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How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt
Bower, Tamara; How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt. New York: Atheneum, 2005. $16.95, ISBN 0689844344.

Note: Serpot, ruler of a land where women live free, without men, leads her Amazon warriors in battle against Prince Pedikhons of Egypt, who has come to see for himself if women can equal men, even in battle. Includes notes about Assyrian and Egyptian culture and hieroglyphs. (CABA Winner)

Ms. Bower has produced a lovely book: both visually pleasing and intellectually interesting. Here is a thoroughly accessible rendering of the late Egyptian story of Prince Pedikhons and Queen Serpot, an episode in the tale of "Egyptians and Amazons." No mean feat this, since the surviving text is fragmentary and thus does not easily lend itself to such an undertaking. [1]

This particular story touches on a variety of themes. Firstly, we have here a good illustration of the way literary tradition from one culture can influence another, since this Egyptian story is inspired by the Homeric tale of Achilles and Penthesilea. Secondly, it provides an introduction to Egyptian literature and language for younger readers. Ms. Bower includes quotes from the actual Egyptian text throughout the book (with Dr. Houser Wegner's assistance), with beautifully produced hieroglyphs, as a means of introducing the Egyptian language to her young audience. She skillfully uses Egyptian and Assyrian artistic styles in rendering her illustrations and overall design of the book. Thirdly, of course, the very story itself - the armed struggle between the two rulers, Serpot and Pedikhons, should prompt interesting discussion of sex roles and stereotypes: Could a woman really be the physical equal of a man? Perhaps it takes more than mere physical strength to win such a battle? And finally, there is the broader subject of warfare in the ancient world, about which the reader will get some ideas from Ms. Bower's illustrations.!!

Copyright Africa Access,2005

Bower has produced some battle scenes similar to those to be found on ancient Egyptian monuments, especially related to the Battle of Qadesh. Among these illustrations, those that are particularly pleasing in terms of the use of related artistic tradition are that of the fortress of Queen Serpot in the surrounding landscape of Khor (pp. 6-7) and that of the Egyptian camp (pp. 10-11), both of which owe much to the above mentioned Qadesh scenes. [2] Furthermore, Ms. Bower provides some excellent notes at the end of the book about the story (providing historical context), the Egyptian language, and the symbols used in Egyptian art which occur in the book. There is also an appropriate list of related further reading.

In conclusion, this book is highly recommended. It would be a worthwhile addition to a school library or a great gift for any young reader. Readers may also wish to track down a copy of Ms. Bower's previous similar work, The Shipwrecked Sailor. [3]


[1]. See Miriam Lichtheim. _Ancient Egyptian Literature_. Volume III: The Late Period. (Berkeley, Cal.: University of California Press, 1980). ISBN 0-520-04020-1. [2]. For some examples see H. A. Groenewegen-Frankfort. _Arrest and Movement_. (New York: Hacker Art Books, Inc., 1972). ISBN 0-878-17069-3. Figs. 30, 32 a, and b. [3]. Tamara Bower. _The Shipwrecked Sailor_. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000). ISBN: 0-689-83046-7.

Rating: HR Grade: P / E / M Type: Book

Reviewed by: Alexandra O'Brien, Athens, Greece.

Subject: Egypt / Fiction / Asssyria / CABA Winner