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Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead (Rai Rahotep #1)

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  1,562 Ratings  ·  196 Reviews
Nefertiti - the most powerful, charismatic and beautiful Queen of the ancient world.

With her husband, Akhenaten, she rules over an Empire at the peak of its glory and domination. Together, they have built a magnificent new city in the desert on the banks of the Nile. They are about to host kings, dignitaries and leaders from around the Empire for a vast festival to celebra
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Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 9th 2007 by Black Swan (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jessica
Jun 21, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story had the potential to be engaging, but it never made it there. First of all, it moved way too slow. I had trouble getting through the many short chapters, stumbling through the names, the references, the gods and the cities. Secondly, I have a problem with stories who present a main character who is perpetually in the dark and led astray, as was the case with Rahotep. But beyond that, after 348 pages, I never even felt a connection to any of the characters.

Rahotep should have been the
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Jennie
Aug 05, 2010 Jennie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Really, my rating depends on what you are expecting from this book. If you are reading it as a historical novel, I think it merits a 4--I really liked the writing, and the descriptions of the setting, and I'm totally biased in favor of this topic because I enjoyed the Amarna exhibit at the UPenn Museum (Amarna is another name for Aketaten). But as a mystery, it's really closer to a 2 or a 3. Mysteries often struggle to find a balance between being too easy to figure out, because that's not excit ...more
Vickie
Nov 24, 2013 Vickie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love historical mysteries. I think this was my first time 'walking' with an investigator in ancient Egypt. It took me a bit to get into the character and storyline, but once I did, the story flowed quite wonderfully.
More than a mystery, it showed power hungry people and the ones who got stepped on in the process.
Nefertiti, beloved Queen, has disappeared. Akhenaten wants her found and threatens death to Rahotep, the detective placed in charge of the investigation.
Nicely paced with plenty of
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Graham
Nefertiti is a novel that begins like your typical historical detective story but about halfway through turns into something else entirely. The first half of the story sees Rahotep investigating the queen’s disappearance and uncovering conspiracies and a growing number of corpses along the way. All far so good, and there’s a frisson of tension to help the proceedings along. Drake has clearly done his research and the evocation of late-era Egypt is a good one, as the reader can almost feel the sa ...more
Mary
Oct 07, 2012 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um - wavering between the standard shelf and Never Finished because I could not manage to read this in its entirety. The reason: it's far too gruesome for me. But, having skimmed this, I can say the following:

1.Mr. Drake writes well - very well indeed, on a sentence by sentence level. That's why he started off with 4 or 5 stars.That said-

2. I actually could not read some of this because of the graphic violence. Some readers don't mind that sort of thing, but it really turns me off. And-

3. Though
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Robin
I could not get into this, I think because I felt no real connection with the characters and despite the lengthy descriptions at times, I did not feel the ancient Egyptian setting was really evoked. For example, you'd think a novel set in ancient Egypt would use the title "Pharaoh" quite frequently but it is only used once in the entire book. "King" is the usual title used instead.

I also felt the writing style was trying hard to be heavily philosophical and it got to be too much. I wound up just
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Jodi
Feb 16, 2012 Jodi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The writing was good, the plot shaky. Rahotep, a chief detective from Thebes is sent to Akhetanen’s new capital to solve the “great mystery”. We discover the mystery is the disappearance of Nefertiti. Several murder attempts are made on Rahotep’s life even before he gets to the capital and I still couldn’t figure out at the end of the book why he was selected, by Nefertiti it turns out, to ‘find’ her. Way too many holes in this story for it to be engaging for this reader.
Yvonne Buhler
Mar 13, 2014 Yvonne Buhler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the historical details in the story. I love when a book teaches me something while telling me a story.
Greg Z
Aug 03, 2015 Greg Z rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I "juggle-read" the first half of this book while reading Updike's stunningly written "Rabbit, Run." Nick Drake's writing seemed simply trite, bordering on boring, until I wrapped up "Rabbit." And suddenly, "Nefertiti" jumped to life and turned into a fascinating story/murder-mystery. If I'd stopped reading this one half through, I'd never have gone on to the next two in the series, and both are already at home on my real "to-read" shelf. Nick Drake is, after all, a good writer, but no where in ...more
Jim Leffert
Dec 21, 2012 Jim Leffert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In ancient Egypt, Rahotep, a professional “Seeker of Mysteries” (that era’s technical term for detective—did they also use the slang term “Gumsandal”?), receives a summons from the Pharoah Akhenaten to come to the rapidly rising royal city of Akhetaten. His assignment: to find Queen Nefertiti, beloved of the populace, who has mysteriously disappeared. Rahotep’s mission must succeed; otherwise, not only will he be put to death but his family will be executed as well.

