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

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  1,645 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews
She is called "The Perfect One," the most famous and beautiful woman in the ancient world. She rules with her husband Akhenaten over the most powerful, sophisticated and affluent society the world has ever seen and across an empire that stretches from Africa through the Middle East.

But behind these glorious scenes an epic power struggle is taking place: Nefertiti and Akhen
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Harper (first published 2006)
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Jun 15, 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
Jul 15, 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
Oct 19, 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
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
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
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
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
Aug 04, 2012 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.
Sep 15, 2008 Carla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 25, 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
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
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
Greg Z
Jul 05, 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
I didn't necessarily dislike the book while reading it, but when I'd look back on a section or a chapter, I would realize that it just didn't make sense. Too much philosophical rambling, a plot that wasn't coherent, characters with nonsensical motivations. Details of the mystery that only kind of sort of came together in the end. Lack of an author's note that would have explained the choices he made in dealing with the historical figures and events. Some of the historical atmosphere was pretty g ...more
Jul 15, 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
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.
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.
Apr 16, 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.
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
J. Else
Oct 18, 2014 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
Aug 13, 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
Sep 23, 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
I liked the fact that this novel is set in ancient Egypt, rather than the usual historical fiction cliche of setting novels in Rome or medieval England. The author has clearly done a lot of research and makes the setting really come alive. If you know your Egyptian history, then you will already know who Ahkenaten and Nefertiti are, the upheaval that they caused with their new religious ideas - and you'll instantly work out who the little boy is that makes a cameo appearance as Rahotep begins hi ...more
Sarah Rose
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 07, 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
Nov 16, 2011 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this historical mystery interesting. The world of Ancient Egypt was described in much detail and the author makes it all sound like he really knew this was what it was like. The plot itself was a little weak. I kept thinking there could be more development somehow...but maybe I've read too much George R R Martin and was expecting that kind minutiae. The main character, Rai Rahotep, is the ancient version of a CIS investigator, but for his time he is using some new and different methods t ...more
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
Y. L
Apr 25, 2013 Y. L rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book I'd never pick up if it wasn't a gift from a friend. Knowing my friend's stock of book genres, I had first assumed it to be heavily based on non-fiction history, but found to my delight that it was a fictional mystery book (stuff I used to read in high school, yay!).

Rahotep is the Egyptian equivalent to our modern day detective and was given the task in finding the missing Queen Nefertiti within ten days or else. With no one to trust, Rahotep makes allies and enemies in an attempt to blen
This story, though called Nefertiti, is more about Rahotep, a Seeker of Mysteries. His purpose is to discover what has happened to the Queen, but she doesn't actually make an appearance until well into the book. Naturally "Rahotep" wouldn't sell as many copies, I'm sure. Though the tale is told as a first person narrative from Rahotep's diaries, the story does focus on Amarna, its king and queen and the changes that come about at the end of the time of the Aten.

There were many times when I thoug
May 14, 2012 Tracy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-on-kindle
I really wanted to like this book... Let me start by saying, I love ancient Egypt. It is my passion. I really wanted to like this book. I got it for free, on sale, on my kindle, and even that was too much.

The story starts out great. It pulls you in with the mystery of "what happened to Nefertiti", "what is going to happen to Rahotep"; the imagery of ancient Egypt and the pharaohs. It makes you want to read it.

As I reached the 25% mark, it felt like things were starting to happen(mutilated bodies
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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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“And I am ashamed to write here that I felt more alive than ever, even though my heart was broken glass in my chest.” 11 likes
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