Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The Murder of King Tut

by James Patterson and Martin Dugard

Like a lot of people I have always been fascinated by King Tut and ancient Egypt, so when this book came in the mail from Little Brown Publishing company (THANK YOU!) I was super excited! 

The novel successfully weaves three different perspectives, one being James Patterson in the present while writing the book; the next one of Howard Carter in the 20th century, the famous Egyptologist who discovered Tut's tomb; and lastly of King Tut himself and his court in ancient Egypt.  At first I was put off by the modern language of the world of Tut, but once I got beyond that I found I was getting nicely caught up in the mystery of his death.  In fact, I had never really thought about it before! 

The story begins in present day Florida with Patterson on the phone with his agent.  You get the sense that he is not only an extremely successful and busy author, but that his agent has an enormous belief in his abilities to take on yet another novel to write among the many others weighed down by deadlines.  Thus the idea for the Tut book was born. 

In ancient Egypt we are introduced to Tut's parents, and we discover that he is not the natural born son of his mother Nefertiti.  He is the bastard child of the King's and when he dies his mother quickly claims Tut as the successor to the thrown, much to the hatred and disgust of the power hungry Aye.  Here is where our first hint as to the murder of Tut may have been carried out. Patterson allows us to peer inside the heads of some characters, and the diplorable Aye is one of them.  In the beginning he has already hatched a plan to become Pharaoh, he only needs to be patient to carry it out.   But there is much more to the story, and like any good mystery novel, it is not until the very end that we get a satisfying "Miss Marple" type conclusion. 

Meanwhile, back in the early 20th century, Howard Carter is uncovering one tomb or cache after another that is NOT Tutankhamun.  He is running out of money and time to make the discovery of the century and his career.  Almost every chapter heading has a geographical place in Egypt where Carter is digging, and then the next time we see Tut and his court we are in the exact same place, only in ancient times. 

Eventually, as we know, Tut's tomb is discovered, but it is the drama surrounding its excavation  that was my favourite part of the book.  Drowning in the politics of the day, Carter is a rebel with a cause and I completely adored his moxy.  I may have read a National Geographic magazine as a kid about the event, but reading it in dramatic prose was much more satisfying. 

The Murder of King Tut is a fast and fun read.  If you were anything like most people my age, you likely had an interest in King Tut as a child and this book may appeal to you.  It may even renew your curiousity on the subject and have you "googling" Tut and his tomb.  It made me think of King Tut in a whole new way, and also reminded me of a question I have long asked myself but have forgotten.  Why of all the pharaohs of Egypt is Tut such a household word?  Is it because he was the "boy" king?  Is it because of this very mystery that Patterson attempts to solve?  Whatever the answer is, this book is a straightforward read and I actually enjoyed it, once I got into the style in which it was written. 

RATING:  3.5/5

5 Blabs:

bermudaonion said...

I'm fascinated with King Tut, so I'm really looking forward to this one.

Christine said...

I liked this book more then I thought I would. The different stories meshed so well together and yes, I too find King Tut fascinating.

Unknown said...

Soooo cool... LOVE TUT! Anything to do with Tut. I am totally gonna grab this book the next time I'm out! Thanks, as always, for the well written review.

I ♥ you!

Anna said...

I'm glad you liked this one, as it's on my desk waiting to be read. Great review!

Diary of an Eccentric

Natalie W said...

Reading your review made me want to read it even more! Sounds like an awesome book, i'll have to get it.

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