I really enjoyed this mystery novel set in the early 1960s Egypt and was sorry to part with it, which is always a good sign – an emotional and mental relationship with a book doesn’t happen out of nowhere.
I’ve been dazzled by Ancient Egypt since I was a child. You don’t need to believe in pseudo-scientific hypotheses about its origins to become fascinated with Egypt – I certainly don’t — but once you learn a little bit more about this incredible civilization, you can’t ignore the mysteries, the unknown and unexplained that surround it. Once you stand in front of the pyramids, the temples, the colossal statues of the old kings and queens, or the granite boxes in Serapeum, you realize and, even more, you feel that the official Egyptology answers are not only insufficient but also as illogical as the most outlandish alternative theories. Better still, you understand, on some deep, cosmic level, that the Egyptian puzzle doesn’t have or doesn’t need the ultimate answers; the great part of the appeal of this old, old world is in its resistance to be fully explained, in its ability to keep its secrets. In a paradoxical way, this great mystery connects us to Ancient Egypt much stronger than any definitive explanations ever would.
I felt that tie when I was there. France Leighton, the heroine of the novel, felt it too. This bond gives Audrey Driscoll’s story a unique dimension, and it’s the reason why She Who Comes Forth and I clicked together. All the other qualities aside, the undisputable beauty of this novel lays in the fact that the author was able to evoke the enigmatic and timeless substance of Egypt and the mysterious connection between this land and us.