The King’s Man describes the arc of one of ancient Egypt’s most enigmatic characters.
His name was Huy, and he rose from his ordinary, if not humble, beginnings to being worshipped and revered as a god, equal to Pharaoh if not superior to him.
Excerpts from Pauline’s notes:
“I wrote the previous trilogy (Lords of the Two Lands) as one novel. It subsequently divided naturally into three volumes, but by the time the first, The Hippopotamus Marsh, was published, I was exhausted. I took a great deal of time off, and when I felt ready to write again I deliberately chose a character from the Eighteenth Dynasty, Huy Son of Hapu, who seemed mysterious enough to allow me the freedom to happily fictionalize him. But the research quickly made it clear that the man would not be so easy to explain.
History has left us no record of him before he was summoned to the court of Pharaoh Amunhotep the Third, one of Egypt’s greatest kings, except the names of his parents, his brother, and the few other members of his family. He was born, and lived for approximately the first fifty years of his life, at Hut-herib, a small Delta town. Within nine years of having answered the royal command to present himself before the Horus Throne he had risen to become the virtual ruler of the country, in charge of everything from trade and taxes to the distribution of Egypt’s naval and infantry forces.
How had this happened? What was there about Huy that not only brought him to the attention of the King but kept him in total power until his death as an old man in his eighties? In The Twice Born I have attempted to answer this question. I began with Huy as a spoilt child about to be sent away to school, where something terrible and yet miraculous took place which was to change his fate for ever. I ended the novel with an eighteen-year-old Huy and his childhood friend and servant Ishat moving onto an estate granted to him by the grateful King Amunhotep the Second. The reason for His Majesty’s gratitude was something startlingly unique. Huy settles down in comfort.
By the time we meet Huy again in the second volume, Seer of Egypt, his life and that of Ishat seem cheerfully predictable, but Huy lives under the constant scrutiny of Atum, creator god, who in return for a most unusual favour has demanded that Huy decipher the ancient and well-nigh incomprehensible Book of Thoth, dictated by Atum to the god of scribes, the ibis-headed Thoth, at the dawn of history. Huy does not know why he must do this, and will not find out until the third and last novel in the series, The King’s Man. At the end of Seer Huy is ordered to leave his pretty little estate and take his place as an advisor to the boy king Amunhotep and his mother, the Regent Mutemwia.
His rapid rise to becoming the unackowledged pharaoh of Egypt has begun.
In Volume III (The King’s Man) that rise culminates in his death, by which time the common people were already worshipping him as a god, and I explain why.”
Download the trilogy as an ebook from Penguin here.