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The Twelfth Transforming

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  610 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
No period in Egyptian history has been the source of so much fascination as the reign of Akhenaten, the XVIII Dynasty pharaoh whose impetuous government took his country to the brink of disaster. In The Twelfth Transforming, Pauline Gedge tells the rich and dramatic story of Akhenaten's catastrophic rule -- and of the Empress Tiye, whose efforts to save her beloved country ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 589 pages
Published March 17th 2010 by Penguin Global (first published 1984)
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The Egyptian by Mika WaltariFlow Down Like Silver by Ki LongfellowRiver God by Wilbur SmithNefertiti by Michelle MoranThe Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
Best Egyptian Historical Fiction
17th out of 139 books — 353 voters
Nefertiti by Michelle MoranFlow Down Like Silver by Ki LongfellowRiver God by Wilbur SmithThe Heretic Queen by Michelle MoranCleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
Best Books About Egypt
30th out of 358 books — 440 voters

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Community Reviews

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Feb 24, 2011 Iset rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Iset by: No one
The combination of heretical scandal as well as disastrous rulership is what crucially provides our fascination with Akhenaten's motivations, and the desire to find out what those motivations were is what drives the main plot of the book. We do care about what happens to Tiye and the few other characters who try to cling to sanity, and whether or not they'll survive under Akhenaten's reign, but with each event we hope to observe Akhenaten's actions and make some kind of sense of just what his "d ...more
Sep 27, 2015 Felis rated it liked it
More like 3.5 stars... Originally gave it 4 stars but thought more about it and I'm veering more towards 3 now.

Warning to those who haven't read it yet: this book is rife with incest and includes homosexual relationships, so please don't complain about it when the relationships are kind of the point of the book.

Some spoilers below.

Like another reviewer said, this book is slightly below Gedge's usual standards, though I would still say that it is unputdownable and makes you feel as though you are
Carrie Slager
Feb 17, 2014 Carrie Slager rated it really liked it
Pauline Gedge is one of the best writers of historical fiction set in ancient Egypt and The Twelfth Transforming proves it.

Set in the (in)famous 18th Dynasty of Egypt, this novel chronicles the entirety of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten’s reign through the eyes of his domineering mother, Queen Tiye. Tiye is a ruthless woman by virtue of being Great Royal Wife to pharaoh Amunhotep III (Akhenaten’s father), and as such, is not always a sympathetic narrator. But she is so three dimensional that she
Lorina Stephens
Aug 21, 2009 Lorina Stephens rated it liked it
When I want to turn to literature for pure escapism I often look for Canadian historical fiction writer, Pauline Gedge. Primarily her books are about ancient Egypt, rich tales searing with the heat of the desert, heady with fragrance, passion, plots.

So it is this summer, after several rather unsatisfying obligatory reads, I decided to treat myself and delve into The Twelfth Transforming.

The novel explores the life of one of Egypt's more colourful and disastrous Pharaohs, Akhenaten, complete wi
Forgotten Realms Queen
here in Twelfth Transforming, we are introduced to the Empress Tiye and her husband Amenhotep the III, ninth pharaoh of the eigtheenth dynasty and one of the greatest in Egyptian history. It was during his reign that Egypt reached it's peak in culture and world standing. Sad that his son had to tear it all down.

Amenhotep III had several children by Tiye, two boys and several girls who went on to become his wives as well. But it was the younger son that history remembers the most: Amenhotep IV wh
Bertrand Brasil
Aug 22, 2012 Bertrand Brasil rated it it was amazing
Em seu segundo livro pela Bertrand Brasil, Pauline Gedge apresenta o romance A Décima Segunda Transformação, vencedor do prêmio Writers Guild of Alberta como melhor romance do ano. Um desenho perfeito do domínio do faraó Akhenaton, um dos mais importantes e polêmicos do Antigo Egito.

O país está em seu auge quando Akhenaton sobe ao trono após a morte de Amenhotep III, seu pai, que lhe deixou como legado um império vasto, fronteiras bem-definidas e um poderio militar temido pelos estados vizinhos
Some things I really liked about this book and other things not. I was conflicted in rating it.

