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Warrior King

Warrior King

A Dramatic Family Saga of Power, Passion, and Political Intrigue

Expelling the foreign kings of Egypt is proving costly.  

1575 BC.  Surrounded by her enemies, the future of the rebellion is in the hands of Queen Ahhotep as her husband’s body is laid at her feet.

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Main Tropes and Themes

  • Power at a Price
  • Forbidden Love
  • Tragic Rose
  • Family Disunion
  • Rebellion
  • Sacrifice

What is this story about?

1575 BC.  Surrounded by her enemies, the future of the rebellion is in the hands of Queen Ahhotep as her husband’s body is laid at her feet.

To unite the divided kingdom, Ahhotep must be the commanding leader to those still loyal to her family, a guiding voice her children require, and meet the impossible expectations of her mother, the Great Wife Tetisheri. Feeling alone and finding no consolation in the palace, Ahhotep seeks counsel with a man she loves but cannot have, inviting conflict into her family and her heart.  

With obsolete weaponry, inferior resources, and the royal family’s divided front, their supporters dissent and leave. To keep their borders secure, Ahhotep must find a way to consolidate power, raise a capable army, and mold her son into a Warrior King before death comes for her and her people.  

Warrior King is a beautiful ode to the powerful women behind the crown and how their love, determination, leadership, and sacrifice propelled the once-called Kemet into a golden era of ancient Egyptian history. 

Who is this story for?

Perfect for fans of Michelle Moran, Amy Tan, and Stephanie Dray.

Anyone who loves epic historical sagas, slow-burn closed-door romance, and Ancient Egyptian historical retellings, this standalone installment of Egypt's Golden Age Chronicles offers a compelling and imaginative take on the historical origins of the 18th Dynasty.

With its richly detailed world-building and complex characters, Warrior King is a must-read for anyone who loves tales of love, loss, and rebellions.

Grab this gripping historical drama today.

Content Disclaimers

BookCave Content Rating:

Moderate with Community Content Elements / Themes, including:

  • child death due to accident or illness
  • romance (in non-romance genres),
  • miscarriage
  • sexually active underage teens or tweens (due to the time period)
Author Rating:

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

Chapter 1 Preview

A Time of Defeat | Ahhotep

Sedjefatawy, 1575 BC

Ahhotep could not withdraw her eyes from her brother-husband’s gaping mouth—open in a final silent scream. Her knees weakened as the enemy’s servants lowered his mangled body before her; the double ax wound in his forehead and above his right eye blurred in her sight. The wails of her children, called to witness their father’s defeat, faded in her ears. But the small whimper from her mother’s closed, pinched lips pierced the quiet veil Ahhotep had fallen under. Her eyes slid to Tetisheri standing beside her. The whimper had come from her, had it not? Yet through her peer at the woman’s stone countenance, she second-guessed her perceptions. Her mother would not show any weakness to the Aamu, the Asiatic enemy who had brought her son home.

Ahhotep returned her sights to her brother-husband, and the burning flame at the back of her throat incinerated the yell of agony she held there. She swallowed its ashes and blinked back hot tears. She had to stand strong, if not for the enemy, for her children, for Kemet: Egypt. 

A red hue overcame her darkened cheeks. They had called her children to view their father’s corpse as it was when he was slain. No dressing had occurred. No cedar dust to preserve his flesh had been sprinkled. Not even a wipe of the blood splattered around his wounds had been afforded. Such dishonor. Such disdain. Such disgust. 

She would give the enemy the chance to speak for their actions against her family, but in the end, she doubted she would let them leave Sedjefatawy, their palace, even if they were only messengers.

The four Aamu servants who had carried her brother-husband’s body into the throne room and laid it before the dais on which she stood backed away, allowing two royal Aamu messengers to step forward. One stood at the dead man’s head and the other at his feet. Their knee-length pleated shendyts were tied with blue lapis-embedded leather belts. Their collars rivaled the celestial blues and golds of Ahhotep’s and her mother’s. The stolen wealth spoke for itself.

The Aamu clapped twice—hard—to demand the attention of those in the pillared throne room. Yet only the young naked children silenced out of fear.

Ahhotep’s breath came shakily out of her nostrils, afraid of what would happen if she were to speak. Her mother, as shrewd as she was, always knew when to step in for her.

Tetisheri raised her hands, and the room became quiet at the Great Wife’s unspoken command. She raised her chin and eyed the Aamu. Her voice—bold, as usual—pounded in the new silence. 

“You bring home the body of my son and solicit us with a clap like we are dogs?” Her eyes narrowed. “There will be no such—”

“You and the nomes of Upper Kemet are the defeated,” he simply said, regarding the provinces in rebellion. “And our King sends this message.” 

He pulled a clay tablet from his sling and read aloud.

“With the slain Prince of Waset, Seqenenre Tao, it is King Aegyptus’ expectation, Waset and the other nomes’ princes of Upper Kemet lay down their weapons and again submit into peaceful accord . . .”

