The Fowler’s Snare: A Novel of Ancient Egypt
When Egypt’s great commander hears of an Alodian army presence, he begins to amass his troops for war. But Pharaoh Kheper-Re has other plans. Determined the Alodians have arrived under false pretenses, he challenges their leader to a chariot race against a few of his best men.
Commander Shenq’s team are determined to win. But they must confront the harsh desert terrain and the obstacles it holds. With so much at stake, treachery and sorcery are once again in season as the kings of two rival kingdoms go head-to-head. It is a race that will cost the loser everything he holds dear.
“Superb story-telling that will keep you glued, in cinematic fashion, to the very last page.” B.A. Morton, Author of The Wildewood Chronicles.
“A very powerful and poetic piece of literature.” Karen Charlton, Author of The Heiress of Linn Hagh and Catching the Eagle
“Readers will be bound by the spell that C.M.T. Stibbe weaves from the very first page.” John Breeden II, Author of Old Number Seven
Stibbe brings a nearly forgotten age of sorcerers and gods, bloody desert races, and a rich, beautiful culture recreating the golden sands of Egypt as they were so many years ago. The novel skillfully depicts the intricate, and altogether tenuous, political atmosphere between Great Egypt and the small neighboring country of Alodia. Stibbe, succeeds in breathing life into these characters and their rich inner lives in such a way that you are entirely invested in their stories.
Pharoah Kheper-Re discovers that Kanjo and his men are more than mere merchants, he suspects they are Princes on the run and decides to test them in a dangerous challenge facing great hardships across the desert. A team lead by his commander Shenq will race Kanja and his selected men.
This period of history revolved very much around the gods, seers, prophets and dreaming with magic and omens believed at every turn. Many a priest or sorcerer lost their life if they didn’t predict the right outcome. In this book everyone’s lives revolve around the predictions.
There is a large cast of characters, twenty five helpfully named at the beginning of the book which is useful as many are hard to pronounce. I did struggle to keep them all separate as, for me, few had distinguishing dialogue which made them stand out. I do like the book cover artwork and I enjoyed the first half of the book, the descriptions of the ancient world were very enjoyable. However I felt the race across the desert was too long and drawn out and lacking in connection back to the Pharaoh and the original story theme, it didn’t keep my interest in the storyline, instead it introduced yet more characters who diluted the race plot. A few times there was a bit of head hopping leaving me wondering who was talking and sometimes action seemed to jump in time from one paragraph to the next with no real page break in the storyline. It may have been just the formatting of the book I read, or it may need another check with editing.
All in all a good story premise, but a good trim of the number of characters allowing the reader time to form a relationship and empathy with the main ones, a check on the dialogue to make each person really stand out as an individual so that the reader can clearly picture them. And content, for instance, Pharaoh conveniently having Kanja’s army all slaughtered on the night of the race, with no fight, comebacks or survivors, and making sure every person or action takes the story forward at a good pace. This would be a 3* equivalent review from me. green_bookworm