It was up to Gedge's usual high standard in her novels on ancient Egypt: flowing, excellent, evocative writing. I did like the storyline and the events in the novel were plausible. However, I absolutely hated the characters and that alone drove it down from 4 to 3 stars for me. Each character was out for him- or herself only. The manipulation started with the main character, the ambitious Empress Tiye,
Oct 21, 2012 Rozonda rated it really liked it
As usual, Pauline Gedge refuses to idealize her historical characters- in fact, she brings out their darker sides in a convincing way. Nefertiti and Akehnaten, so often idealised as martyrs, ahead-of-their time characters (Akhenaten has been identified with Jesus or portrayed as some kind of hippie)or visionaries, are here shown in a very different way. Akhenaten's monotheism is but one of the many symptoms of his madness, which lead him to have sex with nearly all of his family (including his m ...more
Feb 24, 2016 Donna rated it it was amazing
I'm rereading this book after finishing the: ("Twice Born", "Seer of Egypt", "King's Man") trilogy. I first read "Twelfth Transforming" many years ago, probably when it was first published. I've long been a fan of Pauline Gedge. Well, ever since I first read "Child of the Morning". So a long time past now.

I usually find myself researching the subjects of her novels because I can't get enough. She brings ancient Egypt alive with her novels in a way that is compelling. Her characters were real peo
I like this book, but then I don't.

First, let me say that it's well written and there's some great characterisations to be found. I really like how the fallout from Akhenaten's reign and life is explored. I also liked that Akhenaten, while portrayed negatively, was somewhat sympathetic.

However, I felt like the atmosphere of the book was too much. The book is full of characters who are all out for themselves, ready to screw over anyone that gets in their way. It means that very few are actually
Bertrand Brasil
Aug 24, 2012 Bertrand Brasil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pauline se superou com este romance, em que, desde o início, vai transportar o leitor para dentro da 18a dinastia egípcia, na qual vivem o faraó Amenhotep III, sua esposa, a imperatriz Tiye, o filho Akhenaton – que assumirá o trono após a morte do pai – e sua esposa, Nefertiti. A autora analisa uma época de assassinatos, conspirações, intrigas, paixões verdadeiras e descobertas culturais importantes. O leitor nunca saberá quem está aliado com quem e aprenderá os estranhos costumes dessa sociedad ...more
Lester Picker
Mar 14, 2013 Lester Picker rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Egyptian historical fiction buffs
I have been looking forward to reading this novel for a long time. While the book was generally well written, with beautiful descriptive passages, and lots of accurate detail, I admit to being somewhat disappointed. There is much palace and political intrigue, but little action to ramp up the drama. I also found the near constant descriptions of the incestuous relationships to be rather sad and eventually boring. Of course much of that is historical, but as fiction writers we do get to choose wh ...more
May 29, 2007 Shane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This book has a story. I was working on a novel (never finished as usual) and part of it was set in Egypt, so I was looking for some fiction set in Egypt. I found out about this book and that it had Akenaton as a main character (and he was to play a part in my book as well) so I hunted for it for a long time. I finally dished out some cash (and as you may know I'm pretty cheap) to get it off the internet after searching endless used bookstores.

