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River God

(Ancient Egypt #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  33,008 ratings  ·  1,459 reviews
For Tanus, the fair-haired young lion of a warrior, the gods have decreed that he will lead Egypt's army in a bold attempt to reunite the Kingdom's shared halves. But Tanus will have to defy the same gods to attain the reward they have forbidden him, an object more prized than battle's glory: possession of the Lady Lostris, a rare beauty with skin the color of oiled ceder- ...more
Paperback, 664 pages
Published February 15th 1995 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1993)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  33,008 ratings  ·  1,459 reviews

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Henry Avila
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
The mist clears, the clouds roll out and the fog lifts, looking down, the Nile appears. Its blue waters, dominate the desert land, like a Lion, over a savanna. And the hot sun, is always shining, bringing excruciating heat, which not even the Egyptians can tolerate too long. The scene, ancient Egypt, the life giving river flows leisurely by, going north. But no human knows where it begins, in the south, if it does have an end there. The eunuch slave, Taita, loves Lostris, daughter of the evil Gr ...more
How can you possibly resist a book about ancient Egyptians?

River God was a pleasure to read. At over 600 pages it still managed to keep the action flowing right until the end and it doesn't hurt that Taita is one of the sweetest and most likable characters I've come to know in a long time.

At first I wasn't too sure about this book. I bought it on a spur of the moment and didn't know what to expect from it. Taita comes across as a priss to begin with, and there is that question of how Egyptian so
Paul O'Neill
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was so good, I stopped reading a Malazan book to focus on it...

Higher praise was never given.
Genia Lukin
May 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2008 added it
Shelves: absolute-crap
I don’t usually advocate the burning of books, but in this guy’s case I’ll make an exception. He has some of the worst, turgid, cliché ridden prose in the English language. This guy must have a cliché macro programmed into his computer. “Oooh! I need a cliché. What one shall I use? I think I’ll use F7.” I do not know how this guy got published, not even once but multiple times. If you come across a book written by this guy take it to a safe place douse it in gasoline and set fire to it. You will ...more
Ancient Egypt mesmerizes me and I loved Wilbur Smith's River God. Taita is a very likable character and narrates the story. Not an everyday model hero for sure as a slave and a eunuch. But he's brilliant, spirited and above all loyal, even if a little vain; and I specifically like flawed heroes. I can't judge it's historical accuracy and I read it as a work of fiction; I'm not knowledgeable about Ancient Egypt, but I don't think it matters here.

It was a great adventure to read: the Egyptian Co
Mar 12, 2008 rated it did not like it
A decent story about life in egypt around 2000BC is marred by hamfisted writing. I didn't hate the book, but i sure hated parts of it.

In general the story isn't bad, but the writing made me cringe at best, and annoyed or angry at worst. It is full of 2-dimensional characters who never change (or change from one flat personality to another), constant deus ex machina (in the form of actual egyptian gods) and somewhat creepily sexual writing that is out of place and excessive.
River God is narrated
River God is one of those historical novels that broke open a whole new world to me. I have been to Ancient Egypt, lived, lost and triumphed there, and then resurfaced in my own time as if coming out of a vivid dream. The images are still with me, but what makes it truly wonderful is the main character, Taita. He is the star of this book, not the two star-crossed lovers who dominate the book description.

Taita is a slave, a eunuch, but a highly educated and privileged one. He's an artist, an inv
Dana Ilie
Abandoned on page 312 of 530.
It's getting frustrating and I don't see why I should kill myself with this series. Worse, I get annoyed.
From the beginning, I was attracted by the use of words / expressions / concepts that have no place in 1780IdH (girlfriend, Willy-Nilly, miscarriage, couch introduction of horses to Egypt-horses arrived in Egypt in 1700-1500IdH, etc.). The man didn't do his homework much and didn't have a team of beta readers with knowledge of history .....
I give it ⭐⭐⭐ because
Art Tirrell
Oct 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adventure lovers
Shelves: alltimefavorites

