This is one of those books where no amount of sequels can ever do the original story justice. Seventh Scroll pales into insignificance by comparison (...moreThis is one of those books where no amount of sequels can ever do the original story justice. Seventh Scroll pales into insignificance by comparison (I've not touched the others yet) but is still a good book. This is about one of my main interests - ancient Egypt - so I was hooked right away. Wilbur Smith draws wonderfully colourful portraits of the time with his words, as well as well-formed characters. Taita the slave particularly; his loyalty, friendship, inteligence and (not entirely misplaced) arrogance lead you through the book. The romance between Tanus and Lostris is beautifully written, and Mr Smith does like describing the female form in all it's lithe-limbed nakedness at every opportunity, and he writes love scenes quite nicely. It is the end which indelibly stamps itself onto your memory, however; the words carved onto the ushabti doll had me in tears... holding a book, sobbing and turning pages at the same time unable to put it down.
An incredible achievement of historical fiction-writing. It's one of those few books where when you turn the last page, you feel you have lost friends... and you miss them. I have to read it again. Highly recommend.(less)
The second book in the series after River God (one of my top 10 fav books) and set in modern times, on an archaelogical dig to find out things from th...moreThe second book in the series after River God (one of my top 10 fav books) and set in modern times, on an archaelogical dig to find out things from the first story. Taita is a main character again but as a historical figure. I don't remember much of this book other than a certain scene in one of the underground/near the river caves involving electric eels, which gave me bad dreams for ages.
It's a good book, don't get me wrong, enjoyable and I learned quite a bit, but I am comparing to River God and it's not the same. The romantic subplot of this story isn't so well written, or sexy and I remember it as being quite dark and frustrating, but I did read this a long time ago. Mr Smith continues his penchant for detailing women's legs to some effect - the female lead is very well described! It's certainly a page turner, and showcases Mr Smith's knowledge of African history and Egypt brilliantly - he writes scholarly about that. I need to read it again... and try some of the sequels where Taita goes on and on!(less)
A papyrus was found and kept hidden because it was considered too risque for public display. I'd love to see it exhibited! It is the Ancient Egyptian...moreA papyrus was found and kept hidden because it was considered too risque for public display. I'd love to see it exhibited! It is the Ancient Egyptian version of the Kama Sutra, Ananga Ranga etc etc and shows that Egyptians took their sexuality very seriously as it was not just an earthly pleasure but a cosmic one too - a way to mirror the gods. This book not only studies the papyrus but also looks at erotic/fertility symbols and cave paintings found where workmen took their breaks and doodled on the walls. Seems that Egyptians were just like us, had senses of humour and one track minds. Nothing changes!
An academic book that reads well, interestingly and not at all dryly, and has lots of pictures! This book is both about the papyrus itself and also sexual practices in Ancient Egypt. Ruth Schumann-Antelme is a good academic writer lucky enough to have such titilating subject matter to be an expert in! (less)
This book was originally published in 1893. I am fortunate to have the Kregel publications edition with colour plates and a pull out constellation map...moreThis book was originally published in 1893. I am fortunate to have the Kregel publications edition with colour plates and a pull out constellation map in the back and it's a family book that I treasure.
Reading it gives you chills; Bullinger has written a sort of dissertation outlining a complex, well researched idea that all the constellations have at their core, meanings and interpretations, a primeval prophecy of Jesus, his redeeming power and ultimate victory over death. It's incredibly gripping, educational, and oftentimes convincing. As a Christian, and a believer in God's hand in Nature, and being in awe of the beauty and wonder of the world, I would like to believe that nature has esoteric knowledge stitched into the fabric of time. It's a thrlling concept. His theory is summarised in a quote from Psalms on the front page: "He telleth the number of the stars; He giveth them all their names." Psalm 147:4 - RV.
In the book, Bullinger describes each of the constellations in the zodiac starting with virgo through to leo - the riddle of the sphinx is explained (!!); the virgin to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah - by discussing their original names, in many ancient languages, and the names of the highest magnitude stars within them which elucidate the person of Jesus and his plan for the Bride of Christ (Israel, not the Church). Bullinger also mentions a few historical events and what was going on in the sky at that time which also tells a story, and takes great pain to highlight the shifting position of stars over the millenia, and how they would have been when originally set down or where relating to various events.
Some explanations and "proofs" seem a little tenuous and he is heavily biased; he has a habit of discounting any cultural name or explanation that doesn't fit his theory ie he says often enough that the Greeks and their myths were "ignorance" or they had "forgotten" the original meanings. Most of the cultural references are based on the zodiac of Denderah (Egypt), and the Egyptian, Hebrew and Arabic names are most commonly used, which suggests the obvious common root, but other cultures are referenced (Ethiopian, Syriac, Hindu, Greek, Latin, Chaldee etc) but not consistently. Even discounting the cultures not represented, if they are the names of the stars are real (weird if NOT signficant), and this is historically acurate research not a posteriori interpretation, then the story outlined in the heavens how it is described is quite simply jaw-dropping and certainly prophetic as it is millenia old.
He lost me in the last chapter talking about periods of time and special numbers outlining the time that Jerusalem will be "trodden underfoot," and he goes to great lengths in saying how some prophecies are about Israel and Jerusalem, NOT the Christian Church.
What is never explained is how the constellation pictures (that bear little resemblemce to the clusters of stars) came to be in the first place. The pictures are not a celestial dot to dot but still are - if his book is believed - similar the world over; if not for the same pictures exactly, but still similar meanings but the exact same clusters of stars - given the infinite choice, this is phenomenal in itself.
Overall, it's an amazing book, brilliantly presented and researched and written with obvious love and devotion, a magnum opus of biblical scholarship. Read it and I defy you not to be amazed at least once.(less)
Loved this book. It's an academic Egyptology book which explores the role of women in Ancient Egypt by highlighting their role in religion mirrored by...moreLoved this book. It's an academic Egyptology book which explores the role of women in Ancient Egypt by highlighting their role in religion mirrored by worship of the goddess Hathor. Women in Egypt enjoyed a high status compared to more male-dominated (backward haha!) civilisations and communities of the time, and since, actually. This was part due to the elevated role of the goddesses in their lives, who were responsible for many high aspects of living/life/belief including creation, childbirth, merriment, healing, truth and law and also beauty. Egyptians saw the value of these things - mainly the domain of women - and elevated them because of it, which is logic lost on all male-dominated cultures.
Written in language suitable for a lay-person with some background knowledge of Ancient Egyptian culture and history, this work is an interesting read but also an educational and approachable look at her topic and Carolyn Graves-Brown, I think, has written a fascinating book devoid of dry academia-style prose to create a readable and gripping book! I couldn't put it down and was quite sad to finish it!(less)