The Sekhmet Bed is an exhaustively-researched tale of ancient Egypt, focusing on Ahmose, wife of one pharaoh and, eventually, mother of another — Hatshepsut, a woman you have probably heard of, despite the efforts of certain stepchildren to erase her from history — as she attempts to hold onto her position in the waters of the pharaoh’s court, which are at least as treacherous as those of a flooded Nile.
This is the second novel I’ve read that was set in ancient Egypt, the first being a 1990s book called River God, which took place well before the events of this book, during the Hyksos occupation of Egypt. It was interesting to contrast the destroyed and exiled Egyptian society that I remember from River God with the vital one in The Sekhmet Bed. By the time of the events in this book, the Hyksos have long since been expelled (though they’re still making trouble at the borders), and that means it’s a good time for a party.
Servants in their short wigs and plain linens grew more plentiful as she approached the great hall. They bore trays of drink and food, towels clean and soiled, cones of perfumed wax for the guests’ wigs.
Ah, yes, who hasn’t been at a party that was ruined by hooligans skulking around in unwaxed, stinky wigs?
Speaking of parties, as the final editing pass of The War of the Ravels continues, Mercy and Bernard are not having one …
Mercy just watched as the others were taken away, outnumbered and overwhelmed like sad protesters for an unpopular cause who hadn’t been told that the demonstration was canceled.