Book Review: “Salvation In The Sun” by Lauren Lee Merewether


I have been interested in Ancient Egypt since I was very young, and I know I’ve said this before, but I’ve watched hundreds of documentaries over the years and even visited the King Tut exhibit at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum back in 2009! It was so amazing to see all of these treasures laid out and read about what each item meant to the boy king and the rest of Ancient Egypt too. I still wish I had a blog back then because I would have lots of material to talk about for a few months! I hope this isn’t the only exhibit I will ever visit because it was everything to me.

Now, as for this book, I wasn’t even looking for a new read; it just sort of happened by accident. I was a day away from getting another book and I decided to look up historical fiction books about different eras and places, and this one kind of popped up on the first try and I am so glad I found it because it was nice to be introduced to these figures I’ve heard about for years, and in a strange way, they became so real for me. I just can’t wait to share things with you below.


This future she knows for certain–the great sun city will be her undoing.

Amidst a power struggle between Pharaoh and the priesthood of Amun, Queen Nefertiti helps the ill-prepared new Pharaoh, Amenhotep, enact his father’s plan to regain power for the throne. But what seemed a difficult task only becomes more grueling when Amenhotep loses himself in his radical obsessions.

Standing alone to bear the burden of a failing country and stem the tide of a growing rebellion, Nefertiti must choose between her love for Pharaoh and her duty to Egypt in this dramatic retelling of a story forgotten by time.

Salvation in the Sun is the first volume of Lauren Lee Merewether’s debut series, The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles, a resurrection of an erased time that follows the five Kings of Egypt who were lost to history for over three millennia. The story continues in book two, Secrets in the Sand.

taken from Goodreads.

I actually didn’t read the blurb so all I really knew was this was going to be the story of a pharaoh. The one hint I did get right was the word “sun” so this instantly lead me to believe we’d be discussing the origins of the Aten. Now for anyone who knows anything about Ancient Egypt, you may be familiar with the amount of different gods, goddesses, and deities and the importance of afterlife. While the book mentions a few things, it focus on the beginning of both Akhenaten and Nefertiti disbanding and creating one singular god, the sun disc, the Aten.

You start with a scene where the “current” Pharaoh and his Queen, are making the decision to basically erase everything about this time. I thought opening it up with this was very interesting! You could tell in a way that they were forced into this idea but before it happens, they discuss it out loud with the priests of Amun-Re one last time; and then we are suddenly brought to a birthing scene and we learn about a fictionized story of Queen Nefertiti. Nefertiti is a very mysterious character in general. We know very little about her, but there are records that speak about how beautiful she was and how she became regent perhaps before the boy king, Tutankhamun.

“It is a wonderful thing, to be the powerful Queen of Egypt, but it is a cursed thing.

You see the makings of a Pharaoh with Amenhotep, and although the main character is Nefertiti, he is just as important because he is the one who made the decision for everything. However, there are some features to Amenhotep that we need to discuss beforehand. Amenhotep is seen as a weakling to basically everyone of the royal family. He fights for acceptance to anyone with importance and the main person is his namesake, his father: Pharaoh Amenhotep III. There were many scenes that I thought were crucial to be understood about the mind of this person, especially after changing the main religion of the whole country. Nobody wants to be a heretic but yet he was so open to the possibly he’d make his father proud of what he was able to do as Pharaoh, but it wasn’t the only element that drove Amenhotep in general. He’s always felt unwanted and the one thing that made him feel better at all was sitting in the sun. He believed that the sun was healing him of his physical aliments and nobody likes to be told something different just because the other disagrees, I mean, trust me I deal with it all the time!

Honestly, I didn’t quite know what to expect once I started reading. but once I got started though, it became very difficult to put it aside for a long period of time, so I managed to get through pretty quickly and still ended up liking it more than I thought I would! There were parts that I found to be like in the times of King Henry VIII’s break from the Catholic faith. If you have watched The Tudors on Showtime, you might remember the contrast between King Henry at the time of choosing an entirely different God and religion to worship for his people and the power struggle for his eldest daughter Princess Mary, because she was still very Catholic and since Henry believed his marriage with Catherine if Aragon was wrong and wanted a divorce from her so he could marry Anne Boleyn. She saw her father and younger siblings as heretics, as they also saw her as one in their Protestant perspective as well!

It may seem like I had a difficult time dealing with what I’ve learned and reading the first book in the series, but honestly, I opened up to it fully. I wanted to see someone else’s “suggestions” in a way. I am finally getting better at reading historical fiction stories and I’m deeply thankful for it because I literally can’t wait to see what else could happen in Nefertiti’s story, because instead of being focused on the statue of her that I’ve grown up knowing about, I am able to see her as a real human being, dealing with life, even in ancient times, they were really alive and endured a lot of things that most people can only think about, or don’t want to think about! If you can separate what history tells you and like to explore new but familiar worlds, I think you may enjoy the rest of the series. Lauren has a wide selection of Ancient Egypt books and they’re available on Kindle Unlimited too!