Rahotep finds Akhetaten to be
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Athena
Jul 30, 2011 Athena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
The title remains the most mysterious aspect of this book. If the topic was not about Nefertiti this would have been a better story, but because there are facts about Nefertiti historiclly that didn't mesh with the events in the book I was disappointed. Nefertiti disappeared during the fourteenth year of her husband Akhenaten's (formerly Amenhotep IV) seventeen year reign never to be found again. To me this is an important fact that should have been incorporated into the story. A few years into ...more
Carla
Jun 27, 2009 Carla rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-own, 2009
I was so disappointed with this book. It never convinced me the story was set on Ancient Egypt. In first place, the style of writing, as a journal, seemed more like a noir movie, where not even the femme fatale was missing. In second place, words like "villa" and "forensic" seemed anachronisms as the idea one has of a "villa" was born it the Roman era, meaning, almost a millennium after the time in which the action of this book supposedly takes place, and the word "forensic" shows the same probl ...more
Deb
Dec 23, 2010 Deb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-books-read
I chose this book because two colleagues recommended it. I also love historical fiction set in ancient times so I looked forward to reading it. As my 2 stars indicate, it was okay. I wanted to like it more. It's a detective story set in ancient Egypt. Nefertiti is married to Akanaten who has dared to start a new religion, with himself as the center of it. Rahotep, a detective from Thebes, has been hired by Akanaten to find his missing wife. Several gruesome murders occur before Rahotep finds the ...more
Kevin
Aug 06, 2010 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting historical mystery. I had to read it in small doses due to my schedule, and that might have affected my reading, but the language seemed a little verbose and the mindset seemed very modern to me - liek the author was trying a little bit too hard to be both artsy and philosophical. This bogged down the story at times from my perspective.

But the setting makes for a fascinating backdrop and the characters are strong. If you are fascinated by ancient Egypt or enjoy historical fiction che
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Barb
May 03, 2015 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
wonderfully written book; the writer kept me interested not only with the subject yet also the content and flow of the story.
Joy
Mar 10, 2012 Joy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In the 12th year of Akhenaten's reign Nefertiti disappeared. There are no more records of her and no explanation. Nick Drake's goal was to build a story around this mystery, but his resolution doesn't match what we know of history. He also makes us dig his story out of piles of description. This poet lost the balance between words and events.

I paused in NEFERTITI to read a couple of more enjoyable books. I won't be continuing with the series.
Kelly
Sep 30, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the only book where I can understand why Goodreaders want 1/2 star ratings. I would've given it 3 1/2. I think many of the reader criticisms are unwarranted but I do agree there are some pointed out flaws, namely the language that creates a more modern story than intended by a "historical novel." The word choices did limit the feeling of being transported to early civilization in ancient Egypt. But on the flip side, it lent to a more digestible novel, an entertaining, easy read with a fa ...more
Michele
Aug 24, 2016 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead is the first "Rai Rahotep" book, which refers to a series of mysteries set in the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. For those who know their Egyptian history, this lands our detective during the rule of Akhenaten, often considered the heretic for introducing (read: forcing) a monotheistic faith centered on Aten, a sun deity to a civilization that had always followed a polytheistic worship of many gods.

