Title: River God, The author chose this title because the river god Hapi is the god of the main character in the story.
Year: The novel was first published in 1993; I couldn’t find when it was written.
Setting: The story takes place in 1800 v/C in Egypt.
Plot: Taita is the slave of lord Intef. His lord treats him as his special boy, but sometimes he miss-treats Taita badly. It’s Taita’s job to take care of his daughter Lostris. Lostris is in love with Lord Tanus, and he is in love with her. But Lostris is married of to the Farao; she takes Taita with her as a wedding gift. Taita makes sure Tanus and Lostris can see each other every ones in a while, but then Lostris gets pregnant of Tanus. Taita makes everybody believe that the child is from the Farao, and Lord Tanus is assigned to be his teacher. The child’s name is Memnon.
But then disaster strikes; Egypt is attacked by the evil Hyksos. The Hyksos win the battle over Egypt, and the Farao dies in a battle. Lostris, Taita, Memnon and the other citizens of Thebe flee. After a journey of several years they find a place where they are safe and build a city to live in until they are strong enough to chase the Hyksos back to where they belong. In this period of time Memnon grows up, the Egyptians see horses for the first time, they learn how to catch an elephant and so on. When Taita, Tanus and Memnon find a place to burry the Farao they meet Ethiopians. Memnon sees an Ethiopian girl and falls in love on first sight. Unfortunately the Ethiopians aren’t very nice and Taita gets captured.
90 days later Tanus and the Farao are finally buried. But nobody knows that Taita has switched the bodies. He did this because he thinks Tanus is the real Farao of Egypt.
Several years later the army of the Egyptians is strong enough and they decide to fight the Hyksos to win back their country.
They succeed but Lostris is very ill. She dies when they arrive in Thebe.
Theme: It’s not very clear why Wilbur Smith wrote this book; something I can tell by his style of writing is that he’s in love with Africa.
Taita is a very bright slave. He’s a architect, musician, painter, gardener and so on. He loves Lostris, but never really lets it show, because he’s her slave. Taita is a round character because he is very afraid in the beginning of the journey, but he becomes braver and braver.
Lostris is the new Farao after the death of Farao Mamose. She is in love with Tanus, but she has to marry the Farao. She leads the people of Egypt to safety when the Hyksos take over the country. Lostris is a round character, because she develops he leadership skills and in the end can live with the Farao who she first detested.
Tanus is the lover of Lostris, even though she is married to the Farao. He is also Memnons father, but nobody knows about that. He is assigned to be Memnons teacher. Tanus is a round character because in the beginning of the story he thinks he can change everything but in the end he learns that life doesn’t always go the way he wants it to.
Masara is an Ethiopian girl; she falls in love with Memnon on first sight. Her dad is one of the Ethiopians who claims to be the real king. Masara is a flat character because she doesn’t change during the story. Her only role is the role of Memnons lover.
point of view: the story is told in the I-form Taita is telling everything he does, feels and encounters.
Personal opinion: River God was a wonderful book to read! I’ve always liked the books of Wilbur Smith, but this is my personal favourite! I like it so much because it’s a mix of a historic, and a thrilling book. I also liked it because I really like Africa and Smiths descriptions of the environment are very good.
The English in the book wasn’t to difficult; there were some difficult words but not so much I had to grab a dictionary. I did find it difficult to write down the plot of the book, because there are lots of things happening at the same time. But still, this is a great book and I could really recommend everybody to read it!