Desert God by Wilbur Smith: A review


I finished reading this one on January 30 so let me just think what I can remember of the plot. Hmm...not much. But I will try to at least give you a brief summary.

Well, it's a novel of ancient Egypt. It says so right there on the cover. The main character is Taita, a slave. He is a eunuch because, apparently, that was a requirement for male slaves. He has in his care two princesses whom he always refers to as "my princesses."

Taita, as he will readily tell you, is very, very good at everything he does, especially warfare, languages, and games. Moreover, he is much appreciated and admired for his many talents. (This assessment, again, is according to him.)

The other characters in this tale are all essentially stick figures. We never get to know them very well.

There was one character, in particular, who I found interesting and who seemed to have the potential to add depth to the story. Her name was Loxias. She was a Greek girl who became a tutor for the princesses. But we just never got to spend that much time with her or to get to know her. The focus is always Taita, Taita, Taita!

Perhaps if I had found Taita to be a more sympathetic character I would have enjoyed the story more but my irritation with him kept me from ever being fully invested. As for the princesses who are the other essential characters in the story, they are too insipid and utterly selfish to care about. 

At some point, the princesses are shipped off to become wives to King Minos of Crete. We may think we have seen the last of them at that point, but then our hero, Taita, also spends time in Crete and in their presence. Ah, well, it would have been cruel to separate him from his beloved princesses.

I struggled just a bit with deciding on a rating for this book and when that happens, I generally settle on a mid-rating. I stayed true to form in that regard.  


  1. I went on Goodreads and you weren't the only person who felt the way you did. Too bad, as I was fascinated by ancient Egypt as a child. This might have been a good read for me.

  2. Sorry this one disappointed. With ancient Egypt as a setting it should have been better.

    1. Ancient Egypt is actually a favorite setting of mine for literature, so, yeah, I was hoping this one would be better.

  3. Did you have this one in your stacks? How did you come to read this one? I didn't realize you were a fan of Ancient Egypt books. I like if the novel brings in some of the actual history which I'm sure it does.

    1. It did have historical references which were accurate as far as I could tell. I've always loved mysteries with an ancient Egypt connection. I used to love to read Elizabeth Peters' books featuring archaeologist Amelia Peabody. Great fun!


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