Mara, Daughter of the Nile

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Mara, Daughter of the Nile
Mara Daughter of the Nile.jpg
First edition
Author Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Cover artist Derek James
Country United States
Language English
Genre Historical fiction
Publisher Coward McCann
Publication date
Pages 279

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw is a historical fiction children's book. It follows Mara, a young Egyptian girl who takes up a dangerous job as a double spy between two different masters.


Mara: An Egyptian slave girl who yearns for adventure, and more importantly, freedom.

Teta: A servant that works with Mara and frequently scolds and complains about Mara's doing.

Zasha: Mara's master at the beginning at the book. He is a jewel trader and is quite wealthy. He is afraid of Mara's blue eyes, and he beats her and the other servants often.

Nahereh: Mara's second master, who buys her from Zasha. He is stone faced and mysterious. Later, Mara finds out his name, and who he is. He is the brother of Queen Hatshepsut's right-hand man.

Sheftu: A man who meets Mara on the boat to Thebes. He is working for the side opposite Nahereh. She overhears a private conversation about the revolution, and Sheftu, thinking she is a runaway slave, promises to kill her if she does not work for him. He is guarded and secretive, but can be charming.

Nekonkh: The captain of the boat on which they sail, he soon becomes a friend to Sheftu's cause.

Inanni: The babylonian princess whom Mara interprets for as a cover; they soon become friends and confidantes.

Hatshepsut: The woman Pharaoh. She is portrayed as a selfish, gold waster. She is overthrown by Thutmose (see below)

Thutmose: The contender for the throne, he is the rightful heir.

Sahure: A juggler who proves himself a traitor to Sheftu and the others. He has a twisted charm about him, but Mara has difficulty describing it in the book.

Djedet: priest of the semranic (mummification and burial)


Living in ancient Egypt, Mara is a slave under the rule of Queen Hatshepsut, living(or surviving) in Menfe. Mara is not like other slaves; she can read and write, as well as speak the language of Babylonian. She also, oddly enough, has bright blue eyes. Struggling daily to find a way out of her wretched life as a slave Mara takes secret visits to the marketplace, behind her cruel master's back. On one such trip, Mara is observed by two men, Nahereh and Sheftu, who both note her intelligence.

The first man, Nahereh, appears shortly afterwards to buy her from her master and offers Mara an escape from her life: if she will serve him and the Queen as a spy and accomplish her mission, he promises her riches and freedom, but death, if she is found out. Mara accepts the task and she spies for the queen.

The second man, Sheftu, appears on a boat as she makes her way to the golden palace of pharaoh in Thebes to spy. He thinks that Mara is only a runaway slave, nothing else. He tells her that he will not turn her in as long as she will deliver a message to Thutmose and work for him as a messenger to carry plans for coming rebellion. She does this by being the interpreter of the Babylonian Princess, since this is what Nahereh has her do to spy for him. At first, she only serves Nahereh.

Mara enjoys her life at court so much that she decides to play both sides. She carries messages for Sheftu and throws small bits of information to her new master, Lord Nahereh. But unwillingly she finds herself tangled more and more in her own web, as she discovers that she is falling in love with Sheftu (as he falls in love with her). She soon discovers that she believes in Sheftu's plan to restore Thutmose III to the throne. When Sahure, a juggler at the Falcon Inn where the rebels meet, turns spy for the Queen's men, Mara is found out by both sides. Despite Sheftu's attempt to kill her, she returns to warn him and his followers of the raid that will go down at their meeting place. While waiting for her warning to be heeded, the soldiers of pharaoh come. Mara waits in the shadows to make certain everyone escaped and to find her own chance at escaping, but is captured by the soldiers.

She is taken to the palace for interrogation, but continues to claim not to know the leader, despite the harsh beating and the offers of freedom and riches. Sheftu has in the meantime heard of what has been going on, he tries to rescue her, but is identified as the leader of the rebellion by Sahure. But he has been working well the last years and by now most of the priests, the nobles and the entire army are on his side and storm the palace. The rebellion is successful, Hatshepsut is allowed to die by her own hand by ingesting poison provided by Thutmose, and Mara and Sheftu end happily in love together.


  • "Mara, Daughter of the Nile" by Eloise Jarvis McGraw