The City of Refuge
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The City of Refuge (Memphis Cycle #1)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  18 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...more
Kindle Edition, 430 pages
Published April 20th 2011 (first published September 1st 2001)
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Charlie Kravetz
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...more
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.
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.
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...more
Ia Uaro
(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...more
James Hockey
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...more
Susan Swiderski
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...more
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...more
Lee Holz
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
I like historical mysteries... and reading about ancient Egypt... but I don't know how accurate I'd consider these. Overall, I enjoyed the story. Although I figured out the premise of the mystery early on, which is rare for me, the plot flows easily. Unlike her earlier work, Pharaoh's Son, I thought the ending dragged on. The mystery was solved, all loose ends were wound up, and there were still 20+ pages to read.

Please don't be put off by some of my comments. If you enjoy Egyptian novels as muc...more
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.
Cheryl Carpinello
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.
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 ...
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.
An interesting setting, although I kept being put off by the modern way these ancient Egyptians sometimes spoke.
Clifton Cullen
Clifton Cullen marked it as to-read
Aug 26, 2014
Alanna Fowler
Alanna Fowler marked it as to-read
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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
More about Diana Wilder...
A Killing Among the Dead Pharaoh's Son Mourningtide: Book Two of the Memphis Cycle The Safeguard: A Novel of Georgia in 1864 The Orphan's Tale (Book I)

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