Naguib Mahfouz seems to be equally able to write about ancient and modern Egypt. His novels about Ancient Egypt concern themselves with an analysis of high politics, often through using mythic stories to indicate political concerns. So for example, his novel about Akhenaten, the ancient Pharoah focuses on the links between faith and politics and questions about how far religious motivations can justify political actions.
Khufu's Wisdom, his novel about the Pharoah Khufu (also known as Cheops) focuses on similar issues. Mahfouz is fascinated by the way that the personality of the ruler effects his power to control and rule his nation. Khufu's Wisdom concerns the succession to Khufu, from the beggining of the novel the scent of death rests over the realm, after ten years the Great Pyramid is still unfinished. The real story though concerns Khufu's effort to avoid a prophesy that says Djedjef, son of the priest of Ra, will succeed him and not his own sons. The novel shows us the way that despite Khufu's best efforts, Djedjef does come to succeed him, ultimately through the Pharoah's own intercession.
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