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Children's Fiction General

The Desert Prince

by (author) Alisha Sevigny

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
General, Ancient Civilizations
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Ancient Egyptian healer and scribe Sesha is ready for another role: spy.

Be sure to read Sesha’s first adventure, The Lost Scroll of the Physician.

Forced to flee Thebes or face death, Sesha and her friends, Paser and Reb, travel up the Nile and into the desert in search of a hidden oasis. Led by a freed spy, they plan to rescue Pharaoh’s daughter Princess Merat, given to a Hyksos chieftain against her will. Before they can get there, though, they have to battle lurking crocodiles, endless dunes, and blinding sandstorms.

When the group finally straggles into the Hyksos camp, they find the rebels preparing for combat. But as Sesha and her friends spend time with the rival tribe, the lines in the sand begin to blur. When she takes on a dangerous secret mission and learns about a prophecy that could change the course of history, Sesha has to decide where her future — and the real danger — lies.

About the author

Alisha Sevigny is an author of books for young readers and a literary consultant. She holds a degree in professional writing and sociology from the University of Victoria. Her books include the Secrets of the Sands historical adventure series and the young adult novels Summer Constellations, a CCBC Best Book for Teens, and Kissing Frogs. She currently lives in the Cayman Islands with her family.


Alisha Sevigny's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC's Best Books for Kids and Teens (Spring 2021)

Excerpt: The Desert Prince (by (author) Alisha Sevigny)

Chapter One

“North?” Reb echoes. The scribe looks like he’s just tumbled off the back of a donkey. “You wish us to go north after Princess Merat?” “Yes,” I say. My heart and mind are still racing from our confrontation with the Queen of Egypt. “If we hurry, we may catch up to the Hyksos chieftain and his men. Did you not hear Queen Anat? The princess was given to him just before the queen herself arrived here.”

“You mean when she arrived here to kill us,” Reb points out. “Why should we trust anything the queen says? She came to take the scroll and send us to the underworld.” He gestures at the mastaba that houses my parents’ bodies, that would have held our bodies if not for the intervention of young Prince Tutan and Ahmes.

“It is a good thing she only accomplished the first task,” Paser says cheerily, still holding the surgical blade Ahmes gave him.

By the gods’ good graces, the physician’s knife and the prince’s royal command were enough to stop Crooked Nose from entombing us alive. Ahmes and Prince Tutan are now on their way back to the palace to check on my brother, Ky, who is still recovering from the risky surgery Ahmes performed only hours ago.

Crooked Nose, Queen Anat’s favourite solider, is with them. He will have the unpleasant task of informing Her Highness that her plan to leave us dead has been thwarted. By her only son and heir to the throne, no less. As the cruel soldier is responsible for the fire that killed my parents, I do not feel all that sorry for him.

“If we are to catch up to the Hyksos chieftain and rescue the princess, we must get moving.” Paser glances up at the sky.

“Say we do catch up to them,” Reb says, crossing his arms. “What are we supposed to do? Walk up to the chieftain and say, ‘Greetings, we would like the princess back’?”

“Maybe we can convince the Hyksos tribe to let us join them,” I say, though my stomach lurches at the outrageous thought. “Healers are always needed.”

Reb snorts. “You really think our rivals will welcome three young physicians into their midst?”

“Why not?” I speak with more confidence than I feel. “Our skills will be of use to them, especially if there is a battle coming.”

“And if they do not welcome us among them?” Reb asks. “What then?”

“We grab the princess and run,” I say grimly.

“Run where?” Reb throws his hands up in exasperation. “We cannot come back to Thebes.”

“We can go to their port city of Avaris,” Paser interjects. “That is likely where they are taking Merat anyway.”

“You wish us to go to the Hyksos capital?” Reb is aghast. “Into the very heart of their territory?”

“I have family there,” Paser says. We look at him in shock and a shadow crosses his face. “I’m not sure whether we will be welcome, but they are my blood, and it is our best chance.”

A flicker of hope ignites in my chest. “Do you think they might help us?”

“There is no guarantee,” Paser says. “But from what I know, the port city is vast, with many people from distant shores. If the gods are willing and we find Merat and free her, we might be able to disappear into the crowds.” He hesitates. “Or board a ship for another land.”

My stomach falls even further at the thought of crossing the seas to unknown worlds.

“The chieftain and his men will probably kill us before that happens,” Reb says, ever optimistic. “Especially if they hear we are there to steal away his future wife.”

“A possibility,” I admit. “But our deaths are certain if we stay in Thebes. Queen Anat will see to that.”

“We will not last a moment out there, away from our home.” Reb motions at the world beyond the city borders. “We are scribes, not nomads. How can we make our way north to the Hyksos unaided? We will be swooped up by the queen’s men, faster than the falcon seizes its prey.”

“You forget something, my friend,” Paser interrupts again, and I look at him, grateful for his support. I am not sure I would be so bold in my plans were it not for his calm strength at my side. “There is someone who can take us there.”

Reb pales in the moonlight. “You cannot mean —”

“The Hyksos spy,” I breathe. “The one they caught in the marketplace. Paser, you are brilliant! He can show us the way.”

“What makes you think he will help us?” Reb scoffs. “Besides, even if we could free him from the Place of Confinement — which we cannot — it would only have Pharaoh’s men joining the queen’s in hunting us like rats for betraying both him and the kingdom.”

“It is our only choice.” I look back at the mastaba, then at my friends. “We do not have much time. We should gather up anything that might assist us on our journey.”

“Did you take some of the blue lotus flower you gave your brother this evening?” Reb, assessing that I am quite serious, seems truly alarmed. “In addition to this terrible plan, which will likely see us all killed —” he looks at Paser, who shrugs, then back at me “— you wish us to free an enemy spy right after we rob the tombs of our ancestors? Of your very parents, Sesha?”

“While our ancestors may have need of these objects in the afterlife, we need them now, in this life,” I insist. “My parents will not begrudge us borrowing a few items.”

“We will be cursed,” Reb protests.

“We already are,” I say, tart as unripe berries. “I have lost my parents and my home, and now I must leave my brother behind. The gods can take nothing more from me. I do not ask you to join us, but if we are to have any chance of escaping, we must be on our way.”

Editorial Reviews

A richly detailed, immersive read.

Kirkus Reviews

Sesha reminds me of Katniss Everdeen in her bravery and keen mind.

Angela Misri, author of the Portia Adams Adventure Series

The Desert Prince is action adventure ... Alisha Sevigny knows how to keep us wanting more and, with a secret prophecy and a looming war along with some budding romances, she's hooked us into anticipating Book 3.

CanLit for Little Canadians

Will delight middle grade readers with its history, its setting and, most of all, its gripping adventure and mystery.

CanLit for Little Canadians, for The Lost Scroll of the Physician

This action-packed series brings the vibrant ancient kingdom to life in wonderful, shimmering detail.

Kate Blair, author of The Magpie’s Library

Picking up right after The Lost Scroll of the Lost Physician ends, this middle grade ancient historical by Alisha Sevigny will satisfy readers already charmed by the feisty Sesha as she navigates the mystery and dangers of ancient Egypt. Complete with lush descriptions that firmly plant the reader in the exotic desert setting, and the array of multifaceted characters, The Desert Prince is a tightly woven action adventure. The short chapters and perfectly placed cliffhangers make this a slick and enjoyable escape. Readers will be clamouring for the next book.

B.R. Myers, author of Rogue Princess and the Nefertari Hughes series

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