By William Klein
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Extra info for The Woman Who Would Be Pharaoh: A Novel of Ancient Egypt
Menkhara commanded. The color drained from Ankhesenpaaten’s face. She turned and jogged a few paces, then slowed to a quick walk. She looked back at Menkhara and then broke into a run. Menkhara waited behind the trunk of a thick sycamore. Ankhesenpaaten broke into the open field and headed for the Royal Road. One of the pursuers pointed then raced toward the princess. Menkhara started after them, hoping to cut them off before they reached the open field. He was close enough to see sweat glistening on the assassins’ chests as they ran.
But from the very beginning he had had no stomach for gathering evidence against Ankhesenpaaten, and regretted letting Simut talk him into it. For now, he was content to feed into her eyes, her youth. She was beautiful. “I came on foot,” he finally said. ” Menkhara tried to calm himself. If nothing else, he would not come off looking a fool. He breathed in and smiled. ” 7 Disguised in the purple-sleeved tunic of an Assyrian trader, Simut sat in his sedan chair outside the Inn of the Two Brothers.
The air was stifling, and he became more conscious than ever of the stink of boiled leeks. He felt sick and feared he would vomit. He remembered squirming in his chair. Finally, he felt Simut’s comforting hand upon his shoulder, signaling the end of T H E W O M A N W H O W O U L D B E P H A R A O H n 27 the long vigil. He’d never felt so grateful. But since then, counting five years with his fingers, two more Pharaohs had died: his uncle Petara whom the world knew as Akhenaten, and his older brother, Smenkhara.