Exiled is an intense and dramatic thriller—a story of murder, corruption, infanticide, and abuse set in the New Kingdom of Egypt.Exiled will contain spoilers for Salvation in the Sun and the series prequels, The Fifth Prophet and Egypt’s Second Born.
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Main Tropes and Themes
- Power at a Price
- Psychological Damage
- Tragic Rose
What is this story about?
What is this story about?
Exiled is an intense and dramatic thriller; a story of murder, corruption, infanticide, and abuse set in the New Kingdom of Egypt.
He has killed before; why should taking the life of Pharaoh be any different?
There are only three people who stand in Pawah’s way to the "divine" crown: Pharaoh and his two sons. As Fifth Prophet of Amun, Pawah has access to gold, a corrupt power shrouded in secrecy, and the heart of young Princess Nebetah.
Will Pawah successfully twist these advantages to his favor? How will he ensure Nebetah’s loyalty when his plan to eliminate Egypt’s royals and seize the crown comes to fruition?
Dive into this dark drama chronicling The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles series villain and his vile deeds from book one, Salvation in the Sun.
Who is this story for?
Who is this story for?
Perfect for fans of dark, emotive origin stories and Egyptophiles everywhere.
Anyone who loves thrillers and Ancient Egyptian historical retellings, the first series complement of The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles offers a compelling and imaginative take on the Amarna period of the 18th Dynasty.
With its richly detailed world-building and complex characters, Exiled is a must-read for anyone who loves tales of manipulation, murder, and rebellions.
Grab this gripping historical drama today.
The author rated this book for ages 13+ for relationship abuse, infanticide, violence, and dark, adult themes.
Exiled will contain spoilers for Salvation in the Sun and the series prequels, The Fifth Prophet and Egypt’s Second Born.
Chapter 1 Preview
Chapter 1 Preview
Malkata, 1352 B.C.
“A while longer, my golden grain,” Pawah crooned as he cupped Nebetah’s cheek and lowered his lips to hers. He liked the way she hummed as he kissed her—made him feel in control of this game he played. He released her mouth, and she sighed with her eyes closed.
“But how much longer until the priesthood of Amun fights for us?” she whispered and opened her eyes. Her arms wrapped around his body, and her weight fell into his chest. “I will be married to my brother soon. If not at my father’s upcoming Sed Festival, it will surely be soon afterward.”
“It takes much time for my brother prophets to go against a powerful man such as Pharaoh.” He brushed aside a stray hair from her wig, and his fingers stroked her delicate interwoven vulture headdress. Its celestial beads dazzled in the midday sun’s rays. She was a royal woman, Daughter of the King, and this headdress signified her birthright. He pulled his eyes from its golden splendor and rested his gaze on Nebetah, his sure entry into the royal family.
The priesthood would not come to his aid, should their plan fail—he knew that much about those corrupt fools. They wanted power as much he did, but there was one stark difference: they did not desire the crown. They were using him to align Pharaoh with the priesthood, thereby giving them more power over the King of Egypt.
“But my mother is leaving tomorrow to speak with Ay about Thutmose’s marriage to Nefertiti. Then she will travel to Men-nefer, and it will not be long after that until—”
“My Nile reed, shh-shh-shh,” Pawah hushed her. “Do you not trust me? Have I led you astray these past two years?” He let the question linger in between them as he put forth his best grimace.
She opened her mouth to speak, but then she got lost in his eyes. Her shoulders dropped in her resolve, like they had done since she first met him. “No, Pawah. You have not led me astray,” she answered. “I trust you.”
His grimace turned into a smile, knowing he could do whatever he needed with this pitiful, desperate girl.
Surrounded with such luxury and privilege, and yet, she only seeks attention . . . freedom.
He had given her a taste of the outside world and the taste of a man, a rather dashing man, as he thought of himself. With that single taste, she became addicted to his offering. The past two years had only deepened her commitment to him. She had lied for him, given herself to him, defied her father in secret for him, and dishonored her betrothed for him.
