The Dagger of Isis

The Backstory

As I researched The First Pharaoh, the opening novel in The First Dynasty Series, I became aware of another amazing story. It turned out that, much to my surprise, there was a woman Pharaoh (although they were actually called kings in those early days).This first woman pharaoh reigned early in the First Dynasty and she was so highly respected she was given a burial place of high honor overlooking a sacred desert mountain pass. I made a casual note to maybe come back to this story at a later time.

When I finished writing The First Pharaoh, I was exhausted. But, after a couple of weeks, something kept nagging at me. Reluctantly, I began to look into this first woman Pharaoh and in short order I was hooked… again! Truthfully, I had wanted to work on a different, contemporary novel, but I simply could not pull away from the remarkable story of Meryt-Neith.

I LOVED this book! The Dagger of Isis got me hook, line, and sinker from the very first page. It’s a great book, and could be read as a standalone novel as well- I haven’t read The First Pharaoh, the first book in the trilogy- but I immediately wanted to purchase it because this one is just THAT GOOD.

I’m looking forward to the third book immensely, and would recommend The Dagger of Isis to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction and Ancient Egypt. Jessa Nastasi

In The Dagger of Isis, Book II of the The First Dynasty Series, I trace the life of Meryt-Neith, the first female ruler of a united Egypt (although there are indications that matriarchs may have ruled small tribal villages in Egypt even in the more remote past). The story takes place around 3,100 BC.

From her marriage to King Wadjet to her eventual coronation after his death, The Dagger of Isis is a tale woven of intrigue and betrayal. From her carefree youth, the book follows Meryt-Neith’s unlikely ascension to the throne, the wars she fought to defend the Two Lands, and the loves that gave meaning to her life. This saga takes us on a journey throughout ancient Egypt and into nearby lands, as Meryt-Neith struggles against her evil cousin, Nubiti, the Head Priestess of the Temple of Isis, to bring honor to her family’s dynasty.

The Research

My research for The Dagger of Isis was really started with the first book in the series, The First Pharaoh. By the time I sat down to write that novel I was immersed in the history, customs, culture, foods and medical practices of ancient Egypt circa 3,150 BC. I also felt that I understood the improtance of dynasty to the population and how that the dynastic tradition defined the ruling class of this great society.

And so, my research for The Dagger of Isis was confined to whatever I could find out about this legendary ruler, which made the job slightly easier. But, as with most research about that time period, either not much information survived or else the writing systems they used were not yet very sophisticated so they did not bother to record details. Probably it is a combination of the two.

In a way that allowed me a bit more flexibility in writing The Dagger of Isis. Most Egyptologists believe that Meryt-Neith served as regent for her son, although we do not know the circumstances that brought that about. The best guesses from various sources also indicate that Meryt-Neith ruled for approximately 17 years. In those details I stuck to the factual storyline.

Spinning the Yarn

Writing The Dagger of Isis was pure joy, for many reasons. First, I love a strong protagonist and the fact that my protagonist was a woman gave it extra special cache to me. I also knew that I would need an equally strong antagonist, and I think I found her in Nubiti (and her henchman, Bakht). It took me about seven months to spin the yarn into a first draft, but several more months to take it through several revisions.

I think people tend to romanticize ancient Egyptian society. There is no doubt that life was difficult in those times. Few peasants had teeth left after a lifetime of eating bread laden with sand. Medical knowledge was rudimentary. Myths and fears were pervasive. Lifespans were short.

Yet, the more I understand about ancient cultures, the more remarkable ancient Egyptian society appears to me. Knowledge was respected, as was the written word. Traditions and order mattered greatly. A legal system developed that afforded a measure of protection to all citizens. Women were respected and given certain rights even from the earliest dynasties.

With this in mind, I hope that you enjoy The First Dynasty Series. I look forward to your comments.