He read on, but Ahhotep did not hear him. She snapped her gaze from her husband’s gruesome, ashen face to the messenger speaking and interrupted. “You dare ask for our cooperation after slaying the true King of Kemet?” The break in her voice garnered the averted eyes of the royal guards and the Waset soldiers in the throne room. Her lip curled in disgust at herself for showing weakness but also at the enemy, who smirked back. The break had been unexpected, but her eyes, welling with searing tears, choked her words. Her mother leered in disappointment at her. 

The messenger scoffed and held the tablet out so one of the Aamu servants could take it. “Your prince is slain, and your rebellion perishes with him.” After the tablet left his hand, he firmly gripped the handle of the superior weapon on his belt: the khopesh. The long, thick bronze body with a sickle at the end sharpened to take a man’s head from his shoulders. “King Aegyptus has sent home the bodies of your prince, his general, and admiral as an offering of peace, Chief Wife of the slain Seqenenre Tao. As you well know, traitors to the throne are burned, so they never have immortal life in the Field of Reeds. But he has spared this sentence for your family. Do not make King Aegyptus shed more blood in this matter. Do not sentence your kin and soldiers to eternal restlessness.”

Ahhotep’s fingers curled into her palms, and her tongue grew thick in her mouth. Every muscle strewn tight, she kept her tears from falling, but the room blurred despite her efforts. She knew the Aamu King of the Hekka Khasut, the foreign rulers, would not be so generous if they were to fail again. The subsequent slaying would end in burning, a true death, an inevitable cruel sentence for the person’s ka—their spirit. They could never begin their journey west to the afterlife.

The Aamu locked eyes with her as he spoke again. “Think of your son, the heir to the Waset prince’s crown. Would you have his blood spilled too? Are you willing to sacrifice your son’s immortality in the Field of Reeds in a useless attempt to drive us out of Kemet? Nay, baseless attempt. We have lived there for hundreds of years. Your family’s ancestors left the Lower and ceded the lands to us. It is our land, and it is not for the taking. So again, I say to you; you have lost your father and your husband in this senseless rebellion. Shall you lose your son too?”

The question lingered in the stale inner room air, and her children’s eyes turned to her, all except her eldest son’s. Kamose. Her gaze shifted to him. The blood had drained from his knuckles as he wrenched a dagger in his hand. A scowl lived on his lips. Hate boiled in his eyes.

Tetisheri turned to look at her daughter. She straightened her back and lifted her chin. “What is your answer, now that you are the Great Wife of the last King?”

Ahhotep swallowed the paste that had accumulated in her mouth. She was no longer Chief Wife but Great Wife because her husband was no longer in the land of the living. She was also now God’s Mother. After all, her son would soon be the divine king. It was an odd feeling, one she had not expected to feel until she was much older. Her sights returned to Tao.

Although grateful her husband would have his body to achieve immortality in the afterlife, the audacity to send two messengers alone into the heart of the so-called rebellious lands showed the Hekka Khasut did not trust she would consent to their offer of peace. It also meant they could not spare soldiers in a show of power behind enemy lines.

She again looked at Kamose. He was young and full of vigor. He would take his father’s place. He had a daughter already; he could have a son to continue the royal line. His hand holding the dagger trembled from rage; the other clutched in a tight fist, waiting for her word to strike. Would he be returned to her as Tao? Her heart dropped to the pit of her stomach. No, he would return victorious. He had to.

She stepped from the dais and stooped to touch Tao’s body. She ran her fingertip down his smashed and bloodied cheek; the touch flaked off the dried blood. She studied his face with its misshapen nose and destroyed eye socket. He would have been killed in vain if she accepted the peace offering, as would the slain soldiers and their general and admiral. Her son wanted to fight. He knew what was at stake, and so she stood and returned to the dais. Her mother narrowed her eyes at her. Tetisheri wanted to fight; she had always wanted to fight. Ahhotep sucked back her breath, taking her pending tears away with it. There would be no break in her voice this time. 

Before she answered, she prayed in a silent plea to Anut, the protector goddess of the god-kings, that she keep Kamose safe and protect his afterlife. She scanned the room. Her sights fell on her sons, Ahmose and Sapair, boys of five and three—naked and clinging to each other. Their big brown eyes opened wide toward her. The urge to vomit rushed up to the top of her throat. What would she sacrifice to see a united Kemet? Kamose was well-trained. Ahmose, still a boy, had never wielded a training ax. Would Kamose gain victory over the Hekka Khasut, or would he be burned on the battlefield as a traitor? If he perished without an heir, would the crown fall to Ahmose, a boy, or would the nomes war with each other over it?

The past had not been kind to the royal family, the true royal family of Kemet. Stuck between the Hekka Khasut to the north, the Kermans and Kushites to the south, and the Dashret, the red sand desert to the east—Kemet had grown weak. The Hekka Khasut suffocated them by restricting trade from the Great Sea, the Mediterranean. The Kushites did the same from the trade routes across the Dashret. They kept the true citizens of Kemet in the dark and left the royal family to rot away inside Waset while both kingdoms flourished from trade and gold. Kamose was determined to take all; she could see it in his eyes. He would make Kemet great once again. He would reinstate Kemet to its former glory and beyond—what Tao wished to do. But at what cost? How much more blood would be spilled? Would it be worth it?

