I found this novel difficult to judge. It is 2.5 stars for me. Something felt missing from the book and I could not quite put my finger on it. The characters felt as though they were at a distance, I never felt a full grasp of them or cared very much for them. The shifting viewpoints took away from the story in my opinion, it would have been better told simply from someone close to Hatshepsut or from Hatshepsut’s viewpoint only.
The novel was originally written in 1977, which leaves a great deal of time since them for archeologists to discover more facts about Hatshepsut and her reign. I do wonder what Gedge actually had to work with at the time, I feel it would give me greater ability to judge the novel. As it is, the novel felt incomplete in a way--perhaps due to lack of inclusions Gedge should have made or Gedge's inability to replace what history has not left us (or what we have yet to discover).
I found out after reading the novel that Gedge wrote this novel in a very short period of time, in less than two months. I dare say that could have contributed to what I felt was missing. At times you did feel as though Gedge took a fact from history and simply inserted it even if it did not flow with the story.
A few things really bothered me about the novel. For instance, there were no dates given in the novel whatsoever. This was very annoying, as the time frame of Hatshepsut is known (at least general dates). Time passed without mention except to say "two years later" and such without any smooth transition in my opinion. It left you feeling like there was a gap, such as Gedge not having any historical events in which to include. It could have been handled more smoothly.
Also, there were no maps, family lineage, time frames or anything of the such included in the book. I wonder if the most recently published book differs in this capacity. I also wonder if Gedge altered anything to improve the novel in terms of what has been discovered since 1977?
BTW, the figure on the cover of this particular edition is from the Fourth Dynasty, Hatshepsut is from the EIGHTEENTH Dynasty. Very frustrating! This individual is NOT Hatshepsut and there is only about a thousand years between them. *sigh* Don't do such things publishers, I'm sure there was something better available at the time.