Review of How Seosiris Lost the Favor of the King

“How Seosiris Lost the Favor of the King,” by James L. Cambias, appeared in the September/October issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. As the title indicates, Seosiris loses the favor of the king, but the action of the story highlights his loyalty and cleverness in defending the king nonetheless.

The story fit together neatly, and I enjoyed the Egyptian milieu. Who doesn’t like Thoth? Indeed, the conflict of the story revolves around a troublesome foreigner who scorns Egypt’s culture and wishes to remake it, only better. This dream is as dangerous as it sounds, and Seosiris devotes himself to defeating this foreigner.

The story is told from the point of view of Senehem, Seosiris’ apprentice, which allows events to unfold as if seen through a soft-filter effect of admiration. Senehem is telling us the story of his hero, and what makes him a hero is not his power, or his ambition. It is the humble qualities that distinguish the best heroes: integrity, devotion, and wit.