River God - A Diary

Discussion about Wilbur Smith's Egyptian series.

River God - A Diary

Postby John R » Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:04 pm

Ok so here we go (at last :oops: :) ) I'm finally going to start reading the Egyptian series. Joining me will be mr matbow and nefer, think we'll be posting/sharing our opinions in this thread, so anyone else who is thinking of starting River God is welcome to join us :mrgreen:
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Postby Nefer » Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:35 pm

I think we should mention that there will be spoilers galore in this thread, so you are warned!
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Postby Matbow » Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:50 pm

I think myself and Nefer should post in spoiler tags for the sake of John...I'll post up the page number I'm at (assuming we're reading the same version) so you know whether you can read it or not!
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Postby John R » Fri Nov 24, 2006 4:59 am

Thanks, i'm reading the 1st edition hard-back - page count is 530
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Postby Matbow » Fri Nov 24, 2006 2:38 pm

Arse, I'm on the Paperback - 662 pages. No worry, I can give you an approximate by dividing the page number I'm at by 1.25. I'll probably be making a start today or tomorrow.
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Postby Matbow » Fri Nov 24, 2006 4:50 pm

I've just finished the first chapter, and what a long boring chapter it is! It does serve a purpose - introducing more or less all the main protagonists and quite a bit of the background info, but still it's way too long!

The whole first person style of writing will take me a while to get used to (again), I really have issues with it! On the plus side, I do feel that once I have got used to it I'll get so much more involved in the story than I would with a 3rd person narrative.

Going onto the actual story:
[spoiler]My overriding impression from this chapter is what a judgmental, arrogant swine Taita is! Bloody know it all![/spoiler]
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Postby John R » Sat Nov 25, 2006 5:17 am

I made a brief start yesterday, but when i say brief i mean brief - only 8 or 9 pages. The chapter is never ending! All i can say so far is that the description Wilbur puts in is amazing...the depth is like nothing i've come across before. And mat i agree with you on Taita!
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Postby Nefer » Sat Nov 25, 2006 1:31 pm

Glad to know that I'm not falling behind you guys! I'm reading the paperback copy as well, so I'm on 54 (pg 43 for you John).

So far, my impression is one of awe. The images, sights, sounds, smells, all of it, they all pull me out of November cold (possible snow in our fair city) to Egypt of heat and the wonderful laid back life of an Egyptian noble. All is luxury and possibility - no hard work in sight!

[spoiler]And Taita insinuates himself into the story so well. He is & isn't the main focus. I completely love him and his pride in his achievements, and remember, he does say "he writes only the truth" (paraphrase here!) Within the first few pages we've been set up with an epic love story triangle and a vengeful man willing to do anything to get his way.

Anyone else think it strange when Taita constantly mentions his love for Lostris, even though he makes no secret that he brought her up? It never bothered me, in all my years of reading this book, until someone actually pointed it out!! And it still doesn't bother me. Strange.[/spoiler]
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Postby John R » Sun Nov 26, 2006 6:37 am

[spoiler]Do you mean it's strange because he is 30 and she is only 14? I would find it strange if it was a modern story but it's set in ancient Egypt so i'm assuming back in the day it wasn't unusual??[/spoiler]

Currently on page 17 so i'm falling a bit behind sorry, but it is the weekend so i have a good excuse!

have to agree nefer, Smith does pull you in to the world of Egypt so well it's amazing really. The ultimate form of escapism must be to read River God! I'm finding it really enjoyable at the moment and yeah, the love triangle is going to be interesting.
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Postby John R » Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:37 pm

Ok just wanted to go over a few things, i'm currently on page 33 so maybe all gets explained shortly but what's the general social structure? Obviously on top we have the Pharaoh, and then the grand vizer/lord intef?? and then the soldiers (such as Tanas) and then the slaves?? And also what exactly is Taita's status? He calls himself a Enuch?? /salve and yet has all these advantages

it also mentioned something about the kingdom being split into 2?

Perhaps i just need to read more to find out...
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Postby Matbow » Mon Nov 27, 2006 2:11 pm

All about Taita will be explained (IIRC). And this will probably help:

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Postby John R » Mon Nov 27, 2006 3:19 pm

Ah, excellent! Thanks mat
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Postby Nefer » Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:37 pm

I'm at page 134, (107 HC).

I'm finding it very hard to be objective about this bok, because I know it so well and I know exactly what happens when, I just keep anticipating & not judging the book!

