Nubian Warrior Princess The Last Librarian
Amanishakete, Princess of the House of Meroe, Nubia
Amanishakete is described in the first Last Librarian book, 'The Quest for Eternal Life', as being a tall, handsome, Nubian woman.
Very erect, with a high forehead, chiselled features and a direct gaze, regal almost to the point of arrogance.
It was her eyes that made the greatest impact. Dark hazel brown with flecks of pale gold in the irises that seem to both penetrate and reflect on what they see. In anger her eyes would flash; in empathy they would know. There were few who could hold eye contact for long, it was as if their innermost being was open to her scrutiny.
Her age was impossible to determine, somewhere perhaps between thirty and fifty. She was third in line to the Nubian throne in Kemet, Southern Egypt, and a direct descendent of the Queens of Meroe.
(I'll write another Blog about Nubia to put this all into historical context.)
An impressive and unforgettable woman you might think and you'd be right. So much so that I've been unable to find an image of anyone that comes close?! So I've left it to the imagination of the reader to see a picture of her in their minds-eye.
But it's not just her appearance, as distinctive as that might be, she was brought up in the palace of Queen Amanirenas a warrior queen who lost an eye in battle and was able to deter the Romans from entering Nubia. An amazing feat in the times when Rome was virtually undefeatable. So Amani (we'll use the short form here as it is in the books) would have been brought up to be expert in weapons and fighting. The Nubians (of Kush) were renowned for their ability with a bow, particularly on horseback, and were probably one of the first to use a compound bow along with the ancient Persians. The bow, a sword similar to the Takoba sword of the Berbers and later Tuareg and a Tellak dagger would have been a natural part of her life. Even earlier she'd have fought other children and young adults with a staff, a weapon that has been around for thousands of years and one that can be lethal at close quarters in the right hands. In later years the quarterstaff was a common weapon of the lowlier classes, although even Medieval knights trained with a staff and it was a common sight in the hands of monks and friars.
So our heroine Amani is both a daunting character and a fearsome warrior and it these traits that make her ideal for the task she accepted from Aurelius, to gain eternal life and protect the Royal Alexandrian Library for posterity.
Just as an aside, the original Great Alexandrian Library, by historical report(?), was moved (in whole or part?) to the hidden tunnels underneath the temple of Serapis and was renamed the Royal Library.
So off goes Amani, joined a little later by Sabine, who'll be the subject of another character Blog, and they gain eternal life, but let's just stop for a moment and consider the implications of that on Amani, and there has to be two sides to this.
Imagine never having to die. The knowledge and experience gained must be phenominal. We know that the human brain is far more capable than anything we ever use it for, so it must be capable of absorbing and using the vast amount and array of knowledge that could be learned and experienced over two thousand years! And then there's the physical expertise with all that time to learn and practice new skills, weapons and fighting methods.
But what about the emotional impact. Amani will fall in love, no matter how much she may try to avoid it, knowing that her partner will grow old and die whilst she remains young and healthy and she'll have to endure the pain of grief and loss. Despite her friendship and partnership with Sabine, the loneliness would be almost intollerable sometimes. It would take someone of enormous emotional strength to continue on.
And all of this is in addition to the stress of building and defending the Royal Library against often unforseeable, heartless and competent foe.
So our heroine, Amanishakete, is a true leader. Brave, competent, decisive and human. Sun Tzu says in his work 'The Art of War', that the traits of a leader are, Smart, Trustworthy, Caring, Brave and Strict. I think Amani fits the bill.