Impoverished badass. Foreign idiots. Would-be king. Obsessive follower. Mysterious slave owner. Running through pitch black tombs. Poisoning. Double crossing. Rebellion. Confusing advances. Victory. Loss. It’s all there. Mara Daughter of the Nile is one of my favorite books of all time. True, the title is lame…but once you get past that, it’s really a wonder. I’m not sure how Eloise Jarvis McGraw manages to spin such a twisted chain of events without letting them lose power and coherence, but she does. Characters that will never, ever leave your mind. A plot more addicting than heroine (do not use heroine – it is bad for you). Moments so real you can almost see them and hear them. Pacing so perfect you will forget real time and spend hours reading in Egypt.
Even if you’re not much of a reader, Mara is for you. Anyone with intelligence, sarcasm, and love of adrenaline will eat this stuff up. It’s a short novel (279 pages)…but you need not worry about anti-climacticism. The last few chapters are impossibly good. I read this book several times a year, for 11 years now. It rivals Lord of the Rings and Hamlet on my roster. Yeah. You should probably read it.
A word of advice — it’s currently out of print. My great hope is that one day some big Hollywood movie producer will chance upon it, fall in love, and subsequently make a film. A super sick forever solid film!!! Or, a mega talented screenwriter will adapt it faithfully into aforementioned super sick film and then sell the opt to a major studio. Once super sick film is released, people will go insane over it and Penguin Books will begin to print Mara again. Yay! But until that day comes (and it’s coming, just you wait), Mara is found exclusively through Amazon, eBay, the library, and used bookstores. Happy hunting.
P.S. If you’re a guy, try not to drool over sexy-tough-as-nails Mara. And if you’re a girl, try not to swoon over devilish-I-am-unfathomable Sheftu. They’re cool, but fictional. Keep that in mind…you know, just in case.