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Monday, April 15, 2013

Serious and Sophisticated Egypotological Romp;s in Eifrig's Debut Fantasy

Serious and Sophisticated Egyptological Romps in Eifrig's Debut Fantasy
A review of
Jennifer Eifrig Discovering Ren, Book 1 (Create Space, 2013)
306 pp $14.99 ISBN-10: 1481801929 ISBN-13: 978-1481801928
Reviewer: Forrest Schultz
Ancient Egypt is well known for its treasure trove of religious ideas, which are so mysterious and fantastic that it almost seems like they were dreamed up by a fantasy novelist! And there are some fantasy authors today who have studied Egyptology in order to use these ideas and these gods and goddesses (and other supernatural beings) in their own stories. Of course, the very idea of such ancient beings and magical practices invading our own time is itself a very common principle of fantasy. Unlike the "realistic" conception of history, the recrudescence of the ancient is often found in fantasy works, the book under review being a good illustrative example.
Like the popular versions, such as those found in the Indiana Jones and Lara Croft films, Eifrig's story is full of dangerous and humorous fantasy battle-romps, but there is a very serious element in her novel, which, in fact, is the dominant theme, namely that the eternal destiny of men are at stake, and this is regarded by the main character, Isadora, as of greater importance than winning a fantasy version of a martial arts contest. This theme assumes especial prominence in the climactic battle near the end of the book -- her prime concern is not beating up the bad guys, but of saving their souls!! And there is a level of sophistication even in the magical clashes in these battles that is rarely equalled in fantasy. And here and there in the story are found thought-provoking discussions of spiritual and theological matters.
There is also a sophistication of suprises in the story itself: what looks like a human may turn out to be an Egyptian deity! The author is well equipped for her task -- she has worked in museums and she is widely read in matters Egyptological. AND, she knows how to spin a good tale. The characters and the scenes are as well developed as is her tale. If you like this kind of fantasy, I recommend her debut book. It is the first in a series. The first two sequels are already planned and are works in progress. Information on the author is available at and


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