If she surrendered to the Aamu messenger standing before her, she would guarantee they would keep their lives and bodies for the afterlife. Still, it would be under the rule of the Hekka Khasut, who continually choked the life out of their once great nation. They needed to be free of the foreigners—those who came into their lands and stole their traditions, customs, beliefs, and wealth—the imposters. 

One united Kemet. That was her father’s vision, and that was her brother-husband’s quest. No matter the cost. Her chest swelled with a new breath, and without further thought, she spoke in a voice as bold as her mother’s. 

“We do not acknowledge your King, simple messenger. We have given him the name King Apepi after the evil serpent, Apep—he who brought chaos and darkness over our lands. As Apep steals the light in the sky, so the Aamu have taken Kemet from us. As Re fights the serpent to restore the sun disc every morning, we too shall never relent until the true King of Kemet returns over the Lower and the Upper.” Ahhotep pointed with a firm finger at each of the two men before her. “To King Apepi, I say, this is your only chance, O Great Hekka Khasut, to leave and return to the Levant whence you came. Leave and spare your own blood. For when we gain victory over you, it shall be you who is burned.”

Mitry, the royal scribe, scribbled the hieratic onto the papyrus scroll to record the Great Wife’s words as they poured over her lips in a confident display of power.

The messenger’s jaws fell ajar, but a sneer soon replaced their surprise. “Who are you, woman, to command King Aegyptus?” 

It was then they sealed their fate in Ahhotep’s judgment. She slipped her gaze to Kamose and squinted in a secret signal before focusing again on the enraged talking messenger.

“We will take your threat back to the royal residence, and there King Aegyptus will launch a strike to raze Waset to the ground and end this rebellion, once and for all. Be prepared to die, for the same pardon of traitors’ punishment will not be extended again!” The messengers turned to leave, but Kamose’s war cry echoed in the pillared hall. 

Spears hurdled through the air and pierced their targets. Ahhotep and Tetisheri stood tall, watching their enemies fall to their knees. The messenger looked back at Ahhotep. “You dare kill a messenger?” He groaned as he fell to his hands and gurgled blood. 

She glowered at him, uttering, “You dare threaten a Great Wife?”

Kamose headed straight for him, dagger in hand. The messenger’s eyes closed as if accepting his fate but snapped open in defiance. The spear in his back wobbled as he coughed. He yanked his khopesh from his belt in one last attempt to defend himself. “I’ll take your son with me!” he yelled amid the swarm of guards ending the rest of his Aamu counterparts. He pushed up to his knees and tried to stand but failed.

Kamose picked the khopesh off the lifeless second messenger’s body and swung it in the air to attack the kneeling Aamu. Its sickle end glinted from the flame of the alabaster torch lamps before the clang of bronze against bronze reverberated through the throne room. The Aamu blocked, but Kamose knocked the weakened messenger’s blade from his hand and sent a swift foot into the man’s belly. A yell cut through the commotion as the spear completed its journey through the man’s chest as he fell backward.

The Aamu convulsed as he breathed his last breath, but Kamose took his dagger across the dying man’s neck. He stood over the Aamu with nostrils flaring and his mouth curled in bitter disgust. He spat at the Aamu before looking up at Ahhotep. His eyes burned black.

She nodded her approval. “It seems he will not be taking my son with him,” she muttered.

Kamose’s deep voice defeated any clash or cry in the room. “I will avenge my father, the King Seqenenre Tao, and I will reclaim what is ours, Great Wives, Ahhotep and Tetisheri. I will unite our land where my father could not.” His chest heaved, and his words rolled in revenge. 

Ahhotep stepped forward and placed her hand on the arm of the golden-covered throne. “Call the priests of Amun. We have a coronation to conduct.” Her eyes drifted to Tao’s body at her feet. “And the priests of Anubis, for we have a King to send to Re.” Her hand covered her womb, having birthed twins only ten days, a decan, prior. They would never know their father, but if she and Kamose were victorious, they would see him again in the Field of Reeds. And if not, she was sure they would all wander in unrest for eternity.

Product Information

Paperback Size: 5" x 8"

468 pages

Printed on-demand by Lulu Direct

There can be up to a 2-month delay in receiving the signed books depending on the author's stock and Amazon ship times.

Signed Paperback Size: 5" x 8"

468 pages

Signed Hardcover Size: 6" x 9"

438 pages

Publisher: LLMBooks Publishing
Published: May 2023
ISBN-13: 978-1737905059
Genre: Historical Fiction

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  • (★★★★★)

    “…total immersion into the complex world of ancient Egypt…Merewether’s brand of political drama, blended seamlessly with interpersonal, emotional storylines allow us to get into the psyche of her characters and explore the unusual pressures and challenges they face…an empowering work about the women behind the great kings and princes of Egypt.” - K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite

  • (★★★★★)

    “Very highly recommended.” - Asher Syed for Readers’ Favorite

  • (★★★★★)

    “Merewether does a beautiful job of taking an extraordinarily rigid and spotty slice of history and making it both accessible and intimate…a wonderful novel and a solid entry into a new series.” - Jamie Michele for Readers’ Favorite

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