Only drawback; it's long, too long, but for sheer imaginative scope, Wilbur Smith's River God tops everything I've ever read. The story is narrated by the charming eunuch slave Taita, whose secret passion for queen Lostris surprises - until we learn Taita reached manhood before being castrated in order to render him "safe" for service in the harem. He retains his passion, artistic drives and incredible ego, and the exercise of these alone are ente
Absolutely fascinating book for readers who like stories about Ancient Egypt. A truly compelling story narrated by the multi-talented Taita the slave who has a mystical side and he protects and influences his mistress, a princess through various dangerous adventures, forbidden love, power struggles, epic fights etc .Also there is lots of interesting information within the plot about the great river Nile. One of Wilbur Smith's best books with a sequel too.
Debbie Zapata
Jul 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: dar
When I marked this book as currently reading, I was surprised to see that at some point I had rated it five stars. I know I have read one of Smith's Egyptian titles, but I am not certain it was this one. I think I must have slapped those five stars onto it back when I first joined GR and did not understand the system. I remember in those days going through lists and happily marking any book I either owned or recognized. Silly me. Some day I will make myself a shelf of all such books and then re- ...more
Rebecca Huston
For me, there's always a bit of trepidation when I pick up a novel set in Ancient Egypt. If I'm lucky, the book has plenty of research, an engaging story, and few anachronisms. Then there's this heap of steaming dung. There is so much to this one that I detest, from the insufferable perfection of the lovers Lostris and Tanus, the narrator, Taita the Super-Eunuch, and host of pretty much forgettable side characters. When the Hyksos attack Egypt in their chariots, the Egyptians are shocked and hor ...more
Aug 26, 2007 rated it liked it
I only read this book because it was highly recommended to me by someone. River God is supposedly about an epic journey and enduring love. Soap Opera history.I dont know much about Egyptian history, so I am not sure which historical elements within the book are accurate or inaccurate but the plot seemed a bit formulaic and I cant believe protaganist's utter perfection and endless accomplishments and talents. He single-handedly invented or saved every single aspect of Egyptian history and art. He ...more
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
This book was one of the most amazing books to have ever graced literature. That may only be my opinion, but I believe it to be true.The book had action, drama, comedy and of course a bit of sexual story as well.
The book had many different fights and wars in it. Tanus was a skilled and vicious warrior and killed without hesitation. Tanus had skill, discipline and love for a woman. Taita also had the same love for the same woman and yet they were best friends. They both fought many battles both
Feb 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rhodesian born author Wilbur Smith is not as well known in the US as in the UK and many other countries throughout the world. However, his first major novel was published in 1964 and since that time he has written over 30 additional titles with sales exceeding $65MM. His historical fiction and adventure novels have continually received high praise, maintained a strong following, and for those who were fortuitous in starting a library collection of his earlier works, provided a fairly good return ...more
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
i really liked this book. Taita is an incredible character. this was def. a page turner, i am running to the library today(im not allowed to buy more books unless absolutly nec. yes, i am a book a holic!) to pick up seventh scroll and warlock because i read at work and cannot bear to not have a book to occupy my time btwn xraying patients! the story was very authentic from what i know about egypt. and i was surprised to read Mr smith's note at the end that it was based on a true archeologic find ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: favorite-books
My father is a huge fan of Smith, was the one who first introduced me to this remarkable novel. But like I said to him once I finished River God, it was only good up to about halfway. Afterward, I felt as if there was no plot anymore, it was as if the story was just going through the motions and though starting off I couldn't put the book down, I eventually found it hard work finishing.
May 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I read this novel for about 400 pages, which was a generous sampling. I wouldn't say it's a terrible book--in some ways it resembles Gary Jennings' historical fiction, where the descriptions tend to be full of depictions of genitalia and gore, yet the setting has a strange yet vaguely authentic feel to it that might just draw you in. The problem with River God is that Smith's characters are all egregiously trite. Tanus is a good-hearted, honorable Ubermensch, Lostris is an emotional, kind, good- ...more
Apr 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Misfit, Hayes
The story takes place in 1780 BC in Egypt.