Have you ever read Lauren Lee Merewether’s “The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles” yet? If you have, what were your thoughts about the story of Nefertiti so far?


I think I’ve always been interested in Egypt; the history, mysteries over there since I was maybe eight or ten years old. I really don’t know how it got started and why I was so taken by the mummies, their views of the afterlife and the gods. It just memorized me enough that I have read a few books and watched so many specials on TV that in 2009, we heard about a new exhibition coming to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis and it was called Tutankhamun: The Golden King and The Great Pharaohs. I was stoked but since it was up north, I figured I’d never get to see it. Well, one of my family friends was writing to my nana and she had gotten four tickets into the exhibit from her job but figured I’d like them more and my mom, sister and one of her friends were already going up north for a concert, now I had an excuse to go with them. My Aunt Laurie, cousin and her husband at the time took me up there and that was my second time ever been there in the museum. I was the only 17 year old that could past under the age of 10 and I was okay with that! I loved everything about it honestly! It was so bright, full of knowledge of King Tut and the other pharaohs and some about their wives and how they did the mummification. This was as close I was going to get ever getting to Egypt and I was okay with that!

When I saw the trailers on the Spike’s Facebook page I wasn’t really interested. I’m so used to watching the interviews of different Egyptologists and archaeologists talk about what they think what happened in their lives at the time and what the stories that they left behind on the inside of their tombs and other buildings. They’re still finding more information about these people and I, of course love every ounce of it! As far as getting interested in this miniseries, I had to make a deal with myself in a way, even though I knew I’d lose. I told myself just watch the first part. Time was getting closer and closer to the day and I actually kept getting excited about it. Finally after hearing about three months before it aired! I decided to record all three in case my dad wanted to watch it afterwards. It started Sunday night and I watched it until Wednesday afternoon. I was so addicted that I ended up surprising myself at the end. I was really sad that I almost started it over again.

To start this, while I was busy finishing the first and second episodes that I couldn’t keep myself away from my wandering thoughts. I wanted to how much of this was true. I should have waited until it was finished completely but I didn’t. I found information while I was watching it that there were a lot of things in the miniseries that may not have happened. This is where you’ll be finding spoilers so beware! I knew (and have known for years!) that Askhesenamun had two stillborn daughters, in the show they still categorized them as stillborn but sons instead. There’s no record of her life after Tut’s death so whether or not she got pregnant again by anybody else is unknown. My second problem was of the story line using Suhad, who was a woman Tut meets in the marketplace in the beginning and she is Mitanni/Egyptian that basically falls in love with the King and it’s mutual, she ends up pregnant by him and is ultimately killed at the hands by Askhesenamun. This person and Ka, who is Tut’s friend/Askhesenamun’s lover/father of third child don’t exactly exist. Lastly, the Mitanni and Egyptian war, the whole thing that the show is based around. I was more concerned about this than anything else. There was a battle between both places but wrong pharaoh. It was during the Pharoah Tuthmosis IV’s reign instead. There’s not much about it, but I did find this.

I’ll be honest I have never seen any other TV show or movies with these actors/actresses, except for one. I have seen Ben Kingsley in another movie. I find I’m more critical while watching these types of shows, movies because you’re taking a part of history and your creating a visual of what life could have been like. Acting the parts is only half as good as looking the part. I thought the use of Avan Jogia as King Tut and Sybilla Deen as Askhesenamun were a good choices for the two main roles, but I hate, hate, hate it when movies use different actors/actresses from other countries. I would have liked all actors to be true to who they are playing and I think ethics is a big part of that! Knowing that not single person on the credits is Egyptian is a little insulting! I say that but I wouldn’t change Avan or Sybilla so I just contradicted myself. I have to say I think Avan was awesome as King Tut, very believable! Alexander Siddig as the High Priest was very malicious! I hated the guy, but the part was great for him though!

I think watching this made me want to get books and watch other documentaries of Ancient Egypt again. Too bad the History channels hardly ever switch up their guide anymore. Even though I did give a lot of the story line away. I think it was pretty awesome. I got through the blood a lot easier than I thought I would! For a miniseries like this one to be shown on Spike, I think it was a good risk to take! As much as I had a lot that I didn’t agree with, this is just somebody perception’s of how the story could have gone back then and who knows it could have we might never know!

Do you watch the three part miniseries? What were your thoughts on it?