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The City of Refuge (Memphis Cycle #1)

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  82 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
It was once the glory of Akhenaten's reign, called 'The Horizon of the Aten'. Now the imperial city of Akhet-Aten lies wrecked, abandoned and accursed, dreaming in the darkness on the edge of the Nile.

Police Commander Khonsu has never believed in curses, but he can't deny his own foreboding when he learns that the city's stone quarries are to be reopened at Pharaoh's comma
Kindle Edition, 430 pages
Published April 20th 2011 (first published September 1st 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 519)
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Susan Swiderski
Oct 28, 2013 Susan Swiderski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tell ya what, I could have breezed through this book much more quickly if my brain didn't keep stumbling over the characters' names. I mean, what's wrong with using easy-to-pronounce (and remember) names like Bob and Jim?

Just kidding.

This story isn't just awash in exotic names; it plunges readers into an exotic world, as well, and immerses them in the pomp, pageantry, and intrigues of ancient Egypt. Wilder's vivid descriptions skillfully depict life in a world that's oh-so-different from what we
Oct 12, 2015 Debbi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book for free through Amazon Prime, and now I must read the next one! For Egyptian historical fiction buffs, this book is great.

Years after the fall of Akhenaten, his royal city lies abandoned in the desert. Once a beautiful place, it's now full of tombs and ruins...and possibly ghosts. Commander Khonsu is sent to investigate reopening the quarries there, but there are many who would profit from keeping things as they are. Khonsu takes his men and investigates, over the objections of
Charlie Kravetz
Aug 24, 2014 Charlie Kravetz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is for the Kindle edition ebook.

Hidden treasure, murder, suicide, revenge, in ancient Egypt all thrown together to make an interesting story.

This is the story of revenge and murder in ancient Egypt. One man must prove he was betrayed without revealing his story to those accompanying him.

A good, fast paced story with some history and facts woven in, this book was able to hold my attention. It was difficult to sort the names used, as is true for any book involving old Egypt. The story
Aug 10, 2012 Tona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so glad that I won this book. I am a sucker for any book that deals in Egyptian topics. I am glad to say this is an amazing read.

When the Pharaoh decides to open a deserted and haunted city; it is up to Commander Khonsu to protect the workers. Lord Nebamun is representative of the Pharaoh and is assigned to inventory the deserted city. Lord Nebamun has his own reasons to return to the city. He wants to put the ghosts of the city to rest once and for all.
Hart Johnson
Jun 13, 2015 Hart Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As historical fiction I thought this was fantastic. As a mystery, I had just a few quibbles. I think the characters, backdrop, setting and details were very well done. The perfect level of description to really put me there. I feel though, the author might have made a slightly stronger story had there been something up front that suggested WHY they group was going to the dead city--I mean an official reason was given, but a "why then" would have hinted at the suspected looting--a motive for the ...more
Beth Carpenter
Feb 17, 2015 Beth Carpenter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A complex story of mystery and drama. It did throw in a lot of Egyptian names and places up front, which confused me a little, but as I was drawn into the story, the names and relationships begin to fall into place without too much effort. The two main characters are both men of integrity, men who take their duty seriously, and yet they are charmingly human. They worry about their families, are amused at the antics of younger soldiers, and sometimes struggle to do the right thing.

The story drew
City of Refuge is a story of mystery set against the destruction of the city of Akhet-Aten (modern day Amarna) during the later years of Horemheb's reign. The King has ordered that Akhet-Aten's quarries be investigated with a view to reopening – but there are reports that the city is haunted by ghosts. In the city itself, the team finds not only talk of ghosts, but cases of murder, tomb robbery, betrayal and the systematic looting of the city.

I had difficulty getting into the book at first, whic
Ia Uaro
Mar 17, 2013 Ia Uaro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Reviewed by Ia Uaro of and

The former glory of Pharaoh Akhenaten's reign, the imperial city of Amarna has been abandoned after his death, and now lies in wreck on the edge of the Nile. To study the viability of reopening of the city's stone quarries, the ruling pharaoh sends a delegation from the Memphis temple of Ptah, headed by its second-ranking priest, an enigmatic man without a past who is no
James Hockey
Jun 09, 2012 James Hockey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a mystery set in a fascinating period of Ancient Egyptian history. The dissenting monotheistic sun-worshipping world of Pharaoh Akhenaten has fallen. Egypt has returned to it's traditional Gods. The city of the sun, Akhenaten's capital, lies in ruins and is occupied by a royal expedition sent to assess its usefulness as a source of architectural quality stone.

