Troubador The Awakening Aten

Released: 28/06/2019

ISBN: 9781789018752

eISBN: 9781838599027

Format: Paperback/eBook

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The Awakening Aten

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The Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.  


Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.  

This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.

This is a well written novel, from someone who knows the period, and which can be read on several different levels.
For the lover of historical fiction it is rich in detail, containing descriptions of real battles, military strategy and the forces at the command of the Pharaoh. Boat and tomb building and religious festivals are all accurately depicted.
For lovers of character driven novels, there are so many to enjoy in this book. The irascible Haqwaset is one of my favourites. His struggles, both internal and external, are well handled. Guilt and how it affects several characters in different ways is a theme throughout.
Kha, Merit, Djoser, Maiherpri and Nahkt are all well-formed and rounded characters, with Yuya a constant presence, both on and off stage, being the thread that binds the main protagonists together.
The story of Barratarna is brilliantly told and, although I despised him when first introduced, I felt his pain and suffering, sympathising with him and his plight.
Anyone interested in the religion of the time, or tomb desecration, will not be disappointed.
The historical notes at the end of the novel I found fascinating . It is clear the author has done his research. There is so much to admire in this novel. I thoroughly recommend it.
I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

by Amy Ford


I'm fascinated by the Amarna period and live in the city where the artefacts from the tomb of Kha are. This is means I was more than happy when I read this book.
It's well researched, enjoyable and entertaining.
I appreciated the fleshed out cast of characters, the historical setting and the plot.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Recommended!

by Anna


A beautiful, epic story of intrigue and survival, set in ancient Egypt. This author has accomplished a monumental task, bringing to life the hopes and dreams of various characters over time. This novel will thrill all those who are enamored of such a fascinating culture. There is a large cast of characters, thankfully notated at the beginning, which helps one to keep track, but their stories are so compelling and so richly detailed, I was drawn in immediately. The author, with evident expertise and knowledge of this region, invites us to enter an exciting, but sometimes dangerous world. Excellent historical novel. A must read.

by Anne


Jul 01, 2019 David Peat rated it it was amazing
A remarkable achievement. Not particularly interested in Egyptian history or historical fiction, this book may have swayed me. The author has obviously researched painstakingly to ensure the sense of time and place are correct; however, it is the inner stories which make this novel. Of course, the motivations are very human, but here they are subtle. Beautifully written and crafted, the necessary rape, murder and sometimes vile behaviour are well- observed. There is also a fabulous hidden coming-of-age story at the end. Brilliant

by Daid Peat


An accomplished first novel, The Awakening Aten is a well written and informative introduction to the world of intrigue surrounding ancient Egypt's royal family. I enjoyed following Yuya's rise from prisoner to being Amenhotep, and his successors', right-hand man and that of Yuya's fellow prisoners to key players in the life of The Two Lands. This novel has a slower start than I might have liked but, as the first in a series, it covers a lot of ground whilst settling the reader in the lives of the royal court and we're soon reminded of the brutality that political intrigue could bring about. In order for me to be more invested in the individual characters, I feel the next story in the series would do better to focus on either a smaller cast of characters of shorter period of time, but I look forward to the next of Aidan Morrissey's books and finding out whether Yuya's stable influence can guide the royal family through the drama hinted at in the final scene of The Awakening Aten.

by Juliet Coe


I love anything and everything to do with Egypt so I was excited to read this book. The setting is beautiful, the characters dynamic, and the plot engrossing. I loved reading about Ancient Egypt. I hope to read more from this author.

by Rose


This is a well written novel, from someone who knows the period, and which can be read on several different levels.
For the lover of historical fiction it is rich in detail, containing descriptions of real battles, military strategy and the forces at the command of the Pharaoh. Boat and tomb building and religious festivals are all accurately depicted.
For lovers of character driven novels, there are so many to enjoy in this book. The irascible Haqwaset is one of my favourites. His struggles, both internal and external, are well handled. Guilt and how it affects several characters in different ways is a theme throughout.
Kha, Merit, Djoser, Maiherpri and Nahkt are all well-formed and rounded characters, with Yuya a constant presence, both on and off stage, being the thread that binds the main protagonists together.
The story of Barratarna is brilliantly told and, although I despised him when first introduced, I felt his pain and suffering, sympathising with him and his plight.
Anyone interested in the religion of the time, or tomb desecration, will not be disappointed.
The historical notes at the end of the novel I found fascinating . It is clear the author has done his research. There is so much to admire in this novel. I thoroughly recommend it.
I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