With each of her deceptions and sins, he drew her in deeper, making her believe she loved him with every fiber of her being. And even if she decided she did not love him, what was she to do? Tell? The thought pricked a laugh in his heart. She would be exiled and lose everything. And if she did love him, once their marriage was known to Pharaoh, she would be his safety from death. It was known to all: the King loved his royal daughters. He had debated the gamble in his mind for the last two years: If Pharaoh loves Nebetah, then he would honor her wish to simply exile me instead of putting me to death. What would the people think of their divine King if he killed a member of the priesthood and the husband of his daughter? The thought calmed his debate for the moment.
Although he assumed the priests, as corrupt as they were, would cut their losses with him if execution was declared as punishment, he often wondered what would happen once he married this girl standing in front of him. How would the priesthood glean the power from his efforts when Pharaoh doled out his wrath?
“As I told you, my lovely”—he smiled, taking a second to make sure the right name crossed his lips—“Nebetah, to go against Pharaoh takes much time and coordination, but I promise you we will be married before you are declared the royal wife of your brother, Thutmose.”
“Yes, you have told me before,” Nebetah muttered and pulled away from him.
Pawah strengthened his grip of her head and pressed his forehead to hers. He had to make sure he left her in a good place, like he had every time before. “We will be together, Nebetah.” He ran a finger along her jawline. “Waset is a beautiful place, and I will take care of you all of my days. Your every need and desire will be met.” His lips curled into a loving smile.
And I will move into the palace one day and take your father’s place while you dabble about Waset. It makes no difference to me what you do.
She smiled in return. “That sounds wonderful, Pawah. I cannot wait to live in Waset with you.” She lifted her chin and pressed herself against him once more.
He stared into her trusting eyes as he brought his mouth to hover over hers. “We must return now.”
A small tear built in her eye, and she gave him a small kiss. “If we must.”
Pawah nodded and led her by the hand out of her private courtyard. They snuck back to the temple of Amun on Malkata’s grounds and arrived just as Anen directed Pharaoh’s attention away from the entrance of the temple. Pawah winked at the guard standing outside the temple and smirked at the grunt he received in return. What were the guards going to do? Tell? Another chuckle pricked his heart. They would die for losing Pharaoh’s daughter the first time and then letting her leave with a man every time since. He had always returned to the group in time so that no one got caught, and he knew he rendered the guards mute with his punctuality.
Nebetah took her place alongside her sisters, and Pawah stood behind them. Meryptah and Anen completed their ritualistic offerings with Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye.
Sitamun’s body drew Pawah’s attention, as it had every time he was forced to stand behind Pharaoh’s four royal daughters. If only she were not already a royal wife, I could have pursued her instead. I am not willing to die for her, though. The people would see my death as punishment of a crime: lying with another man’s wife, and Pharaoh’s wife at that. The priesthood would not be able to save me then. But with Nebetah, who is not a royal wife . . . there is no crime—only a stain upon the house of Pharaoh. A stain Pharaoh may have to heavily consider before declaring an execution sentence.
The recurring dreams of Sitamun entered his thoughts, but he reluctantly pushed them away as he wanted what he could not have . . . yet. When I get the crown, I can have her.
His eyes ran the length of Sitamun’s frame before snapping to Anen. Pharaoh and the Queen turned around to face them. He lazily dropped his chin to his chest as they walked past him and out of the temple. He followed behind the retinue. As they walked outside, the sun’s rays pierced the dark haze his eyes had grown accustomed to in the temple. He came to stand next to Anen, and the three of the prophets bowed again to Pharaoh and his family before the royalty left to the main Malkata palace.
Pawah rose from his bow and noticed Nebetah looking back at him, but he shook his head in return.
A sheepish frown covered her face before she turned her head and continued on without drawing attention to them.
Old Meryptah’s chuckle carried in the small space among the three prophets.
“What do you wish to say, First Prophet?” Pawah muttered.
“Nothing here,” Meryptah’s harsh whisper came. He flicked a finger toward their private barge.
Anen sighed as they stepped aboard. “I still think this is all for naught.”
The servants pushed them away from the royal dock at Birket Habu to return to Waset across the Nile.
The bitter scowl on Meryptah’s old face turned upward, as did his nose. He pushed Anen aside to stand in front of Pawah. “Well done, Fifth Prophet. You have made the princess love you. Does she wish to marry you as well?”
“She is like clay in my hands. She wants freedom, and the only freedom she can have is with me.” Pawah grinned at the poor girl’s predicament.
