River God by Wilbur Smith : A review

River God (Ancient Egypt, #1)River God by Wilbur Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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Buy Online: Flipkart, Amazon


”bruceWhat an epic read !!! 
What. An. epic--CREEPY read.

This was my first African novel – excluding The Kane Chronicles which was only a children’s mythology book series. A novel for adult audiences is what I mean. This was wayyyyy more than what I expected.

River God is the story of the era of Pharaohs, a story spanning three generations, as told by a slave called Taita.

But wait…don’t take the slave so lightly, because he is the key to every historical event everrr….atleast according to Wilbur Smith.

Taita is the most presumptuous of all protagonists. He is an architect, a war general, a playwright, a poet, a philosopher, a seer , a doctor – not just any general practitioner, an obstetrician, a heart surgeon, a brain specialist,

He is
Louis Pasteur !!

because he FRIGGING discovers the Germ Theory of Disease.


He is the one who figures out the origin of antibodies & Immunity !!

Mannn…I was like….


There is really no end to the list of things that he discovers….
Yep…there’s more…


He gives himself the credit for THE DISCOVERY OF THE WHEEL !!

Good Heavens! Can you believe this guy ??! :O :O
The audacity to dedicate History’s most important discoveries to One single guy….and that too a slave!!

To you my Good sir I ask,

How does he engineer so well without an engineering degree?!!

I have one and I can’t even figure out how to open a bottle-cap. 😥 😦

Those are some huge accomplishments for a slave, C’mon.

Strangely, it reminds me of Dobby
Like a badass, know-it-all dobby
Badass Dobby

But,But,…but….it works…Oh my it works so well in the end. I found him endearing and kinda, maybe, just MAYBEEEE, onlyyy a teensy bit missed him.

egyptian queen 2
If I imagined Queen Lostris this is how she would look

But when all is said and done, it was an amazing, epic read. Before I knew it, I had read 100 pages and I was hungry for more. There was not a single dull page for me.

The characters are palpable and real. They are brave, honest, just and virtuous. There are the good ones and the bad ones. All of whom were very real for me. I could emphasize with the characters easily.

— I loved the Ark-Horus, The Lion of Egypt… I felt brave reading about him.
— I loved Queen Lostris, I loved her virtue and her devotion to her people. I felt her patriotism.
— I loved the idiot King Pharaoh. He was stupidly charming. It was funny when reading about him and I enjoyed laughing at his ignorance.
— I loved the cunning Lord Intef. I felt his anger and vengeance.

This connect I felt to the characters accounts to some really brilliant writing.

egyptian queen 4It is always nice to read about exotic lands and Egypt is the queen of exotic experiences. It was a pleasure to read mature language and a book that is meant only for adults (children would be scarred by some of the gruesome scenes)

The story was surprisingly smooth flowing and there wasn’t any hiccup. From start to end, it was perfect. It was meticulously planned and narrated by our pompous jackass Taita.
Wilbur smith’s writing traps you in the story and enchants albeit it appears like he derives savage pleasure by writing every horrendous detail.

A story for those who like brutal blood baths, brave warriors, epic-stories and deep characters.

Here’s a glimpse at my Reading Progress:

River God Reading progress

Some extra stuff about the book…

I wanna compare this book to ‘The White Tiger – by Aravind Adige’.
The White Tiger Book cover              River God Book cover
• The slave is the protagonist in River God; The servant boy is ‘the White Tiger’
• Macabre scenes make up the crux of both the books; Slums, slander, luridness, mortification, infidelity, prostitution, bravery, Virtue, patriotism,unrequited love, hate and jealousy.
• From the poorest to the richest, from the dirtiest to the classiest, from the disgusting to the disturbing, both stories have all the elements to make one cringe and awe at the same time.
• The characters are nothing but Barbaric Civilians – an apt term for Delhi-based landlords and the Pharaoh Kings of Egypt
• The story shows us the ugly side of a great empire of Pharaohs, and the ugly side of the rich selfish, Indian landlords who are not much different from the Pharaoh Kings.

Only the brave and non-queasy read on…

A few scenes that are etched forever in my memory from the River God

• When the missing girl ends up in the guts of a crocodile and her mangled body is found
• The Castration of Taita – ‘nuf said.
• The staged drama turning in to a death play for the unwitting one who plays Osiris. His limbs and privates and finally his head, are severed from his body ON-STAGE. A live murder act for the cheering audience.
• The arrow piercing three consecutive people; clean through the first, snagging on the skin of the second and piercing the eyeball of the third.The bloodbath, the mountain of skulls.
• The death of Intef – his guts stuck on the spokes of the chariot wheels and the half-dead body dragged across the rough ground.
• The preservation of the Pharaohs body, embalming where all the inner organs (except the heart) are preserved in jars for his afterlife Journey.


More 5 star-rated book reviews:

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