The result: I saw it somewhere else a week later for
Ted Hopkins
An engaging read, that I can readily recommend. As historical fiction, the history is sound, major events are all easily confirmed as understood at the time Gedge wrote the book. This is politics at all levels, great power politics to family politics, drawing out the best, the worst, and the indifferent from every person involved. Pauline Gedge puts flesh and blood onto ancient personalities. The book focusses mainly on Akhenaten's mother, Tiye and other people associated with the king rather th ...more
Nov 28, 2014 Lyn rated it it was amazing
one of my all time favorite books.The rise and fall of Akenaten is fascinating reading. I loved reading about these powerfully flawed people.
Jan 11, 2016 Nikki rated it liked it
A little cumbersome at times but very interesting take on the Amarna era and Akhenaten the heretic King
Alexandre Gé
Jan 10, 2016 Alexandre Gé rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
L'impression d'être immergé en pleine Egypte antique. Des personnages vivants.
Apr 08, 2014 Esther rated it really liked it
This is another book that grew on me; I thought it weak and titillating the first time I read it. With subsequent readings I have come to like it more, though I think it has a major flaw: for most of the book, even though we see the story through the eyes of other characters from time to time, Tiye is really the focus. But instead of ending with Tiye's death, the story shifts so that we can follow it through the death of Tutankahmun and the crowning of Horemheb. It's nice to have the "end" of th ...more
Nov 29, 2011 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read. The Ankhenaten/Nefertiti reign in ancient Egypt has been a popular theme in historical fiction but this author certainly put her own perspectives on it. I was disturbed by some of the premises but that's good, in a way, because I was made to feel something. Interesting. I also think Pauline Gedge has a fluid, descriptive writting style that pulls you into the world she has created. For fans of historical fiction & particularly of ancient Egypt, this is a ...more
Rebecca Huston
Probably my favourite novel set during the reign of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. The Queen Tiye here is one of the most interesting characters that I have come across and is how I do picture her. While some of the content is very adult, and not at all for children, at the time it was written, most of the new research found out about Akhenaten and his family had yet to be discovered. Great read.

For the longer review, please go here:
Apr 01, 2010 Dorothy rated it it was amazing
All I have to do to immerse myself in the rich and pungent atmosphere of ancient Egypt is to read this book. As a twelve year old, I decided on the name Merytaten for my email account (one that I still use) because it was the name of my favorite character in the book. But now, I'm starting to think that Mutnodjmet might be a more appropriate choice...

It's rare to have a book grow with you, but this one definitely did.
DNF--good start, but did not keep up the pace. It's an interesting time period (one of my favorites actually) but I feel like having the story told through Tiye's POV when Akhenaten is the one i really want to read about sets this reader at a distance. I'm still going to try HOUSE OF DREAMS by the same author
Marge Perko
Jan 14, 2014 Marge Perko rated it liked it
Shelves: the-ancients
It was very detailed, like all her other books. However, I do not think I want to revisit the way Akenaten treated his family - warning: very graphic and disturbing scenes. Would I recommend it? Maybe for someone really into Egypt - but again, there are other series by the author (Seer of Egypt is very good.)
May 24, 2012 Maxine rated it really liked it
This book transports you into the minds & hearts of Egyptians during the rule of Akhenaten. The historical facts are different from the ones we usually accept as true. There is even more incest than usual, but the authenticity of the characters & emotion in the story overcome these flaws.
Jan 07, 2016 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this book! Found it hard to put down. I kept looking things up on the internet to see how the facts match up. A lot of Egyptian history is conjecture it seems - but what a story!
Nov 18, 2014 Tanmayi rated it really liked it
Surprisingly informative to the extent of being a bit shocking. None the less well written and extremely well researched. As an ardent fan of Egyptian books , I enjoyed reading it.
Samuel Blondahl
Sep 14, 2012 Samuel Blondahl rated it it was amazing
Pauline Gedge is a masterful author, and this is a powerful book. Ancient Egypt is alive and vivid between these pages. Aten is satisfied I have no doubt.
Nov 11, 2011 Lois rated it really liked it
Well, I read this following finding Child of the Morning in the library many years ago. Glad to remember this author. I liked this book as well.
Aug 13, 2012 Kathy rated it really liked it
Love this author for the rich, historical fiction, with twists and turns, revenge, sex...all sorts of stuff that will keep you turning the pages.
Oct 14, 2009 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My comments about this novel of ancient Egypt are here.
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I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on December 11, 1945, the first of three girls. Six years later my family emigrated to England where my father, an ex-policeman, wanted to study for the Anglican ministry. We lived in an ancient and very dilapidated cottage in the heart of the English Buckinghamshire woodland, and later in a small village in Oxfordshire called Great Haseley. I grew up surrounde ...more
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