But the heat is definately on - WS's typical style of starting with a bang & keeping the momentum is still evident. I particularly love how well he's able to paint such vivid pictures of all the characters from a first-person perspective. Also worth mentioning again is the vivid imagery & use of metaphor. We all know I love this book, but I just have to say Taita is the best character ever! Even his pomposity is something I can forgive, he's just so likeable!

The history lessons are as always, great! I don't remember the page John, but there is an explanation about the 2 kingdoms coming. Just keep reading!

[spoiler]This may be because I know the book so well, but I can feel a tragedy coming. Not the love-triangle tragedy, but something in the way Taita recites the tale makes it seem as though there is a calamity coming soon.[/spoiler]
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Postby John R » Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:57 am

Currently on page 148. It's got all the ingredients to be an epic! I'm still undecided on Taita though....it's not so much i don't like him, more to do with the fact that i just don't like him that much...i dunno yet. He's not a character i think i can love, unlike Sean Courtney. But then it's a completely different story. Sometimes i just don't understand him....for example[spoiler]When he had the chance to kill Rasfer but didn't do it[/spoiler]

I'm enjoying it very much though, but still a long way to go
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Postby Nefer » Sun Dec 03, 2006 4:13 pm

Page 270 (216 HC)

[spoiler]I guess it speaks to his humanity. Taita is a complex character, trust me, you will come to love him. It is odd, seeing as how he was okay letting that Shrike die with an abdominal wound, later in the book... I don't know. Everything about Taita makes me love him![/spoiler]

Ah, the book has picked up!! I forgot how engaging the book becomes, I read for about 3 hours on Friday night!! I must admit the book has been moving slowly for me at this point. I say this having read the book a bazillion times already, and I think it may be because Helen of Troy is waiting to be read!! I feel like I want the book to be over, but then I hit the part, described below in the spoiler, which sped me on and on... I had no idea I was reading for 3 hours! True Wilbur magic. I was completely transported, and I'm liking Taita all over again!

[spoiler]The part that got my heart racing was when Taita finds Tanus in the love-shack and starts their epic getting-rid-of-the-Shrikes adventure. The pages were literally spinning for me at this point, as they start their campaign. The war scenes are done so well, I can almost feel myself in them!! And the whole incidence with Lostris & Pharaoh, not totally as gross as you would expect! Taita, as usual, is no wall-flower as he tells us exactly how he fits into the power scheme of things. And it's eye-opening, certainly.[/spoiler]
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Postby Nefer » Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:01 pm

I feel like I'm the only one still reading!!!

I'm at 488 (~390 HC).

Officially re-addicted to this book :mrgreen: WS knows how wring the very cockles of one's heart.

[spoiler] I lived through every moment of Egypt's downfall. It felt as though everything was finally going right for poor old Mamose, and then BAM! It's all taken away from him. :(

And the love-triangle just gets deeper and more intricate and a little harder to understand, probably because we never get to hear Lostris' & Tanus' voice on the matter. I was very happy when Taita got his revenge on Intef, but when he writes that Intef had inflicted his final torture on him, even in death, it felt so... Real. It's such a cliche, but the people who hurt you never really stop, even when they're not in your life anymore.

I always wondered how Tanus felt being with Lostris in secret, and if 'the people' evered figured it out & just didn't say anything. Come on, the guy never spends anytime in his own bed!! :lol:[/spoiler]
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Postby John R » Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:20 pm

Sadly ive not read any since my last post here. so still on page 148 don't know why but i'm not gripped by it as much as i hoped. i am enjoying it but so far i'm finding it easy not to pick it up, and to be doing other things like watching DVD's :(
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Postby Nefer » Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:44 pm

What seems to be boring you?

It does get better as the pages flip, I promise! You need a hot cup of chocolate, a warm blankie, and off you go :mrgreen:
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Postby Matbow » Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:40 pm

I am still reading, but only on page 70 something so I don't have anything much more too add! I honestly can't remember much of what happens so it's like reading a new book - but having really high expectations!

I can't remember if the book gets better as it goes on, but it is one of those books that takes you a while to get into, but once you're "there" it's hard to put down...all I remember from my 1st read was having a mammoth reading session after I got past half way - when I finished it was like "Wow! (and quite sad/emotional)! :oops:
Last edited by Matbow on Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby John R » Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:40 pm

:) yeah i know your right! just i don't know what it is really. Read it all last week, stopped on the weekend cos i normally go out, and since then i haven't even picked it up! strange. Will make a real effort to pick it up tomorrow!
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