Thursday, January 01, 2009

City of the Dead

Last night Jesse, Mia, and I snuggled up in bed to watch Shrek the Third. I had made cookies and brownies earlier in the day, and to that we added pretzels and beer dip, chips and french onion dip, sausage, cheese, olives (green and black), and cherry tomatoes (for Mia). It was quite an array. Mia loved being the center of our attention, and when the movie was over, we played a few games of Guess Who. We tucked her into bed around 9:30 and then watched Transformers together. It wasn't a wild, exciting party, but it was the perfect way to ring in the New Year and definitely more fun than a box full of possums!

City of the Dead by T.L. Higley is the second book in her Seven Wonders series. Hemiunu has risen to be the Grand Vizier to the Pharaoh Khufu in Ancient Egypt, and it's his plans that are constructing what will be the greatest pyramid in all history. Hemi is committed to his goddess Ma'at, who controls justice, and when a murderer strikes bringing up memories of the past, Hemi knows the only way to restore balance to Egypt is to seek justice for Ma'at. I loved the premise of this book. Higley has taken a story that could have taken place in any time period: eight friends go on a hunting trip into the swamps, but only seven return and all are bound by the secrets of what happened that day. As they each rise in power, the bonds grow stronger and tighter until one day one of them is murdered, and then another. Higley uses lots of historical detail to bring the story to life, but it did flag a bit in the middle. The story is at times thrilling and fast-paced, but a few too many side trips to build the pyramid slow down the action. Once Hemi stands accused of the murders, the story picks up and zips along from there as he goes from observing and planning life to being an active participant and discovering a strange sect of peasants who serve the One God. Higley has written a fascinating historical mystery with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

Do you have a New Year's Resolution this year? Jesse and I are going to set a budget and stick to it. We've tried in the past, but I read a few books in 2008 to really help us get on track, and I'm hopeful that with God's help, this is the year we'll get it right.