Started off ok… but quickly deteriorated to disappointing.
The content does not match up to the level of River God. If Taita's sorcery is in fact so formidable, then why the hell does he opt to use it only when all hope is lost?! Why can't he just use it when the problems begin and make it easy for everyone (including the reader)?
The Red Road nonsense with referees/umpires etc - IDIOTIC!! Nefer is not supposed to have any help in proving his worthiness to be a Red Road Warrior and we don't hear the end of that - YET, Taita is more than happy to help him with the archery task (and give him pointers for the other tasks as well). If THAT is how Taita wanted Nefer to 'prove his claim', then why the hell didn't the magus wave the staff and weave the magic for the entire Red Road event and make it a walk in the park for Nefer?
The last few pages of the book are absolutely rubbish.
Mintaka - 'You are not angry with me for disobeying you.’
Nefer - ‘You have given me a crown and a land.’ He shook his head and one of his tears fell upon her face. ‘Above that you have given me your love, which is more precious to me than all of that. How could I ever be angry with you?'
That's not a very noble / virtuous thing to say.
Perhaps Nefer needs to be reminded that not only did Mintaka disobey him, but her idiotic and immature decision to go to her uncle played a major role in the brutal murder of Merykara (Nefer's sister). The fact that her idiotic and immature decision / action resulted in Nefer getting some 200 manned chariots at a crucial point of the battle is irrelevant.
Also… there were far less dangerous ways of accomplishing that. One which readily comes to mind is the 'sorcery of the magus'. Which could be used to send a message to the General and other potential supporters. Could also be used to 'OVERLOOK' as he usually does - invited or uninvited. Could also be used to conjure up even more magical, mystical chariots with warriors. How about conjuring up that fancy 'khamsin'?
Or perhaps Nefer is not angry with Mintaka because - All is forgiven as long as Nefer gets the crown?? That's a rather shitty attitude.