I have long had a fascination with Ancient Egypt and have read not only scholarly material, but many historical fiction novels about that time. The City of Refuge is a well written tale of what might have been, filled with character that could have existed, and set in a city that has long fascinated archaeologists and others because of the odd, murky, and mysterious reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his abandoned city. The names of the characters can be a bit confusing in the beginning, possibly because my Western eyes are simply not accustomed to them, but maybe it is because in the very beginning you are given very little to identify the names with characters…either way, it passes after the first few chapters and you are familiar enough with the characters to easily follow the story.
There’s a ring of authenticity to the characters and dialogue in the story, and that lends credibility it. Because there are not distracting inaccuracies you can get absorbed from the very beginning and stay with it. There really aren’t any slow spots in this book and although I spent most of the book thinking “oh, I know exactly where you’re going with this” there were still a few surprises in store when the author laid the entire sub-plot bare in a well crafted speech. (I hope that’s not a spoiler – but I’d want to know if the ends were tied up in nice little bows, and they were!)
I read the author’s note and thought Ms. Wilder covered her story perspective brilliantly and it was satisfying when it could have been frustrating (you’ll have to read it for yourself to find out…I thought it was great!), and it showed how well crafted the story was. Ms. Wilder managed to display her knowledge throughout the story in a manner few indie authors of her genre can – the novel is neither trite nor overly contrived and I found it thoroughly enjoyable.