This sequel to The Twice Born follows Huy, son of Hapu the peasant farmer, as he becomes seer to the Pharoah and becomes caught up in court politics even from the haven of his new estate in Hut-Herib.
While it's interesting to see what happens to characters from the first book -- Thothmoses, Huy's childhood friend and now a nobleman; Ishat, the peasant girl who is his oldest friend; his younger brother, Heby -- and get fresh insights into the world these characters inhabit, the book ends up dragging a lot. The headaches that accompany Huy's efforts to "See" for his fellow citizens and friends are described at exhaustive and exhausting length. Meanwhile, the fantasy scenes -- in which Huy confronts the Egyptian pantheon of gods, from Anubis and Ma'at to Atum -- also feel far too frequent and meldramatic.
Together, the two books in this series weigh in at a ponderous 1,000 pages; based on the conclusion to this volume, I'm betting that Gedge is preparing the third volume in what seems likely to be a trilogy. After spending a few days reading the first two books back-to-back, I can't help wishing that she had decided to focus her narrative more tightly and contain it within a single book, or two, at most. This follow-on volume often spends a lot of time re-hashing (sometimes several times) events in the first book, including the critical attack which left Huy with the ability to see into the future. Ultimately, those repetitions, combined with the long-drawn out scenes or gratuitous incidents that don't contribute to plot or character development, become highly irritating. For the first time, Pauline Gedge has crossed the line between knowing so much about ancient Egypt that it is a boon for readers, to knowing so much that she feels as if she is writing for her own enjoyment rather than that of her readers. Certainly, only a reader with a deep interest in ancient Egyptian religion and the Book of the Dead will enjoy all of these two books.
In contrast, I can highly recommend her other two series. The first, House of Illusions and House of Dreams, (the latter is also published under the title of Lady of the Reeds (The Hera Series), tells the story of Thu, a concubine caught up in political intrigue. The second, a trilogy beginning with The Hippopotamus Marsh: Lord of the Two Lands: Volume I (Lords of the Two Lands, Volume 1), recounts the saga of the reconquest of Egypt by two brothers, who found a new dynasty. Either series is much stronger than this book and its predecessor; both have strong plot lines and characters, and don't try to encompass the whole of Egyptian theology and philosophy.
Alas, in The Seer of Egypt, Gedge's excessive ambition has spoiled what otherwise would have been another great story. I still rate it three stars, but wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wasn't a big fan of the author's. Reading the first book in the series is necessary to understanding the plot, but will also detract from the pleasure of reading this book.