by Amy


This was a fantastic read! I love learning about Egypt and while many of the characters are real historical figures, their personality, motivations, and desires are fictional. The author weaves a fascinating family saga throughout multiple generations of kings, queens, royal family, and commoners to give us a history that is rich and full of interesting people. I really enjoyed the way Morrissey weaves religion, political power, family and tradition into a seamless story told from multiple perspectives. This book is the first in a series so I'm excited that there will be more in the future.

by Ebony


This is the first time I’ve read a novel set in Ancient Egypt. The story takes us through the reign of successive Pharaohs and their Queens, including Nefertiti, one of the more familiar names from that era. The two main characters, historically based, are a Joseph-like commoner who rises to become Regent to a child Pharaoh, and a freed slave who is destined to be a famous tomb-builder, his work surviving to this day.

The lives of these two men, their wives, their children and their Rulers are vividly brought to life. Aidan Morrissey has clearly done meticulous research into the wars and the rituals of 1400 BC. Some of the battles and many of the rituals are brutal in the extreme. Ill-starred lovers and the life of Kings – Morrissey’s themes are, like those of GAME OF THRONES, grandly Shakespearean. THE AWAKENING ATEN would make epic and enthralling television. An exhilarating read, especially for fans of ancient history and legend.

by David Gee


The Awakening Aten is a sweeping drama centered on the Rise of Atenism and the decline of Egypt's old religion.

I imagine that Yuya himself was an Israelite Jew pressed into the service of the Hittite Army.

Aidan has done a huge amount of research within this novel, faithfully creating what is essentially a diary of daily Egyptian life.

My main point for improvement was that not much happened in between the novels, we were moving scenes from Kha's son, Djoser to see how he becomes a man and transition himself into a political life that makes GOT looks very amateur. Egyptian Royal Politics was so inter-wound with their tombs, you'd be hard-pressed to find another culture that puts so much emphasis on its tombs. Now I understand why Egyptians kept building them so much. The tomb was your way to the afterlife.

A word of warning, the action is meaningful enough with a battle with the Hittites, and Aidan produces a fantastic sentence describing the fluttering of the flag across the wind as bodies are piled onto the floor. He also shows how Egypt's royal monarchy falls in corruption as the High Priests are basically what caused Atenism to erupt. That was my general impression. But if the Priests of culture get corrupt, then people like Martin Luther did in Germany with raising his new Protestant religion. King Thutmose also doubts the nature of the Gods, for if the Gods are not controlling the sins of men, then what use are they? Could one God give all of that?

However, I disagreed with this point of view. The main point there should have been a character who worshipped the Gods but hated that the Priests had made themselves rich and corrupt. He would have a solid counter-argument to Atenism, arguing that it was the will of the Priests to choose. If the Gods created this world, then it was human will that led to wars and massacres. It was humans after all that split away from Ra from becoming too rebellious. If we see another character like this in the next novel, I will be pleased.

Many times I thought the author described too much effort into explaining a lot of detail about Egyptian life. While helpful, I felt this is a problem with historical fiction novels as authors have to often describe the details you don't know about. Aidan is an Egyptologist so that makes me envious of him. Although there were many scenes which dragged on, and it felt like a family drama sometimes. This is not a fault, this is more of the fact that you're describing an army scene for example. Aidan showed Kha on the chariot and then he's asking the Officer what an army is. The officer went into a lot of detail, but I would have wanted to see the descriptions of the Medjay Guard in an action for example. Rather than describing it. But how can you balance both of show and tell in a scene like this? Kha is a scribe and thus he's never heard or seen an army in his life. Now say you wrote a Napoleonic story, it would be much easier to describe French Bluecoats and the Imperial Guard marching onto the battlefield, drums waving, and their muskets glinting in the sunlight as cannons roar around them. Whereas say with an Egyptian battlefield, I would have wanted a more active description, more cinematic action, more details of soldiers crushing their clubs into each other.

My feedback would be is to balance between describing, showing and telling. Sometimes I felt it was more of a history book, so the pace was slow in between. However, in the next sequel, I would like to see more emphasis on more political intrigue, more maneuvering, more action and less describing and telling.

