Egypt: The Book of Chaos is an imaginative and engrossing novel about a police detective in ancient Egypt who winds up on a secret mission for the recently widowed Queen Ankhesenamun, wife of King Tutankhamun. Yes, King Tut.
This book follows the brilliantly successful Tutankhamun, the wealth of historical detail as present in this second novel as it was in the first one. Chief detective Rahotep and the government diplomat Nakht are recruited to travel to the Hitite King and convince him to let them return home with one of his princely sons to marry the childless—and therefore desperately vulnerable—Ankhesenamun. The reason for this frantic attempt to broker a marriage is that General Horemheb is planning to use his army to take over power and push Ankhesenamun aside. Another plot line that ties in nicely is that there is an opium cartel that is determined to take over the criminal part of Thebes. It turns out that there is a link between the underbelly of the criminal element and those who wish to run the government.
With the final piece of his triptych of novels about Ancient Egypt, Drake utilizes his obvious voluminous research to take readers back in time to the court of intrigue that surrounded the hapless King Tut and his helpless widow, Ankhesenamun.
Drake has a deft ability to move the reader with his description of Rahotep’s wife’s reaction to his decision to go on this mission. She will not even tell him goodbye and the reader can almost feel his anguish as he wishes she will turn around and wave.
Some begrudge Drake’s use of contemporary language in an historical novel. It can be a bit jarring when you are immersed in the accuracy of Drake’s research, but once you adjust to it, Egypt: The Book of Chaos is a great read.