The narrator, Taita, is a eunuch slave who tells the love story between Lostris, the wife of the Pharoah of Egypt, and Tanus, the commander of the Pharaoh's army.

As historical background is the Hyksos invasion of Egypt.

Once you start to read this book, you won't be able to put it down, believe me. The plot is fast paced and one never gets bored.
I didn't give this book even a part of a star because I think that if you dislike a book so much that you can't read it, it doesn't deserve even a glimpse of a star. I read about a hundred pages of this book because it came so highly recommended, but I wished that I hadn't even read those. I was mostly offended by the graphic violence in those 100 pages. I'm for a book burning.
MrsJoseph *grouchy*
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this years ago. Years and years ago.

Mostly all of what I remember is that I loved it.

I hadn't a clue that it was a series.

Another handful to add to Mt. TBR? We'll see. I'm afraid it might topple over and kill me, lol.
Denisa Arsene
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, maychallange
If you want to read about the Ancient Egypt I think that this a good book to begin with. To read about their customs, traditions, their way of living.
Moon Rose
Nov 02, 2012 rated it liked it
The antiquated remnants concealed in the undisclosed ruins left by the Ancient Civilizations that still await further excavation hold a certain allure, a spellbinding interest that captivate the imagination of the modern man as it leaves some parts of its historical lineage buried undiscovered beneath its seeming eternal underground of slumber, enclosing their ancient secrets in mysticism as it opens up a wide gap between the truth from what is just mere fiction.

River God is a manifestation of t
Morag Gray
Dec 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Anyone who is not fussy.
Shelves: junk-reading
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thought this novel to be just wonderful filled with amazing characters, wonderful history, and a love story that has come down through the ages. Certainly, if you love the lure of ancient Egypt, this book is one that will delight and entertain you through its weighty five hundred plus pages. Definitely a page turner as we are taken through history by the engaging and ever loyal Taita.
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an epic read !!!
What. An. epic--CREEPY read.


This was my first African novel - excluding The Kane Chronicles which was only a children’s mythology book series. A novel for adult audiences is what I mean. This was wayyyyy more than what I expected.


Here’s what I think of it….

River God is the story of the era of Pharaohs, a story spanning three generations, as told by a slave called Taita.

But wait…don’t take the slave so lightly, because he is the key to every historical event everrr….
I first read this back in 1995 at a time in my life when I was obsessed with all things Egyptian. Even though that was 20+ years ago - I still vividly remember where I was when I read this and how caught up I was in the story.

Since then, this book has sat like a bookcase ornament gathering dust but holding trapped in it all those memories from so long ago that I could never bring myself to part with it. Until now. My final read is complete and it is time to pass it on to other readers as book sh
Elizabeth A
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I'm having a throwback kind of read. This is the kind of book I spent much of my teens devouring - once I got tired of all those Mills and Boon romances with the throbbing thighs. Seriously as adults do we ever read anything with the kind of sheer abandon we had as kids? Well, I captured some of that fun these past couple of weeks.

This is the first book in the Ancient Egypt pentalogy, and it was the recent publication of the latest installment that made me look into this series again. I am sure
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Wilbur Smith is the bestselling author of many novels, each meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His bestselling Courtney series includes Assegai, The Sound of Thunder, Birds of Prey, Monsoon, and Blue Horizon. His other books include Those in Peril, River God, Warlock, The Seventh Scroll, and The Sunbird. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages and have so ...more

Other books in the series

Ancient Egypt (6 books)
  • The Seventh Scroll (Ancient Egypt, #2)
  • Warlock (Ancient Egypt, #3)
  • The Quest (Ancient Egypt, #4)
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
  • Pharaoh (Ancient Egypt, #6)

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“I was sitting in the Temple of Karnak on the Nile, as the sun was going down, and I was all alone, and the great Hypostyle Hall was full of shadows and ghosts of the past, and suddenly I heard this little voice saying "my name is Taita, write my story"… and if you believe that you'll believe anything.” 9 likes
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