Books: Mad Pharaoh

ON A BALCONY (256 pp.)—David Stacton—London House & Maxwell ($3.50).

Because the modern world tends to monotheism, the reign (circa 1375-1358 B.C.) of Pharaoh Ikhnaton is usually described in comparative-religion courses as a brief but glorious false dawn of theological enlightenment. Novelist Stacton will have none of this. In an astringent tale that examines men's motives and man's fate as closely—and coldly—as any historical novel in recent years, he presents his own view of the matter.

It is true, Stacton writes, that Ikhnaton set aside the prevailing pantheism, in which the god Amon and...

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