THE THRONE OF OSIRIS (a tale of Ancient Egypt) By Bolesław Prus Translated by P. Ursyn Meissner
Egypt circa 1100 BCE - Old age and disease have weakened Pharaoh's already tenuous grip on power, allowing Egypt's archpriests to take partial control of the government. But their pride and heavy-handed policies plunge the kingdom into dire straits. Seeking to avert a crisis the young protagonist, Crown Prince Ramses, issues directives to ease the peoples' suffering and at the same time to gain finances for his own future reign. But the entrenched archpriests thwart his efforts. Conflict ensues. The archpriests have but a few allies, the wealth of the temples, and an unusually smart organizing capability. The rest of the nation - the army, police force, most government officials, and even many of the younger priests - all side with the young ruler. Uneven as these odds are the outcome is far from certain, and the consequent power struggle threatens the ancient kingdom with the collapse of the social order. The Throne of Osiris is a saga of intrigue and subterfuge, an epic account of crisis in government and the struggle for dominance. This classic tale offers a rich depiction of life in ancient Egypt, the structure of its society, its religious beliefs and traditions. With its numerous parallels to today's world, it is a study in the raw mechanisms of power and explores the attempts of the young to govern and to right society’s wrongs.
"An archetype of the struggle for power that goes on within any state" - Czesław Miłosz " A vision of mankind as rich as Shakespeare's, ranging from the sublime to the commonplace" - Christopher Kasparek
'A study of the fates of nations' - Wikipedia
----------------------- ‘After his audience with the vice-regent, the Assyrian envoy Sargon dallied in Pi-Bast, awaiting the arrival of Pharaoh’s letters from the capital city of Memphis. At the same time, wild rumors spawned by the Phoenicians began to circulate among Egypt’s military and noblemen—that the archpriests had freed Assyria from having to pay the tribute owed, that they had come to an understanding with Egypt’s mortal enemy, that Pharaoh on learning of these concessions had fallen gravely ill and that Crown Prince Ramses too was shaken by it, but that both royals, unsure whom the army and nobility sided with, felt compelled to defer to the will of the archpriests. “Can the dynasty really doubt our loyalty?” members of the privileged class whispered among themselves indignantly. “Have the priests determined to dishonor and destroy Egypt? With their war to the north now is the time to strike Assyria and replenish Pharaoh’s impoverished coffers, as well as our own!” Ramses said nothing and none could divine just how much he knew. But the steely glint in his eyes at the very mention of the Assyrians betrayed his feelings. And more whisperings: “The temples have ensnared the dynasty! Egypt’s safety is in peril!” Silent anger turned to covert conspiratorial meetings. Still the overconfident priests remained ignorant of it all. Only Sargon felt the hatred. But having learned of the dislike Prince Ramses bore for him, he attributed it to the incident at the circus and jealousy for the girl. As an emissary he was untouchable, so he drank and indulged and slipped out almost nightly to the priestess who seemed to receive his courting and gifts with increasing favor. This then was the secretive mood in the highest spheres of Pharaoh’s government at the time.’