The Fowler’s Snare: A Novel of Ancient Egypt by Claire Stibbe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Fowler’s Snare is book #2 in this ancient Egyptian trilogy. Two sons, attempted to poison their father, King Ibada of Alodia, they escape to Egypt with a small army and plot to take over Thebes.
Pharoah Kheper-Re discovers that Kanjo and his men are more than mere merchants, he suspects they are Princes on the run and decides to test them in a dangerous challenge facing great hardships across the desert. A team lead by his commander Shenq will race Kanja and his selected men.
This period of history revolved very much around the gods, seers, prophets and dreaming with magic and omens believed at every turn. Many a priest or sorcerer lost their life if they didn’t predict the right outcome. In this book everyone’s lives revolve around the predictions.
There is a large cast of characters, twenty five helpfully named at the beginning of the book which is useful as many are hard to pronounce. I did struggle to keep them all separate as, for me, few had distinguishing dialogue which made them stand out.
I do like the book cover artwork and I enjoyed the first half of the book, the descriptions of the ancient world were very enjoyable. However I felt the race across the desert was too long and drawn out and lacking in connection back to the Pharaoh and the original story theme, it didn’t keep my interest in the storyline, instead it introduced yet more characters who diluted the race plot. A few times there was a bit of head hopping leaving me wondering who was talking and sometimes action seemed to jump in time from one paragraph to the next with no real page break in the storyline. It may have been just the formatting of the book I read, or it may need another check with editing.
All in all a good story premise, but a good trim of the number of characters allowing the reader time to form a relationship and empathy with the main ones, a check on the dialogue to make each person really stand out as an individual so that the reader can clearly picture them. And content, for instance, Pharaoh conveniently having Kanja’s army all slaughtered on the night of the race, with no fight, comebacks or survivors, and making sure every person or action takes the story forward at a good pace.
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I reviewed this book for ReadersReviewRoom
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