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Paaten's War

Paaten's War

Wounded in war. Captured by the enemy. Sold as a slave.

Despite his situation, Paaten believes his future is not in the enemy land of Hatti. As Paaten struggles to find his way back to his homeland of Egypt, he encounters a Hittite woman and finds himself in an unforeseen battle, waging the biggest war yet: that of his heart...

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Main Tropes and Themes

  • Enemies-to-Lover
  • Prisoner of War
  • Tragic Rose
  • Loyalty v Love
  • Save Me
  • Sacrifice

What is this story about?

Wounded in war. Captured by the enemy. Sold as a slave.

Despite his situation, Paaten believes his future is not in the enemy land of Hatti. As Paaten struggles to find his way back to his homeland of Egypt, he encounters a Hittite woman and finds himself in an unforeseen battle, waging the biggest war yet: that of his heart...

Will Paaten's perceived enemy ensnare his love and loyalty or will he return to Egypt to fulfill his destiny and oath to Pharaoh?

Who is this story for?

Perfect for fans of Michelle Moran and Stephanie Dray.

Anyone who loves epic historical sagas, slow-burn closed-door romance, and Ancient Egyptian historical retellings, this Lost Pharaoh Chronicles prequel offers a compelling and imaginative take on the life of a high profile military official during the Amarna period of the 18th Dynasty.

With its richly detailed world-building and complex characters, Paaten's War is a must-read for anyone who loves tales of love, loss, and loyalty.

Grab this gripping historical drama today.

The love story concludes in King's Daughter.

Content Disclaimers

Author Rating:

The author rated this book for ages 14+ for violence, closed-door romance, and adult themes. 

Chapter 1 Preview

Battle for Pride

1362 B.C.

His eyes slowly opened with pain surging in his head; blood trickled down his nose and lip. His hand still grasped his sharpened weapon: a bronze, sickle-shaped khopesh. The sun beat on his body as he strained to see through the hot haze rising from the ground. 

Dead men surrounded him, killed from an apparent battle. 

A loud voice resounded in his ears. “This one is alive!” 

Something hard prodded his shoulder as more heavy footsteps drew near to his position. 

“Looks like he is ranked,” another gruff voice said. 

Someone pulled on his blue faience beaded collar, ripping it from his neck.

Paaten blinked, trying to remember where he was . . . fighting . . . in a Mitanni battle . . . for Pharaoh. 

He rolled to his stomach and cradled his head against the soft dirt of the ground. He peered around him. The Egyptians and Mitanni seemingly had fled, for he was alone with the enemy. Their stench attacked his nostrils. 

“Hittites,” he muttered under his breath. His fingers curled around his khopesh.

“I would not think about it if I were you,” the enemy said. The sharpness of their language stung his ears and throbbed in his head. Their language was foreign, but he knew enough to recognize the generality of what they were saying. The glint of metal reflected near his eye, and again something prodded his shoulder. 

His fingers released. What was he going to do with it, anyway? At least three voices surrounded him, and these enemies wielded weapons potentially made of iron, if the rumors were true. Without a chariot, without his archers, without the advantage of surprise, his bronze khopesh would be no match.

A man’s hand grabbed his wig and jerked his head up. He tried to keep the world from spinning as he sank back into his heels and clenched his jaw. His neck was unintentionally exposed to the Hittite from the momentum of the yank. 

The Hittite laughed at Paaten’s wig in his hand. “I never understood you Egyptians wearing wigs. Are you not man enough to grow your own hair?” 

Paaten’s head slowly lowered so that his chin was parallel to the ground. The world crept back into stability. His eyes landed on the hairy man in front of him and observed the leather-strapped attire of a mercenary.

A finger jabbed Paaten in the temple, pushing his head to the side. “Just a small head wound, it seems,” the one standing next to him said. He scratched his beard as he watched Paaten regain his balance. “Do you think the commander would want him to sell?”

Paaten snorted, keeping his gaze to the ground to maintain his balance. He would rather die than be sold as a slave. 

“Do you want to live, boy?” a third man dressed as a Hittite soldier said, kicking a small rock at him. His leather shoe covered his whole foot, and his belted, formerly white tunic ended just above his ankles.

