Warrior King

An Ancient Family Saga

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
470 Pages
Reviewed on 05/26/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Lauren Lee Merewether is an award-winning ancient family saga fiction author who loves to learn about other worlds and civilizations now past. Her sagas blend the historical, drama, coming-of-age, women's fiction, and romance genres. Even though violence and adult themes are folded into the pages of her books, you will not find explicit sex, gore, or profanity.

Lauren loves sipping green tea and watching the Discovery channels to enhance her love of ancient cultures even more so. She wrote Egypt's Golden Age Chronicles because she was interested to learn about the rebel queens of Kemet who took back their lands from the foreign rulers, Hekka Khasut, as they called them, better known as the Hyksos and the sacrifices they must have made to launch the nation into its golden era.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Warrior King: An Ancient Family Saga by Lauren Lee Merewether is a work of fiction in the historical fiction, family saga, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is best suited to a general adult reading audience due to some moderately violence scenes and adult themes throughout. In the opening to a new series set in Ancient Egypt around 1575 BC, we find ourselves embroiled in the drama of Queen Ahhotep’s life following the death of her husband. Caught between an overbearing mother and a son she must raise to take his place as a true warrior, there’s also a public to appease and a political nightmare to unravel.

It's been a while since I’ve been treated to the wonderful works of author Lauren Lee Merewether, so I was delighted to dive into this new series, giving us total immersion into the complex world of ancient Egypt. I love Merewether’s brand of political drama, blended seamlessly with interpersonal, emotional storylines that allow us to get into the psyche of her characters and explore the unusual pressures and challenges they face. This is an empowering work about the women behind the great kings and princes of Egypt, and Ahhotep is a striking figure with gravitas and power right from the start. I was totally engrossed in her romantic struggles, family quarrels, and role as a leader from cover to cover. I highly recommend Warrior King: An Ancient Family Saga. I can’t wait to see where the rest of this series goes.

Asher Syed

The rise of a monarch can only come when the monarch before is gone, and the sadness of Queen Ahhotep at the death of her husband, who was her brother too, that leads to her son Kamose sitting on the throne is the premise of Warrior King: An Ancient Family Saga by Lauren Lee Merewether. King Kamose proves his courage and military ability, but during a second campaign he becomes a martyr for Egypt, and Ahmose, Kamose's brother and Ahhotep's second son, is made king. Ahmose is a child and dependent on Ahhotep who is constantly politicking to shore up alliances and secure the family legacy in a realm that is in a perpetual state of war. Merewether's timeline jumps forward, often many years at once, and eventually an adult King Ahmose who is a husband and father goes to fight the wars himself. His mother Ahhotep and her daughter Ahmose-Nefertari, Ahmose's sister and wife, and Ahhotep's mother, the Great Wife Tetisheri, have to put their discord aside to save themselves from one of their own close immediate family members.

Warrior King by Lauren Lee Merewether explores the impact of loss on the lives of women, with this loss resonating as Ahhotep endures the unthinkable, losing her father, husband, son, and grandchildren. Ahmose-Nefertari and Tetisheri also bear the weight of similar tragedies. Loss is more than people and for the women, it means loss of agency, loss of freedom, and loss of their trust in others. Merewether's narrative prioritizes major events and timelines over intricate details of daily life in ancient Egypt. While this approach offers a broad perspective, it may pose challenges for readers unfamiliar with life at the time. Nevertheless, Merewether is able to vividly bring the moments she does describe to life, like a child's encounter with a crocodile and an act of sacrifice on the battlefield among two characters we grow to care for. Merewether's polished writing style and cinematic action sequences are particularly good as the book hits its climax and I look forward to seeing where the story goes from the next book onward. Very highly recommended.

Jamie Michele

Warrior King: An Ancient Family Saga by Lauren Lee Merewether is a historical fiction novel and the first book in the new series, Egypt's Golden Age Chronicles. Set in the 16th century BC, the story follows Queen Ahhotep I of Egypt's 17th Dynasty, whose son Kamose is installed on the throne when her brother-husband dies. The book begins with a war against the Hekka Khasut and Kamose's victory, as well as Ahhotep placing her minor son Ahmose as co-regent, a move that is almost prophetic when Kamose tragically dies. Ahhotep supports the child king while facing her own past, rebellion, and reflecting on her role in the kingdom. Over time Ahmose marries his sister Ahmose-Nefertari who grapples with her responsibilities and devastating losses. Ahhotep must temper dissent within the family while Ahmose leads his forces in a prolonged siege and remain focused on uniting the fractured kingdom. Ultimately, the war within the family is as dangerous as those the king fights outside, and as Ahhotep and Ahmose-Nefertari anxiously await news from the North and face the possibility of death or surrender, they are forced to take a stand when bloodshed infiltrates the palace and three queens, the royal children and the fate of the new dynasty hang in the balance.

I picked up Warrior King because I love stories about the “women behind the man”, but was pleasantly surprised to find that Queen Ahhotep is behind no man at all. She is driving the whole golden chariot. It should be noted that in real life it is King Kamose who is recognized as the first to use chariots in actual battle, so, there's that too. Lauren Lee Merewether does a beautiful job of taking an extraordinarily rigid and spotty slice of history and making it both accessible and intimate. There is a lot we do not know about the time period but, oh my goodness, having a skilled author fill in the blanks is all kinds of fun. As someone who has spent months in Egypt and who adores its ancient stories, I was aware that incest and marriage between siblings, and even fathers to their daughters, was totally normal. This is handled empathetically by Merewether and the 'ick factor' miraculously dissolves, especially as we truly grow to love Ahmose-Nefertari as a mother and queen in her own right. The effects of inbreeding, although it is not known by the characters, are heartbreakingly apparent as the tragedy of children born ill is only exacerbated by the fat, healthy babies borne by other lesser wives and concubines further down Ahmose's family chain. One could compare Merewether's work to those of authors like Michelle Moran, but to me, the standout is the focus on mother and daughter relationships, and so I found Warrior Kings to feel more like Amy Tan than Lavender Ironside. Overall, this is a wonderful novel and a solid entry into a new series.