The discipline of this party of priests, police and soldiers is disturbed by rumours of ghosts and noises in the night. There are
I was very excited to jump into this book and had been waiting to find the time to be able to enjoy it... sadly I think it was a little predicatable. By about halfway through I knew what was going to happen and the "big" mysteries about the hauntings.

I am a huge egyptian mythology fan, but am an even bigger Egyptian history fan but this book didn't keep me gripping the pages wanting to find out what happened next. The premise was amazing! The ties to history were good as well. The set up was am
Sharon Mullins
May 08, 2016 Sharon Mullins rated it really liked it
Great job

This was well worth the read. I enjoyed the plot immensely. I am looking forward to reading the other 2 books in thwseries
Sekhar N Banerjee
Jan 19, 2016 Sekhar N Banerjee rated it really liked it
An enjoyable historical fiction

Though the initial part of the novel is a bit of a drag, the story turns interesting towards the end.
Lee Holz
Sep 04, 2012 Lee Holz rated it it was amazing
I was wrong in believing that Diana Wilder’s The City of Refuge was the second in a series. While also set in ancient Egypt, this is a standalone novel. The period is that immediately following the reign of the monotheist Pharaoh Akhenaten, which if I remember correctly predated that of the Pharaoh Ramesses II in Pharaoh’s Son. It makes no difference to the excellence of this story. This is again “you are there” historical fiction at its best. There is mystery (actually two) and plenty of action ...more
Jun 17, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me a while to pick this book up as it's not my usual type of read but once i started and pushed through the frist 6th of the book i was hooked.
The writing style is good and there was enough of a mystery to keep me reading and ignoring my housework.
I am really enjoying trying books i wouldn't normally choose. This era in history is one i am fascinated by but never have timeto ecplore so the book gave good insights into the history without bombarding a non-historian with too much overkill.
This is a murder mystery set in Ancient Egypt. Admittedly, I'm not much of a classics historian, so Wilder's deconstruction at the end was a great asset. I think it would be more useful at the beginning, though.

The story is a basic whodunit and hidden identity and bait and switch. It was too obvious what was going to happen from the beginning, so it lost a lot of its punch to me. I finished it, because the descriptions of places and statuary and the architecture are well worth it.
I didn't really enjoy this book I felt like it wasn't really going anywhere until about halfway through and then someone is killed yay now we're getting somewhere... I don't like when the answer to the mystery is super obvious it kills the book for me, especially when you reveal everything and there's still a quarter of the book left? GRRR frustrated, I'm glad I didn't pay for this because I was really disappointed.
3.5 actually. This was a good story, but at times difficult to follow and I felt the story really dragged in places. I was kind of glad when the story finally ended even though, at times throughout the book Diana Wilder was able to bring ancient Egypt to life for me. This was obviously a well-researched, adventure mystery.
I was confused at the beginning of the book. I'm not sure if I was confused by the author's approach or confused by my own attempts to fit her story into what I know of Egyptian history :) After a while, though, things settled down in to a reasonably straightforward mystery set in Akhenaten's destroyed city.
Cheryl Carpinello
Sep 25, 2012 Cheryl Carpinello rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting story. Enjoyed the premise behind the story. My one problem and the reason for the 4 stars is that the beginning was confusing. I was unsure who was talking, what was happening. It was only my interest in ancient Egypt that moved me past that.
Mar 13, 2013 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not too bad, I love Egypt so I gave it 3 stars but it was a bit too slow with a few errors here and there I think its the sort of book that could have been great if ...
Feb 25, 2013 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-free
3.5 stars. Overall, I liked it. It needs a little more polish, but nothing too serious. Although I am no expert on Egypt, it felt believable.
L. (Climbing Mt. TBR one page at a time)
An interesting setting, although I kept being put off by the modern way these ancient Egyptians sometimes spoke.
James marked it as to-read
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Louise Bright marked it as to-read
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Tom Grove
Tom Grove marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2016
Andrew rated it did not like it
Aug 19, 2016
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I grew up all around the United States courtesy of a very mobile family. Perhaps because of the Irish in me, I love to weave stories for my own enjoyment about the people I meet and the places I've seen during my travels. I graduated with a degree in ancient and medieval history and experience in journalism.

I started writing novels in graduate school, and have produced four set in New Kingdom Egy
More about Diana Wilder...

Other Books in the Series

Memphis Cycle (4 books)
  • Mourningtide (Memphis Cycle, #2)
  • Pharaoh's Son
  • A Killing Among the Dead

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