One of their swords rose swiftly but halted in front of his neck. 

Paaten’s gaze slid up the blade and locked with that of the blade’s wielder. 

I am no boy. 

Even though his vision blurred, he sized up the heftier body of his enemy and the one who stood next to him, dressed as a soldier as well. Paaten snorted again to rid his nostrils of their stench as he drew a conclusion on his enemy: My body of twenty-seven years is better than those of these dirty Hittites. If it were a fair fight, I could easily slay them. They must know it to be true and is why they will kill me while I kneel, defenseless.

He pushed the fear of dying in a foreign land far from his mind. When he joined the prestigious ranks of Pharaoh’s army, he knew it might come to this: being burned by the enemy and having no body in the afterlife, condemned to an eternal restlessness. He knew when he put his mark on the papyrus over ten years ago that his afterlife might be in jeopardy. But for Egypt, for his people, for his brothers in arms, for Pharaoh, it was worth the sacrifice. The dead bodies of his fellow Egyptians all around him became ever-present as he stared down this Hittite. He scanned the horizon looking for his closest three comrades: Ebana, Wjmose, and Djar. But his vision clouded, and the haze from the ground blurred any hope of identifying them among the mangled bodies. He hoped they lived, but the carnage was too great.

They gave the ultimate sacrifice in this life and the next if the Hittites burn them or do not allow Pharaoh’s army to collect their dead. I can do the same. For Egypt. For Pharaoh.

“I am not afraid to die,” he muttered in the common Akkadian tongue, eyeing the sword at his neck. He would not let them know he knew their inferior language if it were the last action he would take in this life. 

“Dying is the easy part,” the mercenary laughed. The other two men looked at him as if they did not understand what he said. He translated, and then they laughed as well, prompting another one to position his sword across Paaten’s lap.

“How about this—if you can stand, you can live,” the heavier man said and waited for the translation to Akkadian before he slid the edge of his blade across Paaten’s leg.

The cut felt as if a thousand bees had stung him at once. Pain left his head only to envelop his leg. His jaw clenched tight to keep any pain from manifesting into perceived weakness. 

The mercenary repeated himself in Akkadian. “If you can stand, you can live.”

Paaten’s eyes slid to him. His breathing intensified as his wound pulled open due to his seated position. 

The mercenary chuckled in the Hittite language to his comrade, “I bet he can’t now that you have wounded him.”

Paaten’s pride got the best of him, and in a quick instance of failed judgment, he forgot about life as a slave. He only knew he would not die kneeling like a disabled horse.

He rose to his knees, and with a hard grimace, lifted up to the foot of his good leg. By taking the brunt of his weight on that foot, he stood without a wobble. He rolled his shoulders back and lifted his chin. “If you kill me, I will die standing.”

The mercenary laughed and translated, and the man standing next to him punched him in the stomach. Paaten bent over slightly from the attack, but his strong core anticipated it out of sheer reflex, absorbing the seemingly weak punch. 

The mercenary shook his head at his comrade. “This man is an Egyptian, and a ranked Egyptian, fool. Now step back, lest he take your sword from you and strike you down.”

Paaten narrowed his eyes at the one who punched him as he followed his mercenary friend’s suggestion and took a small step back. 

The mercenary picked up a spear and tossed it in his hand. He spoke in Akkadian. “Well, warrior, you have a strong heart. It will be such a waste and a shame that you die today.” He angled the spear over his shoulder as Paaten readied his mind for death and potentially no afterlife. He prayed, but kept his eyes open to meet the end of this life head-on: God of war, Anhur, Slayer of Enemies, Lord of the Lance, provide protection over me and my ka and ba as I serve our great Egypt in the Mitanni lands. May you help me find the afterlife so I do not roam in eternal restlessness. 

He cocked his arm to jab the spear into Paaten’s chest, but the hairy one who had punched him yelled, “Wait!” 

“What?” The mercenary looked to his comrade and halted his thrust before the spearhead touched Paaten.

