Monday, November 24, 2008

The Year of the Hyenas by Brad Geagley

From the Cover: Year of the Hyenas is a brilliant, original, and unique murder mystery, set in ancient Egypt at the height of that kingdom's glory and power. It is at once a strikingly insightful portrait of a mysterious, complex, and sophisticated society, reminiscent of Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings in its wonderful detail and feel for the past, and a fast-paced detective story that reads like the best of twenty-first-century thrillers.
From the oldest known court transcripts in history, Egyptologists have long known about the mysterious death of Ramses III, involving intrigue, ambition, greed, and crimes of passion on a huge, though hidden, scale. In Year of the Hyenas, Brad Geagley takes this event -- a struggle that nearly brought ancient Egypt to its knees -- as the backdrop for a story that is every bit as captivating as the distant civilization it resurrects.
At the heart of the novel is Semerket, the so-called Clerk of Investigations and Secrets, a detective half-paralyzed by problems of his own, with a reputation for heavy drinking and tactless behavior toward the great, the powerful, and the holy, a kind of Sam Spade of the ancient world, deeply (and dangerously) addicted to the truth. Hard-bitten, deeply flawed, he is retained by the authorities to investigate what is considered an insignificant murder of an elderly, insignificant Theban priestess. They fail to inform him, however, that they don't expect him to solve the case. In fact, they don't want him to.
My Thoughts: I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would since I've been reading novels in this vane lately. With that said, the novel kept my attention and pulled me along. I enjoyed the sense of time and place the author skillfullly wound his story through. I plan to get the next in the series to read. Even though Semerket put me off by some of his actions, I still want to know what becomes of him and his wife. This was a  good historical fiction novel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sharon, Thank you so much for the read and the review. I've got a new book coming out in just a few weeks. A noir thriller, set in 1957 Hollywood. Would you like to read it? I'll be happy to send you a copy.
Best, Brad