In this first book, Rahotep has been specifically requested by Ak
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Jeanne
Aug 30, 2014 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a weird, rambling book. The main premise is a young detective brought in to investigate the disappearance of the queen. The twist is that its set in ancient Egypt and the queen is Nefertiti. There were one or two times where our hero does use some "new methods" to find clues or solve ancillary murders and if the author had stuck to that it might have been more interesting. But somewhere in the middle of the book it drifted away from a crime story and began to explore palace politics and ...more
Bruno Di Giandomenico
It could have been a nicer book if some of anachronisms hard been taken out of the book. Rahotep, an investigatori for the Thebes Egiptian police is called to the presence of the pharaoh, Akhenaten, the one Who institued the cult of Aten, the Sun god. Nefertiti, his wife, has disappeared, just a few days before an all critical festival where he shall tra to reassert his power in front of allies and enemies, both internal and external to Egypt.
The book is full of historical real figures, Ay, Hore
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Liz
This book was okay... Usually I don't have a problem concentrating on what I'm reading, but I found myself constantly rereading because my mind had wandered and I was thinking about errands I had to run, or some other mundane thing. The writing style wasn't very absorbing, and some of the words sort of jarred me out of the experience of reading because they didn't seem to fit the period (or didn't seem like actual words)..."logjam", "punch", "disorientate"... Also, there were certain remarks mad ...more
Tori
While I found it an enjoyable read, it was with many a bump in the road that I got through Nefertiti. For one, the mystery had plot holes that I'm still puzzling over (view spoiler) ...more
Jamie Barrows
I generally enjoy historical fiction. Particularly mysteries set in a historical setting. But this book just didn't work for me. Drake did a wonderful job painting the layout and city structure of ancient Egypt, but fell flat on his characters. The characters didn't feel different culturally from people today despite living in what to us is an alien world. And often their motivations and actions didn't mesh at all with the society they were supposed to be living in.
In a good historical fiction
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Missy
Nov 22, 2008 Missy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and well written fictional story of Drake's version of what might have gone down when the pharoah at the time changed the official religion, his wife Nefertiti became immensely popular and rose to power and the struggles and danger that came along with it.
Qalie
Feb 13, 2016 Qalie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure how I feel about this. I just finished it, so I haven't really given it time to sink in. Despite that, I can't say I'm overly impressed. While there's nothing wrong with the writing, and I found it relatively error free it seemed like metaphor was used to the detriment of the story. I know part of that is the culture it was based on, but sometimes it almost got lost in itself, and honestly lost my interest at times despite loving the visual details. Not my favorite book in the world, bu ...more
Crysania Smith
This book is pretty much CSI Ancient Egypt which may be fine if you like CSI (which I don't). For me it was just too jarring to have a historical setting with a modern narrative. Historical discrepancies kept nagging at me too. I gave it two stars because I've read some truly horrible drivel that should never have been published, that is downright painful to read and an assault on the English language, and I reserve one star for that. There was really nothing enjoyable about this book for me per ...more
Jim
Oct 11, 2015 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will those who like crime novels and detective stories like this? I don’t know as it is not a genre I read much?

Nefertiti: The Book Of The Dead, is a mystery set in ancient Egypt, to be solved by a detective with a new modus operandi.

Detective Rahotep of the Medjay, from the from the city of Thebes is drafted, somewhat unwillingly, to Pharaoh Akhenaten’s service in the new city of Akhetaten. He has been summoned to solve a mystery, that the court officials of the king have failed to find an answ
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J. Else
Apr 26, 2016 J. Else rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-egypt
The author has a beautifully descriptive style to his writing. I really liked his metaphors and observations. I think the setting came to life well. However, the characters were lacking depth. They were not consistent in their reactions or have enough depth presented that they were relatable. It didn't seem like the author was a big fan of this period of time. The characters were overall very unlikeable. I was disappointed the way almost all the historical figures were painted with so many dark ...more
Nicolas Shump
May 29, 2012 Nicolas Shump rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually saw the third and final installment, Egypt: Land of Chaos at my local library. Not wanting to start at the end, I checked out Nefertiti first and will look for Tutankhamun when I return Nefertiti. I thought this book started slowly. However, this may just be because of my expectations from reading authors like James Patterson or Dan Brown. Drake's not the type of writer who is going to go at breakneck speed with his narrative, at least not in this book. Still, he does create a credibl ...more
Lisa
The last reference to Nefertiti comes from Year 12 of Akhenaten's reign, and what became her has been one of the biggest areas of speculation in Egyptology – perhaps second only to the murder of Tutankhamun (now debunked, unless you like grasping at straws). At any rate, Drake uses Nefertiti's disappearance to write an exciting crime caper that you can't really take it seriously. But it is a lot of fun.

Drake's take on Nefertiti is particularly delightful, but his take on other historical figure
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Nick Drake was born in 1961. He lives and works in London. His first book-length collection, The Man in the White Suit (Bloodaxe Books, 1999), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 1999, and was selected for the Next Generation Poets promotion in 2004. From The Word Go was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2007. His most recent projects include a ...more
More about Nick Drake...

Other Books in the Series

Rai Rahotep (3 books)
  • Tutankhamun (Rai Rahotep, #2)
  • Egypt: the Book of Chaos (Rai Rahotep, #3)

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