Eye of Isis Series

by Dana Stabenow

Death of an Eye

‘Outstanding’ Washington Post. ALEXANDRIA, 47 BC. For three centuries, the House of Ptolemy has governed the Kingdom of Egypt. Cleopatra – seventh of her name – rules from Alexandria, that beacon of commerce and learning that stands between the burning sands of the desert and the dark waters of the Middle Sea. But her realm is beset by ethnic rivalries, aristocratic feuds and courtly intrigues. Not only that, she must contend with the insatiable appetite of Julius Caesar who needs Egyptian grain and Egyptian gold to further his ambitions. The world is watching the young Queen, waiting for a misstep… And now her most trusted servant – her Eye – has been murdered and a vast shipment of newly minted coin stolen. Cleopatra cannot afford for the coins to go unrecovered or the murderers unpunished, so she asks childhood friend, Tetisheri Nebenteru, to retrace the dead Eye’s footsteps. Tetisheri will find herself plunged into the shadowy heart of Alexandria. As she sifts her way through a tangle of lies and deceit, she will discover that nothing can be taken at face value, that she can’t trust anyone – not even the Queen herself.

Disappearance of a Scribe

The second in the trilogy of Ancient Egyptian crime novels that began with 2018’s Death of an Eye.

Two Alexandrian fishermen come across a horrifying sight – the body of a skeleton floating upright at the bottom of the sea, anchored in place by a cement weight around his feet. In Alexandria’s rough-and-tumble construction trade they call that ‘being fitted with a pair of Rhakotis sandals’ and what’s worse, he’s the second such victim in two years.

Queen Cleopatra is busy rebuilding her city after the Alexandrian War and these murders are not to be allowed to interfere with this primary task, so she charges Tetisheri, her new Eye of Isis, with the task of finding out who these men were, when they were murdered, and, above all, why.

Theft of an Idol

When Cleopatra’s most beloved actress disappears, her new Eye of Isis must solve a case that will lead to the darkest corners of Alexandria.

From the palaces of Alexandria reigns Cleopatra – seventh of her name, avatar of the goddess Isis, ruler of the Kingdom of Egypt – surrounded by riches untold. Through the streets of her great city bustle scholars and sailors, politicians and priests. For those with the means, it is a comfortable life.

But not all are invited to share in the wealth of Egypt’s first city. For the peasants and farmers, their lives lie in the hands of the gods and the harvest. Unless, that is, they can find other methods to feed their families. Other, less savory methods.

When Herminia, one of Alexandria’s most beloved actresses, disappears on the eve of a great performance, Cleopatra sets Tetisheri, her Eye, to investigate. In her search for the truth, Tetisheri will uncover a mystery that will take her to the city’s darkest corners…

My Take

I was excited to see new books by Dana Stabenow and dove in. (Side note: I wish there was an easy way to be notified when an author you like comes out with new books. Goodreads used to have a newsletter that did this but alas, now it’s just generic.) Anyway, another great setting from Stabenow and another great community. I know little of ancient Egypt but it feels authentic enough to me. And good mysteries too. I’d wish for more, but that would be at the cost of more Kate Shugak books, which I also like.