Thursday, December 24, 2009

Book Review of James Patterson's The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King - A Nonfiction Thriller

If you're fascinated by King Tut and Ancient Egypt, you are sure to enjoy James Patterson's latest, The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King - A Nonfiction Thriller.

The Murder of King Tut
This is my first time to read a work of non-fiction by James Patterson. In The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King, Patterson tells us King Tut's story from three time periods.

Patterson first takes us to Ancient Egypt around 1490s B.C. when Pharoah Amenhotep the Magnificent, King Tut's grandfather, ruled Egypt. He shows us the decadence and style of governance under Pharoah Amenhotep IV and Queen Nefertiti's reign and gives us a glimpse of what King Tutankhamen faced during his reign. Next Patterson focuses on the 1880s onward where he paints a clear picture of the ups and downs of Howard Carter's career in Egyptian archeology, his excavation of the Valley of the Kings and his discovery of King Tut's tomb. Patterson also focuses on the present and shares what he went through as he searched for the truth behind King Tutankhamen's death.

Patterson writes as though he was a fly on the wall, watching the events of Tutankhamen's life unfold. He does not skimp on details and we read about the unsavory details of the lives of the pharoahs, their wives, consorts, and his unscrupulous advisors. I enjoyed the conversations that he extrapolated - Patterson takes you to right to Egypt and you share Tutankhamen's fear and uncertainty as he takes on his role as a young pharoah. I sympathized with the young Pharoah and his half sister and wife, Ankhesenpaaten. Patterson's hypothesis as to Ankhesenpaaten's death does not seem sufficiently substantiated to me. I would love to learn the truth about what happened to her after Tutankhamen passed away and she ruled as Pharoah. Did she really attempt an alliance? Was her burial truly that ignominious? Ankhesenpaaten was one of my favorite characters in the book. My only criticism of The Murder of King Tut is that I don't feel that Patterson's fully substantiated his inferences about Ankhesenpaaten's role in King Tut's demise.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (September 28, 2009), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

Thank you so much, Miriam and Hatchette Books Group for this review opportunity!

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