Christine (booktumbling)'s Reviews > The Murder of King Tut

The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson
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Aug 01, 2009

really liked it
Read in August, 2009

James Patterson begins The Murder of King Tut with a short author’s note emphasizing the tremendous research that went into writing this “nonfiction thriller”. Teaming with fellow author Martin Dugard, travels to London, Tut’s tomb and studying books and information online gave the authors the historical perspective to turn facts into a fast-paced novel that reads like fiction.

The book covers three time periods:

* The present and how the idea monopolized Mr. Patterson’s thoughts and time.
* 1891 – 1939 London/Egypt and how the quest for discovering a virgin tomb, ultimately King Tut’s tomb, monopolized the life of Howard Carter
* 1492 BC to 1319 BC Egypt and how the duty of being pharaoh monopolized the life of a young Tutankhamen

This is a straight-forward story which moves at a very fast pace. Yet, there is just enough detail concerning characters and setting that I had no trouble in picturing the great pyramids or empathizing the boy king’s plight. Explanations are given as to why young Tut married his half sister, why the tomb was so difficult to find and why there seemed to be an attempt to erase history of Tutankhamen. Tut’s ability to lead was just developing when he mysteriously died during the night.

The story of Howard Carter is also well-presented. Though he was not the most gracious of men, his zeal for all things Egypt advanced him from being a sketch artist of other men’s findings to being commissioned to conduct his own excavations. His gained knowledge over the years brought him to the highest honor but his lack of bedside manner plundered him to a street corner artist looking for his next meal. He never lost sight of his goal and through luck and determination was given another chance to discover the great Tut’s tomb. Actual snippets from Mr. Carter and some of his associates notes are included in the book (observations of Mr. Carter leave something to be desired).

The jump from time period to time period could have been confusing but I did not have any problems leaving one set of characters and picking up where I left off with another group from a previous chapter. The book is not very long or extravagantly detailed but I did learn a couple of interesting facts and it did peak my curiosity. And the Mr. Patterson divulges his own theory on what exactly happened to the king. Makes sense to me but I now may want to conduct my own investigation.
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