“You may not get paid for the slaves you bring back to the kingdom of Hatti, but I do. Keep him alive until the commander comes. See Commander Luhrahsu there?” The Hittite pointed a distant way off to a man in leather-scaled armor and a kilt approaching in his horse-drawn chariot. “If he says to let him live, then we let him live. If he says no, then you can kill him.”

The mercenary grunted, “But I get paid for the number of enemies slain.” 

“Commander Luhrahsu is coming. He will decide.”

The mercenary finally dipped the tip of the spear to the ground. He walked in a small circle, as if itching to add Paaten to his tally, until the commander arrived.

“What have we here?” Commander Luhrahsu pulled his chariot alongside the men and Paaten. 

“This Egyptian,” the hairy man said. “We did not know if we should kill him, or if you desired him as a slave for your estate or overlords. You could also sell him, for he would fetch a decent profit. He only suffered minor injury until Zidanta here drew a blade across his leg.”

Luhrahsu kicked the one called Zidanta in the head. “You fool! Now I cannot sell him for as much.” After cursing, he eyed the blue faience beaded collar held by the man who stood by Paaten. “Yet he still stands . . . ” His gaze turned to Paaten. In perfect Akkadian, he said, “Do you understand me, Egyptian?”

Paaten nodded and winced at the sudden throbbing that returned to his head.

“What rank are you?” The commander lifted his chin.

“Troop Commander,” Paaten responded as he gestured toward his collar. “But Pharaoh does not meet ransom requests or negotiate trades, even if I were General. I am no good to you.” He hoped to die easily and let his comrades come retrieve his body, but his words seemed to go unnoticed.

Luhrahsu returned to the Hittite language as he spoke to the others. “Troop Commander is a lofty rank in our enemy’s military. He will make a good trophy.” He eyed Paaten and spoke in Akkadian, “If you try to run, I will cut off your digits and limbs one by one until you perish. Then I will have your body burned and save your head for decoration on a stake.” He sneered.

Paaten cursed this commander’s knowledge of the Egyptian beliefs. If the mercenary had just killed him before the commander showed up, he might have had a chance at eternal life.

His jaw visibly clenched, and Luhrahsu smiled. 

“I am glad we have an understanding.” He turned to Zidanta. “Take this Egyptian to camp and have his wound bandaged.” 

“Yes, Commander,” Zidanta responded with a curt nod of his head.

“And, Zidanta . . . do not damage my trophy anymore, understood?”

Zidanta clenched his jaw and nodded his head, keeping silent. 

“Good.” Luhrahsu straightened on his horse and pulled his shoulders back. He eyed each of his subordinates and nodded to the mercenary before heading off to another group of soldiers canvassing the dead. 

Paaten watched him. It appeared he was only commanding them to bring their dispatched Hittite soldiers back and leave the deceased Egyptians on the ground. Paaten prayed to Anhur, thanking him for watching over these men. 

The heel of Zidanta’s hand shoved into his shoulder. Paaten peered at him and let a slight growl loose from his parched throat. 

“Go!” Zidanta gestured toward the opposite direction of the Egyptian camp. Paaten looked over Zidanta’s head, as he stood taller than the Hittite. He debated in his mind what he would do. 

If I try to run, I would not have to be a slave to the Hittites. But I cannot outrun them. I cannot outfight them. The commander Luhrahsu will be loyal to his word, and I will never know an afterlife. But at least, I will not have to endure this life . . .

He examined the horizon toward Egypt, but his gaze fell to his slain comrades.

. . . Luhrahsu may burn my brothers in arms for my disobedience. The Hittites are a foul people. I would not put it past him to command such an order—

“Go!” Zidanta pushed him in the shoulder again, and Paaten spit at his feet before deciding to turn to walk toward the Hittite camp.

Even though Paaten knew his leg would be fine, he limped to make it seem he could do nothing on the battlefield. The Hittites were known for making prisoners of war fight for them. He would never spill Egyptian blood. He would fall on his dagger before he did such a thing. The walk was painful but easily bearable, although he made it seem difficult to limp over the bodies.

Zidanta and his Hittite comrade mocked him as he limped and prodded him along with the blunt ends of their spears until they finally reached the Hittite camp. 

