Fifteen year-old Ahmose never wanted to be a queen. She was god-chosen (meaning she sees and hears the will of the gods) and groomed from childhood to be a priestess. But when her father, the pharaoh, dies without an heir, his best friend and most trusted general is named the heir and Ahmose, not her hot-headed elder sister Mutnofret, is proclaimed Queen of all Egypt. This does not suit Mutnofret at all, who launches a defamation plan against her own sister, the young queen. Ahmose needs guidance to deal with Mutnofret, but doesn’t get it.
Her grandmother, who holds the title “God's Wife of Amun” and holds complete, though unpracticed power, will not give Ahmose the title so Ahmose can contain Mutnofret’s jealousy and venom. So Ahmose steals her grandmother’s title and receives her grandmother’s curse for the theft. Ahmose’s friendship with her husband’s steward goes too far and she loses her only friend when she needs him most. Her actions return to haunt Ahmose until the gods in her dreams name her Queen of Sorrows.
Once Ahmose reaches womanhood, she discovers her husband – her main source of strength - relying on her and her connection to the gods, which is all she’s ever wanted. He relies on her, but does not listen when she explains that the daughter she bore him has the spirit of a Pharaoh and must be named his heir. The gods punish those who disobey.
I have not, I hope, given away too much of the plot, but I will say Ahmose’s choices make her character an extraordinarily real teenager in a difficult situation. Much of the novel is the fight between the two sisters and it’s like watching the old Wild Kingdom t.v. show. One of the competitors will feed her family and one of them will be lucky to escape. The book is also like that show in that I had difficulty walking away. I refuse to give spoilers, so you’ll just have to read The Sekhmet Bed. It’s a great read and one you won’t soon forget. I look forward to reading what happens next to the Queen of Sorrows.
Please join me tomorrow for my interview with Lavender Ironside, the author of The Sekhmet Bed.