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A Review of

King and Goddess

by Judith Tarr




This historical fiction novel is based on the life of Hatshepsut, an ancient Egyptian woman who ruled as Pharaoh in her own right. King and Goddess



Fact Sheet


King and Goddess


Judith Tarr


0-812-55084-6 (Paperback)
0312860927 (Hardcover)


Tom Doherty Associates, Inc.


Historical Fiction



Number of Pages


Published In





Meet Hatshepsut, the woman who dared to declare herself Pharaoh. This historical novel based on her life incorporates known facts about Hatshepsut, her family, and the key officers of her court, and weaves them into a narrative that brings these historical figures to life.

The book opens when Hatshepsut is a girl of around 10 years old, but already Queen. It traces her troubled marriage, her loves, her sources of grief, the great works she performed that were recorded in the annals of history, and finally her decision to defy all tradition and claim the title of Pharaoh for herself.



Is It Right for You?


You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...

  • You are fascinated by ancient Egypt.
  • You are inspired by the idea of a woman being Pharaoh of Egypt.
  • You enjoy historical fiction.
  • You have seen the mummy room at the Cairo Museum, or you hope to see it in the future.


This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You don't have any interest in ancient Egyptian history.
  • You prefer fiction that stays close to the known historical facts.



What I Liked, What I Didn't


What I Liked:

  • The book turns historical figures such as Hatshepsut, Thutmose II, Thutmose III, Senenmut, and Nehti into believable, realistic human beings. It gives them families, personalities, and frailties.
  • It seems so easy to believe the motives that the author has accorded to the acts that history recorded.
  • The people featured in this book did some rather amazing things during their lifetimes. Although the author had to guess at why they did them, her guesses seem very plausible and make for an interesting story with well-developed characters.
  • When I traveled to Egypt after reading this book, it was fascinating to stand in the Cairo Museum and look at the mummies of people who had been featured as characters in this book. Having read the book, I had a much greater appreciation of their role in history than I would have without reading the book. The same was true when I traveled to Luxor and saw Hatshepsut's magnificent temple.


What I Didn't Like:

  • At times, the story drags a little.
  • The book didn't totally absorb me. I enjoyed it enough to keep reading all the way to the end, but it didn't draw me in the way some books have.
  • The humorous parts made me smile, but didn't move me to guffaw. The tragic parts made me think "That's too bad," but didn't draw a tear from my eye.
  • The book is not always true to known historical facts.




This book is pleasant, and I'm glad I read it, but it's not a book I'm likely to go back to and re-read in the future. I recommend it for people with an interest in ancient Egypt, especially if you have seen the mummy room at the Cairo Museum or are likely to see it in the future.




There is nothing to disclose. I have never had any contact with anyone associated with this book.



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