“Good. We need more influence in Pharaoh’s household since we assume he has been trying to move the people away from the priesthood of Amun-Re.” He scoffed. “Naming his personal god as the Aten and holding his Jubilees at Malkata instead of in the temple of Amun-Re.”
Anen’s head dipped while Meryptah simmered.
Pawah looked back and forth between the two men. Now was the time to ask the question he had been mulling over; he tired of their lack of commitment.
“What will the priesthood do once I set up a house with the girl? Surely the great and mighty King of Egypt would not allow one of the daughters he has saved for his firstborn son to marry someone else.”
“We will declare this as the will of Amun, and we will see how Pharaoh responds,” said Meryptah.
“See how he responds?” Anen raised his eyebrows. “He will be furious and have them both exiled. Perhaps execute—”
“No,” Meryptah hummed. “Pawah is a Fifth Prophet and would be the husband of his daughter. He knows we are almost as powerful as he. He cannot afford to kill a prophet of the highest office and expect the power to remain with him.”
For an old man, he is still quite clever, Pawah thought. As clever as I am . . . almost as clever.
“So if Pharaoh refuses the will of Amun and I am exiled, how will you use what I have done?” Pawah asked, locking eyes with Meryptah, his tone as sharp as a dagger. “How will you align the priesthood with the house of Pharaoh, then?”
“Quiet, boy.” Meryptah looked him up and down, regarding Pawah’s nineteen years of age.
Pawah blinked once and then twice, unmoving. His eyes narrowed on the old man.
“If you are exiled, it will prove the priesthood’s power over Pharaoh, for any other man would have received death.” Meryptah stole a glance to the silent Anen.
“And are you to supply me gold and food the rest of my days in Nubia or Canaan, wherever we are to be exiled? Or are you to provide a means or a pardon to me so that we can reenter Egypt?” Pawah popped his neck with a quick throw of his head. “Or are you to leave me to fend alone?”
“If Pharaoh only exiles you, you will have served your purpose. We will make sure you live a luxurious life in exile.”
Pawah laughed, shaking his head. His hands came to rest on his hips. “I am not willing to be a sacrifice.”
“You have already been risking your life and well-being for the past two years while running off with the King’s Daughter.” Anen interjected.
“Sneaking off is a small task, especially when I am so good at it, but marriage is public and will be known. You wish me to give up all that I know and love so that the rest of you can continue on in an elevated state of power without me?” The burn in his chest made him realize he was losing this game. Unacceptable; I do not lose.
“What would you have us do, Fifth Prophet?” Meryptah asked.
“If I am exiled, you will march into Pharaoh’s throne room and demand he repeal the decree; otherwise, the Amun priesthood will leverage the people’s loyalty against him. Threaten him. Tell him that you will tell the people Amun is disgruntled with their divinely appointed, yet the King of Egypt continues to defy the gods.” Pawah shoved a hand in the air. It did not seem that complicated to him.
“One cannot merely march into Pharaoh’s throne room.” Meryptah wagged a finger.
Pawah chuckled to himself. These cowards. These fools. “You told me the influence in Pharaoh’s household would be of great worth to you. You encouraged me to seduce the girl. This is your chance to seize that influence, and yet, you will simply let Pharaoh exile your only chance of taking that opportunity?” He paused in the heavy silence. “Are you ignorant?”
“You will silence your tongue, Pawah,” Meryptah looked to the servants, who focused on their tasks.
“Or what?” Pawah watched Meryptah’s face simmer red in the sun. He had wanted to end that old man’s life for a while now, but he knew he had to bide his time. For the time being, Meryptah was of greater use to him alive than dead. Should Meryptah or even Anen die, it would leave the priesthood weak in the eyes of the people. Pawah knew he did not yet have enough tenure with the gods to be considered a great mediator by the people. He needed the power of the priestly duo to extend to him, but when he could finally garner enough support, the two would be in the way of his plans and would need to be removed.
Anen cleared his throat. “Or perhaps we do not need Pawah’s marriage to the King’s Daughter.” He shrugged a shoulder. “We may have the influence anyway; my sister will soon come to speak with me about taking one of my daughters to be the Crown Prince’s Chief Royal Wife.”
Pawah shook his head while Meryptah chuckled.
