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    Review of THE SPIES OF SOBECK by P. C. Doherty (see his website)

    Minotaur, February 2010

    Female pharaoh Hatusu has returned victorious over invasion in the Nile delta but the restless province of Nubia threatens to rise in revolt. Worse, an assassin cult has largely cut communications between Nubia and lower Egypt. When Nubian assassins attempt to kill Pharaoh herself, Amerotke, a judge, determines to find who's behind the rebellion and bring him, or her, to justice.

    Thebes, the capital of Egypt, is filled with people from all over the world--including countless Nubians. The high priest of the Nubian church seems loyal...after all, he stopped the assassination attempt, and the former Nubian scout, Imothep cut his ties with Nubia when he helped the former Pharoah defeat it, but there are others whose loyalty is doubtful. When both Imothep and an assassin are found apparently strangled in closed rooms, Amerotke realizes that the mystery is deeper than he'd at first thought.

    Author P. C. Doherty (see more reviews of mysteries by Doherty) creates a believable picture of ancient Egypt, with its wealth, pride, poisons, bloody executions, and constant scheming. Amerotke finds himself dividing his time between detecting and fighting off armies of assassins...including those hired from Thebes's slums as well as Nubian forces loyal to their former royal family.

    There's a lot to like about this mystery, starting with the Egyptian setting and Doherty's smooth style. I found the solution to the mystery itself to be a bit telegraphed...perhaps Doherty's readers enjoy being ahead of their sleuth rather than behind him. I would also have liked to see a bit more about the characters, their motivations, their emotions. Still, SPIES is an enjoyable read.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 3/07/10

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