Cover image for The shepherd kings
The shepherd kings
Tarr, Judith.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, 1999.
Physical Description:
512 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Subject Term:
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The pharaoh who rules Egypt's Upper Kingdom is prepared to take back the Lower Kingdom from the Shepherd Kings, but first he must make a two-fold alliance with both their beloved Horse Goddess and the migthy seafaring empire of Crete.

Author Notes

Judith Tarr was born in Augusta, Maine on January 30, 1955. She received a B.A. in Latin and English from Mount Holyoke College, an M.A. in Classics from Cambridge University, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Medieval studies from Yale University.

She is the author of more than twenty novels including The Golden Horn, The Hound and the Falcon, Avaryan Rising, Alamut, The Daggar and the Cross, The Lord of Two Lands, Pillar of Fire, The Throne of Isis, White Mare's Daughter, Queen of Swords, Arrows of the Sun, and Spear of Heaven. She also wrote a juvenile book entitled His Majesty's Elephant.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

With her usual flair, Tarr creates a dramatically imagined chapter in ancient Egyptian history. In the lands of the Two Kingdoms, pharaohs held the throne for thousands of years until the Retenu conquered the Lower Kingdom. A failed rebellion against the Retenu causes many Lower Egyptian lords to lose their lives and lands. Iry, an Egyptian girl of noble blood, bows to the will of her foreign masters but secretly hopes for a free Egypt. Kemni, Iry's cousin, was believed killed in the rebellion, but he now serves Pharaoh with his sword and his prophetic dreams. These dreams lead him to Crete to forge an alliance with the Greeks, who can train the Egyptians in the use of the hated chariots, which killed so many of their people. As the Egyptians move closer to recapturing the Lower Kingdom, word reaches Pharaoh of a mystical event: the Horse Goddess of the Retenu has chosen an Egyptian maid as her servant. The gods have spoken; let the war begin. --Melanie Duncan

Publisher's Weekly Review

This 13th historical novel from Tarr (White Mare's Daughter) invites readers into ancient Egypt, then nearly buries them amid excavated details and repetitive sex scenes. As the story begins, the Lower Kingdom of Egypt has been conquered by the Retenu, barbaric, hirsute invaders who have enslaved the local shepherd kings. Despite her status as a slave, spunky Egyptian Iry is chosen by the powerful Horse Goddess (incarnate in an actual horse called the Mare) to be her priestess. Meanwhile, Iry's cousin Kemni's prophetic dreams bring him close to the true king of Egypt, and place him at the forefront of the plot to oust the Retenu. When the Retenu lord Khayan falls in love with Iry, he faces a dilemma: will his allegiance to her, and to the Horse Goddess, overcome his loyalty to his people? Kemni dreams, and then arranges, an alliance between the rebellious Egyptians and the sea power of Crete. Iry and the Mare escape from the Retenu, and the war over Egypt begins. All these events occur very, very slowly. Given to showy anachronisms (trousers are "all the fashion among the tribes" ), and lurid sex ("he found her hot secret place and plunged deep"), Tarr's purple and dense prose is heavy going. Despite its historical interest and wealth of events, the narrative is as lively as a mummy. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Tarr's latest historical romance is set at a time when the kingdom of lower Egypt has been conquered by foreign barbarians. A young Egyptian slave called Iry has been chosen by the White Mare to be her servant. Egyptian rebels hope this means that the Horse Goddess now supports them instead of the invaders. Meanwhile, Iry's cousin Kemni persuades the Cretan king to support the Egyptian cause while finding himself bewitched by a beautiful priestess. If the Egyptians can master the horse and chariot, then their new alliance has a chance of destroying the foreign conquerors. But what will happen to Iry, who has fallen in love with one of the enemy? Tarr (White Mare's Daughter) carefully develops her strong-willed, passionate characters and showcases their complex and compelling relationships. The plot to free lower Egypt is definitely secondary to the love affairs. A solid choice for most public libraries.√ĄLaurel Bliss, New Haven, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.