such other divinities as Amun's wife and son, Mut and Khonsu, the war god, Montju, and various other significant deitiesWadjet--Eye of Goddess Wadjet. For protection, love, royal power and good health.. The Eye of Horus, the Eye of Ra.The temple of Mentuhotep II (or I) Neb-Hepet-Re was the first one built in Deir el Bahari.(11th dynasty, 2010 BC)

  • Betty
    2019-04-01 01:11

    Great historical novel. It was easy to become part of the story. Looking forward to the next one in the series!

  • Rose
    2019-04-14 00:52

    This was just really hard to get into. I think that somebody obsessed with Egyptology would love this, but I was more looking for a story. This book isn't very heavy on the story, it is more focussed on Egyptology.

  • Rob
    2019-04-12 05:51

    I returned to Gedge after reading and enjoying the Eagle and the Raven 30 years ago as a teenager. I shouldn't have waited so long. She accomplishes with aplomb what so many authors of historical fiction fail to - present dramatic and engaging characters who are true to their time. The Tao family is rendered carefully and deliberately. We see them through the eyes of the other family members, and often through their own thoughts. Gedge pulls off the difficult trick of rendering their strongest trait - pride shading into arrogance - with real sympathy.She also manages to present the central struggle between the pride of the Tao family and the suspicion of their King Apepa with genuine drama without making Apepa into a monster. The real conflict is in the heart of each character, which is a higher order of drama than much historical fiction.While I'm no expert on ancient Egypt, Gedge's depiction seems historically authentic. The importance of religion and the belief in divine ancestry. The daily life of aristocrats. The punishing climate and the centrality of the Nile. Gedge even manages to deftly portray incest without being alienating or creepy. However, there were times when the point of view switched without any warning - not even hard-return spaces between paragraphs. It would take a few sentences to realize you were now in someone else's head. More annoyingly, Gedge glosses over a crucial battle scene, and what she does portray is unconvincing - the losers hanging around the site of their defeat for a couple days observing the battlefield, rather than fleeing in panic, as was usually the case in ancient warfare. I understand that not all authors are interested in military matters. But Gedge doesn't even seem to try here, dealing with the battle in a couple incoherent pages, while elsewhere she devotes several pages to nuanced descriptions of characters sitting in a garden and musing over some problem facing them.Nevertheless, this is an impressive beginning to a series that promises to be both epic in scope and authentic in its human drama.

  • Angela
    2019-03-28 02:54

    Th8is is the first book in a trillogy about the end of the seventeenth dynasty when the Egyptian pharaohs have been ruled by the Hyksos, a more advanced asian people, for about 200 years. THe Hyksos have allowed the old royal family to continue to rule the southern part of Egypt in name but the new Hyksos Pharaoh feels threatened by the family and makes ridiculous demands of them. One demand is that they kill all of the hippopotamus and fill in their marsh as their noises are disturbing his sleep, hundreds of miles away... This is particularly offensive because the hippos are sacred to one of their gods and a favourite animal of one of his daughters. All through this book I kept thinking that the Egyptian prince's name in the book was familiar. I don't really know that much about ancient egyptian history so I figured it was just imagining it. Then I got to the part when Sequenenre's sustains his injury and I realized I had seen something on the Discovery network or the History network on him. SO weird!I liked the book. The names were a little hard for me because they were so different from what I'm used to and a lot of them seemed similar so it took me a bit to recognize them all. Once I did though I liked the characters and the story kept me interested. It was interesting to learn about that time of history. I haven't really read anything based in that time which is odd since learning about ancient Egypt was one of the first things that sparked my fascination with history.

  • Jane Bigelow
    2019-04-06 01:46

    The language is beautiful and the research is meticulous. My only reason for not giving it five stars is that its characters are always aware of their own importance and the great solemnity of their obligations. There's little humor here. That's not unreasonable. These are men with huge battles to face, and hard choices to make. First Seqenenra, then his twin sons Si-Amun and Kamose in turn, strive to regain the divine throne that their ancestors lost. This is not mere greed for power. The current rulers are of foreign descent, and though it's been about two hundred years some Egyptians haven't forgotten. The Hyksos, or Setiu, king means to make himselve more secure by driving the Tao family into total obscurity or a rebellion which could surely not succeed.The women so far (this is the first book of a trilogy) have rather less to do. That's probably historically accurate, alas. Though as Tani has become a hostage at the court of the Setiu king, Apepa, I have hopes for more action on her part later.Kamose is clearly Gedge's favorite character; she says as much in a forward. For me, he comes alive on the page much more than the other two Princes did. By the way, the edition that I read had a very helpful list of the multitude of characters at the front.The details of the daily life of a noble family living far from court are wonderful. The opening description of the crumbling old palace makes the family's loss of status clear. When a royal ship pulls in at the watersteps, it surprises and worries everyone. They're right to be alarmed.

