The Dagger of Isis

Readers’ Guide

  1. Where does the title come from?

  2. Could things have worked out differently for Nubiti’s and Meryt-Neith’s relationship?

  3. Did Meryt-Neith’s near rape at the beginning of the book affect her in any way for the rest of her life?

  4. How did King Narmer’s unseen presence affect the characters?

  5. One of the aspects of ancient Egyptian life was the legal rights given to women, including the right to initiate divorce proceedings, to own a business, and to inherit property. Did learning that in the novel surprise you?

  6. Would Nubiti have turned out the way she did without her mother’s influence?

  7. How would you characterize the relationship between Nubiti and Bakht?

  8. The mid-East even today is riven by tribal loyalties and conflicts. Much of that cultural influence dates back to the time before Meryt-Neith. How does Bakht’s priesthood reinforce that tribal culture?

  9. In the preface, Nubiti says: “Anubis, I am Nubiti, half-sister of King Wadjet and daughter of Shepsit and King Djer. Before your scales I swear that my heart is light as a feather. Before you lay the scrolls of my life as told to my scribes. Please do not judge Meryt-Neith’s actions harshly. Allow my sister to visit with me in the Afterlife. My words are Truth.” Does this reveal anything about Nubiti’s character?

  10. In the preface, Meryt-Neith says: “I am Meryt-Neith, Queen of the Two Lands, loyal wife of King Wadjet and mother of King Den, son of King Wadjet, son of King Djer, son of King Hor-Aha, son of the god-King Narmer. I swear before you, Anubis, that these scrolls are the True Telling of My Life. I was a good niece, a good wife and good mother. I was the caretaker of our beloved Kem until my son, King Den, came of age. I beg you to be lenient toward the sins of my sister, Nubiti, so that she may enjoy the rewards of the Afterlife. I await your judgment.” What does this reveal about Meryt-Neith’s character?

  11. Who was responsible for the tragedy of Meryt-Neith’s and Ti-Ameny’s relationship?

  12. Did Nubiti gain any lasting lessons from her father’s death?

  13. Was Meryt-Neith a good mother? Was she overly protective? What were the most important life lessons she imparted to Zenty?

  14. Does the Apep priesthood bear any resemblance to modern-day conditions in the Middle East? In what ways?

  15. Did Meryt-Neith make the right choice in exiling Nubiti to Abu Island?

  16. How would you characterize Herihor’s relationship with Zenty? Who gained the most from their relationship?

  17. Some Egyptologists believe that the first Egyptians were dark-skinned tribesmen from what is now Sudan. Whether or not that is true, early Egyptians interacted with their southern neighbors frequently. Did any aspects of Nekau’s relationship with the Royal Court surprise you?

  18. Why did Meryt-Neith call Nubiti to her death bed?

  19. What did Meryt-Neith mean on her death bed when she said to Nubiti: “It is alright. I have seen it. All is forgiven.”