Elsa Marston
children's author

Comments about THE UGLY GODDESS


"This quirky novel of ancient Egypt blends well-researched history, fiction, and fantasy. . . Marston offers a lighthearted romp through an intriguing time period in Egyptian history." (Booklist)

"Mystery, adventure, ancient religion, and romance. . . accurate historical details . . . combine with a fast-paced story and interesting characters." (School Library Journal)

"Marston knows Egypt and its history . . . enormously satisfying for all readers . . . the stuff of high adventure. An unusual story with a lot of appeal." (Kliatt)

"Do a favor for a young friend and purchase THE UGLY GODDESS . . . a fast-moving story with remarkably accurate historical detail." (KMT, A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt)

". . . an engaging plot set in the politically complex world of the 26th Dynasty. . . a very enjoyable read, highly recommended." (H-Net Reviews)

Forthcoming in 2014:
Just published, 2013:
Fiction, young adult
An adventure in ancient Egypt
Poetry
poems inspired by animals depicted in Southwestern rock art
Nonfiction
a look at the variety of women's lives in the Middle East and North Africa
History
Stories in Y-A collections
in FIRST CROSSING AND OTHER STORIES OF IMMIGRANT TEENS
in MEMORIES OF SUN: STORIES OF AFRICA AND AMERICA (2004)
in SOUL SEARCHING: THIRTEEN STORIES ABOUT FAITH AND BELIEF

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THE UGLY GODDESS


When Bata's master, a famous sculptor, dies and leaves a magnificent statue of the goddess Taweret not quite finished, Bata resolves to take the statue to the person for whom it was intended. That person is the Princess Meret, destined to become the new Divine Wife of the god Amon, a position of prestige and power. With great celebration, and a heavy heart, Meret sails up the Nile to the sacred city of Luxor.

Meanwhile Bata has made a surprising connection with a young Greek, son of the mercenary army's general employed by Pharaoh. In love with Meret and hoping to find her before it's too late, Hector readily agrees to journey up the Nile with Bata. To complicate matters further, Bata has discovered that the statue of Taweret is not just a skillfully carved piece of stone. It really is the goddess herself! Taweret, with body of crocodile, head of hippopotamous, legs of lion, arms of man. The lowly Bata is the only human to whom Taweret reveals herself, and they gradually form a relationship far beyond that of divinity and devotee.

Carefully concealing the statue, Bata and Hector manage to get to Luxor--only to learn of impending catastrophe. The Persians are about to attack Egypt--and Princess Meret has disappeared!

That's all I can tell you here, except for one more thing. THE UGLY GODDESS has nothing to do with King Tut or the Pyramids or anything you ever read about ancient Egypt before--and it's mostly true (the historical part, that is). It happens in the 6th century B.C. during the Saite dynasty, a time of rejuvenation of Egypt's glory. And amazingly, it echoes two TRUE stories--but I didn't realize that until after I had written my story! I am quite confident that Taweret, who watched over women and children in ancient Egypt, had something to do with the birth of my novel. (This is an "author's note" I think you'll want to read.)