A magazine for Africans and friends of Africa...Our Voices, Our Vision, Our Culture

Stepping Into Ancient Egypt: Nefertiti
By Dreena Whitfield

The history of Nefertiti is one filled with mystery, ambiguity and fascination; her life and true identity may stay obscure and mystifying to the public for eternity. However, she has been forever traced in history-books and historical references as the Queen of Egypt with an undeniable beauty whose controversial reign with her husband Amunhotep created political and religious conflict amongst Egypt. Michelle Moran's Nefertiti strays away from the cliché historical novel by telling the story of Nefertiti through the eyes of Mutnodjmet, Nefertiti's younger and keen sister. Moran brings ancient Egypt to life with colorful detail and insight into the dramatic story of two historical women living through one of the most significant periods in history.

Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet come from a very powerful family that has provided wives to the pharaohs of Egypt of centuries. Nefertiti has been chosen by her family to marry Amunhotep, the unstable young pharaoh, because of her beauty, charm and ambitiousness. With plans to forsake the ancient gods, overthrow the priests of Amun and introduce a new sun god for all of Egypt to worship, it is hoped that Nefertiti can sway Amunhoptep with her strong personality and demeanor. However, Nefertiti gets wrapped up in the allure of it all: the power, the luxury, and love from the people of Egypt, so much so that she quickly forgets her main objective. An heir to the thrown is needed in order to keep the love of the people, and as Nefertiti turns her concentration to producing an heir, she is oblivious to the fact that the powerful priests and the military are conspiring against her husband's rule. Mutnodjmet, is the only one amongst the royal family who can sense the shift in the political winds and still has the courage to tell the queen. Mutnodjmet is the glue that keeps Nefertiti together and her opinions are highly valued.

Unlike her sister, Mutnodjmet stays away from the limelight and has no desire to be powerful. She longs for independence and a quiet existence amongst her garden away from family duty. However, Nefertiti soon learns of the instability of her reign and declares that Mutnodjment remain by her side as her advisor and confidante. In order to achieve happiness and independence, Mutnodjmet must make a troubling decision and defy her sister, the Queen of Egypt-while also remaining loyal to her family. Nefertiti is not just a story about one of history's most notorious queens; it's a story of two sisters stepping into a new world and the events that surround them.

Michelle Moran's Nefertiti is an amazing and well-written debut that transports you back to ancient Egypt. This is one book that you won't want to end; you'll get entangled into another world filled with romance, history, and betrayal. The plot and the descriptive detail that plays with your imagination will have you staying up late to see what happens next. This is not your typical historical novel, so be prepared to have your eyes open to a refreshing look at the epic of Nefertiti and her reign. This book is amazing and a definite must read for all interested in history, politics and the wonder of Nefertiti. This book is destined to be a classic; applause is needed for Michelle Moran for exquisitely bringing the story of Nefertiti back to life, and hopefully a sequel is in the works!