Ancient Egypt is one of my hobbies. I collect books, non-fiction and fiction, that have anything to do with it. I picked up Smith's River God and gave it a try. I was horribly disappointed. The storytelling is decent, although there are not enough characters to sustain believability (a pharaoh's entourage was never *that* small!) and the main character, Taita, is just unsufferably smart --he invents everything short of the microwave oven.
The history is atrocious, and that is where the book condemns itself. Not only are there numerous anachronisms (glass-blowing, shadoufs, etc), but this is the first time I've seen an author not use the rich tapestry of Ancient Egyptian history: this book is about a dynasty that never existed. Not only are the Hyksos represented as a tidal wave (borne on the innovation of the war chariot), which is nothing like what actually happened, but we see, in the course of the story, an entire city's worth of Egyptians uproot themselves and travel upstream along the Nile to somewhere in Ethiopia and back. What is unforgivable is that Nubia is shown as uninhabited, a wilderness, whereas in reality it was a vice-royalty of Egypt, nearly as heavily settled (in the Late Period, there even was a Nubian dynasty), that would later give rise to the great civilizations of Meroe and Axum.
When compared to the books by Silverberg (Thebes of the Hundred Gates), Jacq (The Judge of Egypt), Montlaur (Nitocris, Imhotep), Pratchett (Pyramids), Prus (The Pharaoh), Norton (Shadow Hawk), Morris (I, the Sun), Tarr (Lord of the Two Lands), Powers (The Anubis Gates), Saberhagen (Pyramids) and, above all, Gedge (her Scroll of Saqarra is a masterpiece!), this book deserves to be relegated to oblivion.