River God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt (Novels of Ancient Egypt)
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For Tanus, the fair-haired young lion of a warrior, the gods have decreed that he will lead Egypt's army in a bold attempt to reunite the Kingdom's shared halves. But Tanus will have to defy the same gods to attain the reward they have forbidden him, an object more prized than battle's glory: possession of the Lady Lostris, a rare beauty with skin the color of oiled ceder--destined for the adoration of a nation, and the love of one extraordinary man.
International bestselling author Wilbur Smith, creator of dozens of highly acclaimed novels, draws readers into a magnificent, richly imagined saga. Exploding with all the drama, mystery and rage of an ancient and bygone time, River God is a masterpiece from a storyteller at the height of his powers.
to Tanus in that moment that no other man in the history of the world had ever fathered an infant. ‘My son!’ he shook his head in wonder. He was grinning like an idiot. ‘My woman and my son! I must go to them this very moment.’ He set off down the deck, and I had to run to catch him. It took all my powers of persuasion to prevent him from storming the palace and bursting into the royal harem. In the end, I led him to the nearest riverside tavern to wet the baby’s head. Fortunately a gang of
leather and pitch and horse-sweat and woodshavings and sour beer. Most of all it is the smell of men, tens of thousands of men, living close to each other in tents and huts and hovels. We sailed on, and the sounds floated across the star-lit waters to our silent ship; the snort and the whinny of horses, the sound of the coppersmiths’ hammers on the anvil beating out spearheads and blades, the challenges of the sentries, and the voices of men singing and arguing and laughing. I stood beside the
men. Tanus is a Horus man, and Horus is the god of the wind. The desert wind had blown for three days and nights out of the western desolation of the Sahara. It had blown at the strength of half a gale without a check for all that time, but now it dropped. It did not taper off, it simply ceased to blow at all. The wavelets that had flecked the surface of the river flattened out, and the palms along the waterfront that had been vigorously shaking their fronds fell still, as though frozen by a
I saw that some of the other galleys had suffered damage, as we had. Two ships had collided in the heat of the chase, while four others had been attacked by the quarry. However, they reassembled swiftly and took up their battle stations. Then, in line astern and with strings of gay pennants fluttering at the mastheads to proclaim the size of each galley’s bag, they dashed past us. The crews raised a cheer as they came level with the Breath of Horus. Tanus saluted them with a clenched fist and the
I was released from my trance at last and started forward to help her, but I was too slow. Using its tail as a fulcrum, the cobra swung forward and aimed at her with its jaws so widely distended that venom sprayed from its erect fangs in a fine, pale mist. My mistress leaped back, agile and swift as a gazelle before the rush of the hunting cheetah. The cobra missed its strike, and for an instant the impetus threw it flat at her feet, extended to its full glistening, scaly length. I do not know