Sunday, 3 May 2009
HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Hand of Isis - Jo Graham
Against the rising power of Rome, Egypt is the last and strongest bastion of the Eastern Hellenistic kingdoms. Charmian is Cleopatra's half sister, daughter of Pharaoh and a woman of the harem. She shares a great honour and a terrible burden with Cleopatra and their sister Iras - they are fated to defend Egypt from those who would destroy her. So when Roman Julius Caesar comes to Egypt in pursuit of his enemies, Charmian and her sisters are drawn into a deadly struggle. One that will shape the world to come. From mysterious temples hidden in the desert to the perilous palaces of Rome, from the tomb of Alexander the Great to the very Gates of Amenti, Charmian must face foes seen and unseen in a battle for her family, her love and her gods.
When I originally read Jo’s breakthrough novel last year she was a name that I made a note of so that every time a book by her landed it would go to the top of my reading pile. Why? Well she has an engaging writing style, lovingly created characters and above really does take the reader on an emotional rollercoaster. So when this latest novel landed the envelope was pretty much ripped open and the book started within the first five minutes of landing whilst I was giving the mantra of “Please don’t let this be the second novel flop”, that many authors suffer from.
Luckily for me, it wasn’t. It was wonderfully crafted with the time period created in such a way that it stepped off the page straight into my imagination in full technicolour wonderment which I absolutely loved. Throw into the mix her fast becoming trademark of wonderfully sculpted characters and top off with a plot to take you far away and I was in seventh heaven for the full duration of the tale. A wonderful piece of escapism that really is a top piece of fiction and a book that I have no doubt about passing on to literature fans of all genres.