  • Carrie Slager
    2019-03-25 02:05

    I discovered Pauline Gedge’s writing on a bitterly cold Christmas Day a few years ago, but the first book I read was her latest work at the time, The Twice Born. Now that I’ve read almost all of her work, I definitely prefer her earlier works. They’re much faster paced and the characters are far more interesting. Her earlier works definitely have less of a literary novel feel and more of an epic historical fiction feel.The Hippopotamus Marsh is the first book in the Lords of the Two Lands trilogy and it follows the patriarch of the Tao family, Seqenenra. Seqenenra is a very proud character, yet there is despair lurking beneath the surface because half of his beloved Egypt is under the yoke of the Setiu king Apepa. But when Apepa takes his ridiculous demands too far, he finally snaps and the rebellion that gave him the epithet ‘the Brave’ began. If any of you history buffs want to look up Seqenenra (he was, of course, a real historical figure), I recommend that you search with caution—his mummy is not one of the prettier ones.In addition to fascinating characters like the regal Tetisherti, the brave Seqenenra and the tragically flawed Si-Amun, the plot moves along at a nice pace. It’s not nearly as fast as that of most mainstream fiction, but it is much faster than Pauline Gedge’s later books. The Hippopotamus Marsh is a must-read for anyone who loves the mysterious civilization that was ancient Egypt.I give this book 5/5 stars.

  • Jill Myles
    2019-04-16 05:44

    I suspect that unless you're an Egypt nerd (like me) this book would be boring. It's hard to tell apart the characters sometimes. There's Aahotep, Ahmose, Aahmes-nefertari, Kamose, Ramose, and you get the idea. It's all historically accurate though, so I can't fault the author for that. It's a slow-starter of a book but by the end, I was reading under the covers to find out what happened next.Of course, this is the first book in a big, epic trilogy, so nothing is wrapped up.Why only four stars? Because I have the biggest lady-crush on Aahotep. If you know anything about ancient Egypt, Aahotep (or Aahotep II, depending on interpretation) was buried with three golden flies. The golden fly was the biggest warfare honor someone could be given. Girl was FIERCE.But in this book, she's more of the Egyptian version of a soccer mom, so I'm a little disappointed. I'll be excited if she picks up a chariot and goes all billy-bad-ass on everyone in the next two books, or if a new Aahotep shows up and kicks some butt. Luckily, Tetisheri is bringing her bitchface, so I can appreciate that at least.

  • Deborah Pickstone
    2019-04-07 07:04

    3.5 starsI love Pauline Gedge's HF but this trilogy is my least favourite of those books. Ruefully I noted that she had dedicated the whole trilogy to Kamose (one of the main characters) who she felt was maligned (and often forgotten) by history; she hoped she had been somewhat instrumental in rehabilitating him. So I am sorry it was my least favourite of her stories; I very well understand finding a historical figure who is represented as bad in some way but whom I can see as merely human or misrepresented. It amazes me how much of the 'well-known' history that 'everyone knows' is merely unsubstantiated gossip or leftover propaganda - that worked, obviously!Still a worthwhile read, however.

  • Marissa
    2019-04-09 07:03

    Pauline Gedge heeft overduidelijk haar best gedaan om het oude Egypte zo goed mogelijk tot leven te wekken. Ze maakt de rituelen begrijpelijk, de personages levend en de opeenvolgende situaties logisch, ondanks de duizenden jaren en duizenden kilometers afstand tussen ons en het verhaal.Soms zijn de zinnen echter wel erg lang en klopt de interpunctie niet, waardoor het noodzakelijk is om terug te lezen. Daardoor hapert het verhaal.Tevens mag de vertaalster haar grammaticale vaardigheden bijspijkeren. Vooral het gebruik van het woordje 'hun' op de plaatsen waar het zou moeten worden vertaald met 'hen' is voor mij persoonlijk een bron van irritatie.Dit zijn echter details als je kijkt naar de enorme bergen werk die Gedge moet hebben verzet om een boek zo gedetailleerd vorm te geven.

  • Kristen
    2019-03-24 02:08

    I only have one complaint about this book, but unfortunately it's a big one. It's the first book in a series, and it doesn't stand well on its own. I enjoyed the feeling of being immersed in a culture that I only had known a little about, and I do feel that the author fleshes out her characters well. But the book ended before it ever reached its climax, and to know how the plot turns out I'll need to commit to reading the next book. I don't mind reading series, but I am irritated that this first book didn't really pay off on its own from a plot perspective.

  • Elaine Cougler
    2019-04-11 05:47

    The Hippopotamus Marsh by Pauline Gedge demands attention with its personal characterizations and its realistic plot line. One wonders how much of it is true history and how much fiction but the answer doesn't matter. Seqenenra Tao, his true rulership subject to the foreign conqueror Apepa, is goaded into rebelling and thus subjecting his family to war to regain their standing. I look forward to volumes two and three as Kamose moves forward with his destiny. Hurrah for Gedge!

  • Tracey Alley
    2019-04-17 02:05

    I've only just discovered Pauline Gedge and I am absolutely thrilled - she writes Egyptian history as though she were an eyewitness. Beautiful, compelling story that is superbly written.If you haven't yet discovered Pauline Gedge and you enjoy historical novels then I highly recommend beginning with this series - it won't be your last.

  • Lisa Wang
    2019-04-13 01:50

    Great read. It's one of those books that slowly becomes more and more captivating the more you read. I am glad it did not have the typical plot I expected. Instead I find interesting turn of events, a rounded exploration into the characters. It seems almost obligatory now to find the next two books in the trilogy and continue my exciting literary adventures in the ancient backdrops of the Nile.