River God Summary

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The novel River God by Wilbur Smith is set in Ancient Egypt, during a time when the kingdoms were beginning to collapse and the Upper and Lower Egypt were separated between two rulers. The story is in the view-point of Taita, a highly multi-talented eunuch slave. At the beginning of the story, Taita belongs to Lord Intef and helps manage his estate along with caring for his beautiful daughter, Lostris. She is in love with Tanus, a fine solider and also Taita’s friend. Unfortunately, Lord Intef despises Tanus’s father, Lord Harrab, and Intef was actually the one who the cause of the fall of Harrab’s estate, unknowingly to Lostris and Tanus. Taita’s goal is to bring back Egypt to its former glory, but with so many bandits and invaders it would be a difficult task.

Early in the novel, Taita is to set up a pageant for the Pharaoh, and casts Lostris and Tanus in the play. The Pharaoh is so taken aback by Lostris’s beauty he decides to marry her, in which Taita did not plan to do. Tanus made a speech at the end of the play that spoke about all the troubles in Egypt in which angered the Pharaoh and sentenced him to death if he cannot eliminate the problems of the bandits, mainly the ones called the Shrikes, in two years. When Lostris marries the Pharaoh, she asks for Taita as her wedding gift from her father. Lord Intef, being unable to refuse the wife of the pharaoh, has to give up Taita, whom knows every one of his secrets. Intef makes several attempts to kill Taita without success. Taita then goes off to help Tanus defeat the Shrikes.

In two years, they defeat the whole band of Shrikes and capture several of their leaders, and when Tanus presents them to the Pharaoh, Tanus’s sentence is lifted. When the Pharaoh demands to know who their commander is, they all point to Lord Intef. Intef is captured and sentenced to death, but escape before it is carried out.

After that, during a terrible sand storm, Tanus and Lostris are finally able to be alone, but Lostris...
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