They shoved him to a nearby rock where he sat down, not allowing them to see his relief. Beads of sweat rolled down his face as he looked straight ahead, trying to ignore the offensive stench that came from that place. 

Strong god Anhur—He Who Leads Back the Distant One—I protect the ba and ka of my comrades by not giving up my life. Provide for me should I continue to live and am taken as a Hittite trophy. Lead me back to Egypt, for I am one of your royal warriors, and there is still much I can give to Pharaoh.

Zidanta called over a largely round man wearing a long white tunic and a fashioned leather belt with semi-precious gems woven into it. 

“Physician Akiya.” Zidanta bowed his head, acknowledging him. “Commander Luhrahsu wants this Egyptian healed. He will be taking him as a trophy.”

Akiya peered at Paaten and turned his nose up at him as Zidanta continued talking. “He only speaks Akkadian.”

“Ah,” Akiya said. “A ranked Egyptian, then?” His lip curled in disgust as he gestured for Paaten to stand and directed him and Zidanta toward a tent. Seemingly, Akiya did not care for a response.

Paaten entered and lay down as instructed; Akiya studied the wound before slapping a dirty linen on Paaten’s leg and rubbing hard.

Paaten seized Akiya’s hand and threw it off of him. 

“Ignorant fool!” 

Even though Akiya knew not his language, Akiya attempted to hit Paaten across the cheek for his outburst. Paaten glared at him as he caught Akiya’s slap and again threw his hand away.

Akiya took a small step backward, and a momentary gleam of fear crossed his eyes.

Hittite physician—he scoffed—knows nothing. Even I know you do not put dirty linen on a wound! 

“I will heal myself,” Paaten muttered to the man and jolted from the bed. He grabbed a clean linen and dabbed it in the water bowl. He surveyed the items strewn on the makeshift battlefield table . . . mostly pagan amulets

He shook his head, regretting the action as the throbbing pulsated through his ears and eyes. 

I hate head injuries. This was the third one of his career, but this was by far the worst. Never had he been knocked unconscious and awoken in a daze on the battlefield.

His vision steadied, and he caught sight of the honey. He continued his visual search for castor oil, but found none after looking over the items again. He would have to make do with just the honey. He cleaned his wound and applied the honey. Then he layered clean linen on his wound and let it dry, creating a plaster. When he was done, he looked up to find Zidanta’s jaw agape and Akiya running his fingers through his beard. 

“Teach me,” Akiya muttered.

Paaten’s brow furrowed. “I will not teach a Hittite to do anything.”

Akiya whispered to Zidanta, who then stepped forward, lifting his sword to Paaten’s throat. Akiya spoke again. “Teach me, or Zidanta will dispatch you.”

Paaten smirked as his eyes drifted to Zidanta. “And what will his commander, Luhrahsu, say?”

Zidanta did not need the translation to know the name of his commander. His sword wobbled and then fell. “Commander Luhrahsu told me not to injure him further,” he said before turning to face Akiya. 

“Then I will tell him of his medical knowledge, and the commander can dispatch him if he refuses,” Akiya said, jerking his head to signal them to get out of his tent.

Product Information

eBook File: 1.2 MB

Paperback Size: 5" x 8"

256 pages

Includes: Exclusive Cover and Interior Formatting

Printed on-demand by Lulu Direct

Book Information

Publisher: LLMBooks Publishing
Published: January 2021
ISBN-13: 979-8643856320
ASIN: B08888LQD8
Genre: Historical Fiction

Audiobook Information

Narrated by: Eli Snuggs
Series: The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles Prequel, Book III
Length: 6 hrs and 31 mins
Release date: 09-27-22
Language: English

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  •  (★★★★★)

    "...another brilliant and exciting work from The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles...Paaten's War is an ingenious historical fiction novel with a solid story structure and a distinctive plot that would capture anyone's attention from the very first chapter." - Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite

  •  (★★★★★)

    "..this book grabbed me from the very beginning and carried me along on a rollercoaster of emotions and frightening scenarios..." - Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

  •  (★★★★★)

    "Author Lauren Lee Merewether does a phenomenal job of capturing the essence of the Egyptian and Hittite cultures in her narrative, and it makes for a rich and immersive reading experience." - Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite