Lord Hani Mysteries #2
Genre: Mystery & Crime
Publication date: June 2, 2020
Four years into Akhenaten’s new regime, the dissatisfaction of those who practiced the old religion of Amen-Ra is growing. Hani, a diplomat already under the king’s surveillance because of the disappearance of his firebrand Amen priest brother-in-law, gets drawn into an investigation for the Beloved Royal Wife, who is being blackmailed over an infidelity. Meanwhile, the new vassal king of A’amu, lodged at Hani’s house until the king grants him an audience, is showing himself to be none too loyal. Hani must walk the line between his oath to the king and his conscience.
If you’re as fascinated by Ancient Egypt as I am, you will definitely enjoy this book. The author, a professional archeologist, has shared her ample knowledge in the rich detail of the society, culture, and customs of the land and the deft descriptions of political intrigue and rivalry between the royal women. If you’re not used to hearing about these customs, you may find them strange.
Lord Hani’s aphorisms were a source of pure enjoyment for me. The title of this book is drawn from one such ancient aphorism.
The author makes it easier for us to grasp the time period during which this book is set by sharing a detailed map and a short historical note about the events that were occurring at the time. She has also thoughtfully supplied the reader with a glossary of terms and characters–and I didn’t need to Google much.
I was struck by the author’s ability to use sophisticated vocabulary without sounding stilted or awkward. Her sentences flowed smoothly and her scenes shifted without confusing the reader.
Ancient Egyptian names aren’t the easiest to pronounce and there were many, many characters in this book, yet the author has drawn them so well that you can visualize each one of them in your head. I didn’t have any trouble keeping up with the numerous characters, either. Now that is an amazing feat!
In this story, Lord Hani, a diplomat, is pulled into various intrigues and scrapes–both royal and personal–and it is a wonder that he’s standing upright by the end of it all because there’s just so much happening on every page. It is interesting to see how, despite being a skilled and intelligent investigator, he just wants to be left alone to spend time in his garden and with his family.
a) Lord Hani has a large family with worries and dilemmas of their own, which he solves with remarkable calm.
b) The king’s foreign policy is causing him headaches and the consequences are life-threatening for him, but he manages to keep his head through it.
c) The royal women are involved in their own tussle and want him to help them get an advantage over the other.
This book is not one mystery–it is several interconnected mysteries.
I appreciated the in-depth look into the structure of family life at the time, gender roles, customs, spiritual practices, and religious beliefs. I was particularly interested to see how women were represented and how, even in those times, there have been women who have chosen to veer from the path set for them by men.
Despite the busy nature of the events in the novel, some readers may find the narrative style a bit long-winding. I want to reiterate that the reader must have an interest in Ancient Egypt to be able to appreciate the brilliance of this novel.
The Crocodile Makes No Sound is book #2 in the Lord Hani Mystery series, and there’s no doubt that I’ll be reading the others by and by.
(I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.)
Have you read any books by N.L Holmes?
If yes, do you think I would have benefitted from reading Book #1 first, even though this is a standalone novel?
Did you know that N.L. Holmes is a professional archaeologist?