“As I have said before, I am the elder brother,” Anen continued, ignoring his brother prophets. “She will not insult me nor my family. She will afford me the honor that my status deserves, both in occupation and in blood to her,” Anen said, adding for emphasis, “The Crown Prince shall marry one of my daughters.”
“And, as I have said before, Anen”—Meryptah placed a hand on Anen’s shoulder—“with tensions growing between Pharaoh and our priesthood, do you think Queen Tiye a fool? Do you believe she will intentionally tie the Crown Prince to the Second Prophet of Amun?” Meryptah shook his head.
Anen picked off Meryptah’s hand and let it fall from his body. “She will honor me as her eldest brother, as it is my right.”
Pawah shook his head. “From Nebetah’s mouth, the Queen is to visit the house of your brother, Ay, regarding his daughter Nefertiti before traveling to Men-nefer to see the Crown Prince.” He leaned on two elbows over the side of the barge. “She will not honor you.”
“Lies,” Anen muttered. “All lies.”
But Pawah sensed his uncertainty, noticing the twitch of his mouth and the wince in his eye.
“Then why do you not stop by your dear brother’s estate tomorrow morning and wait for the Queen’s arrival?” Pawah raised a corner of his mouth. “If I am lying, I owe you five deben gold.”
“We do not gamble our share of the offerings, Fifth Prophet,” Meryptah chided.
Pawah snapped his eyes to the old man. “But we can alter the records and steal offerings from the people?” A smile tepidly hid on his lips as he spoke the depth of their corruption. He often wondered about the hypocrisy of the priesthood; its members claimed to be pure and to live by the principles of Ma’at, and yet they justified the stealing of offerings, among other nefarious dealings. How do they think their hearts will not weigh heavy on the journey to their so-called afterlife?
The old man snorted but did not answer him. Pawah rolled his head back toward Anen. “Five deben gold. If I am lying, I will deliver it personally to your estate.”
“And if you are not, do I owe you—”
“No, I do not gamble.” A smile popped onto his lips, and he heard Meryptah snort again.
“Why do we keep him as Fifth Prophet?” Meryptah muttered.
“Because I paid for the position.”
“You killed for the position,” Meryptah said in a low voice.
Pawah only smirked. “I did no such thing, as I have told you time and time again, and even if I had, you made it seem that such a skill might be needed to advance the priesthood one day.”
Meryptah’s eyes darted between Pawah and Anen. The truth caused his tongue to spew an assortment of blabbering, incoherent sounds.
Pawah stood up straight and peered at the frail-yet-powerful man. He compared Meryptah’s body to that of his: fat and old, as opposed to defined and toned from working the fields.
“That is why you keep me around, is it not? That, and the fact that you cannot find another who is as good at concealing as I am. If you were to denounce me, you might have the royal guards at your door knowing all the tricks and methods the prophets use to grow powerful, rich and fat.” He smirked, peering down at Meryptah’s full belly.
Aha! That is what I will hold against them if they simply let me be exiled. I will not lose.
He wanted to take one more jab at them. “Nor do you have someone who has a tie with the royal family.” His glanced at Anen. “Or someone who will have a tie with the royal family.”
“My sister will honor me as her eldest brother and choose one of my daughters in marriage to the Crown Prince.” Anen’s chin dipped as his cheeks grew red to match Meryptah’s brow. “And all of your sneaking will be for naught.”
“Sure, Brother Anen.” Pawah patted the side of his arm with a slight chuckle. “I am sure she will.”
eBook File: 1.3 MB
Paperback Size: 5" x 8"
Hardcover Size: 6" x 9"
Publisher: LLMBooks Publishing
Published: March 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction
"...spine-tingling, mind-blowing novel with its unique and unforgettable plotline and exceptional characters...dramatic and thrilling" - Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite
"Author Lauren Lee Merewether delivers a historical fiction novel set in the New Kingdom of Egypt, but with the kind of cinematic and emotional accessibility that will suit the modern reader well...The central figure Pawah is compelling and flawed, making an engrossing character for us to follow...fast-paced and exciting..."- K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
"Exiled by Lauren Lee Merewether is a masterpiece! It's a thorough blend of fact and fiction coming together to make a fantastic story." - Jennifer Ibiam for Readers' Favorite