Overall, I'd give this 4/5 for a solid effort. Aidan has done more research than anyone ever could, and I think he's done more of a fantastic job with this novel. Although I would say that in the next novel he focuses the story in the Pendulum genre and make the story more important while keeping the main aesthetic of the historical detail at hand. If you like Egyptian court politics, and drama this is for you.

This is like Steven Saylor's Empire, only in much more detail.

Worth the recommendation and thank you, Aidan, for creating a work of art!

by Neil


I was given a ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair review

The Awakening Aten is a sweeping drama centered on the Rise of Atenism and the decline of Egypt's old religion.

I imagine that Yuya himself was an Israelite Jew pressed into the service of the Hittite Army.

Aidan has done a huge amount of research within this novel, faithfully creating what is essentially a diary of daily Egyptian life.

My main point for improvement was that not much happened in between the novels, we were moving scenes from Kha's son, Djoser to see how he becomes a man and transition himself into a political life that makes GOT looks very amateur. Egyptian Royal Politics was so inter-wound with their tombs, you'd be hard-pressed to find another culture that puts so much emphasis on its tombs. Now I understand why Egyptians kept building them so much. The tomb was your way to the afterlife.

A word of warning, the action is meaningful enough with a battle with the Hittites, and Aidan produces a fantastic sentence describing the fluttering of the flag across the wind as bodies are piled onto the floor. He also shows how Egypt's royal monarchy falls in corruption as the High Priests are basically what caused Atenism to erupt. That was my general impression. But if the Priests of culture get corrupt, then people like Martin Luther did in Germany with raising his new Protestant religion. King Thutmose also doubts the nature of the Gods, for if the Gods are not controlling the sins of men, then what use are they? Could one God give all of that?

However, I disagreed with this point of view. The main point there should have been a character who worshipped the Gods but hated that the Priests had made themselves rich and corrupt. He would have a solid counter-argument to Atenism, arguing that it was the will of the Priests to choose. If the Gods created this world, then it was human will that led to wars and massacres. It was humans after all that split away from Ra from becoming too rebellious. If we see another character like this in the next novel, I will be pleased.

Many times I thought the author described too much effort into explaining a lot of detail about Egyptian life. While helpful, I felt this is a problem with historical fiction novels as authors have to often describe the details you don't know about. Aidan is an Egyptologist so that makes me envious of him. Although there were many scenes which dragged on, and it felt like a family drama sometimes. This is not a fault, this is more of the fact that you're describing an army scene for example. Aidan showed Kha on the chariot and then he's asking the Officer what an army is. The officer went into a lot of detail, but I would have wanted to see the descriptions of the Medjay Guard in an action for example. Rather than describing it. But how can you balance both of show and tell in a scene like this? Kha is a scribe and thus he's never heard or seen an army in his life. Now say you wrote a Napoleonic story, it would be much easier to describe French Bluecoats and the Imperial Guard marching onto the battlefield, drums waving, and their muskets glinting in the sunlight as cannons roar around them. Whereas say with an Egyptian battlefield, I would have wanted a more active description, more cinematic action, more details of soldiers crushing their clubs into each other.

My feedback would be is to balance between describing, showing and telling. Sometimes I felt it was more of a history book, so the pace was slow in between. However, in the next sequel, I would like to see more emphasis on more political intrigue, more maneuvering, more action and less describing and telling.

Overall, I'd give this 4/5 for a solid effort. Aidan has done more research than anyone ever could, and I think he's done more of a fantastic job with this novel. Although I would say that in the next novel he focuses the story in the Pendulum genre and make the story more important while keeping the main aesthetic of the historical detail at hand. If you like Egyptian court politics, and drama this is for you.

This is like Steven Saylor's Empire, only in much more detail.

Worth the recommendation and thank you, Aidan, for creating a work of art!

by Neil Sharma


Aidan K. Morrissey

A lawyer by profession and an amateur Egyptologist by passion, I have spent many months visiting museums throughout the world and in Egypt, studying the funereal valleys of kings, nobles and workers. Kha's possessions in Turin museum, inspired me to give voice to his life and those of his contemporaries.

I have an infatiguable love of literature and enjoy reading as much as I do writing.


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