Epic novel by Norman Mailer, set (mostly) in the Egypt of Ramses the Great. The book has two rather confusing and unneccesary framing stories, the first detailing how the nominal protagonist is travelling through the afterlife, and the other dealing with a night that he was at the Pharoahs court, with his great grandfather (a courtier), telling tales of his first incarnation.

The main body of the story is the great grandfather's tale, telling how in a previous life he rose to power in the steamy, violent, yet beautiful and heroic society og Egypt. This functions more as a way to tell various tales of ancient Egypt then to tell a straight narrative. Some mysteries and plots unfold, and there is a good amount of intrigue and treachery, but these still come across as almost secondary to Norman Mailer's not inconsiderable descriptive talent.

On the plus side, this book is interesting for the entire 800 or so pages. And the amount of detail that he puts into describing a three thousand year old civilization shows a lot of research and a lot of imagination, more what I would expect from a fantasy writer than from a writer who has built up a reputation for being hard nosed. The book is really a total immersion in the atmosphere of royalty in Ancient Egypt.

On the other hand, he seems to use the book to grind some of his own psychosexual axes, and there seems to be a lot about anal sex and incest. I am sure for that in the pre-asstr days, people needed to go to literature to get such information, but in our more enlightened days, we can use the net for pr0n and use literature for literature.