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Egyptian Mysteries #1

An Evil Spirit Out of the West

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Known as the Veiled One, the ugly and deformed Akenhaten is a shadowy figure. As a child he is overlooked and despised by his own father. As an adult he is thrust into the political limelight when his elder brother dies. Mahu, ambitious and ruthless, watches the young prince carve his own path to power. He becomes Akenhaten's alter ego, his protector and confidant, standing by as Akenhaten proclaims that there is only one God, the Aten, and that he, Akenhaten, is that God's only son. Revolution and chaos follow in this dramatic reign filled with fraud, abduction, assassination, betrayal and treachery. But when Mahu becomes suspicious of Akenhaten's majestic and glorious wife Nefertiti, and the political skill of her brother, Ay, it seems that a hidden and malign influence may also be at work. And then Akenhaten disappears...

608 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2003

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About the author

Paul Doherty

257 books534 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

He has been published under several pseudonyms: P.C. Doherty, Celia L. Grace, Paul Harding, Ann Dukthas, Vanessa Alexander, Michael Clynes and Anna Apostolou but now writes only under his own name.

Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough (North-Eastern England) in 1946. He had the usual education before studying at Durham for three years for the Catholic priesthood but decided not to proceed. He went to Liverpool University where he gained a First Class Honours Degree in History and won a state scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford, whilst there he met his wife Carla Lynn Corbitt. He continued his studies but decided that the academic world was not for him and became a secondary school teacher.

Paul worked in Ascot, Nottingham and Crawley West Sussex before being appointed as Headmaster to Trinity Catholic School in September 1981. Trinity is a large comprehensive [1700 on roll] which teaches the full ability range, ages 11-18. The school has been described as one of the leading comprehensives in the U.K. In April, 2000 H. M. Inspectorate describe it as an 'Outstanding School', and it was given Beacon status as a Centre of Excellence whilst, in the Chief Inspector’s Report to the Secretary of State for January 2001, Trinity Catholic High School was singled out for praise and received a public accolade.

Paul’s other incarnation is as a novelist. He finished his doctorate on the reign of Edward II of England and, in 1987, began to publish a series of outstanding historical mysteries set in the Middle Age, Classical, Greek, Ancient Egypt and elsewhere. These have been published in the United States by St. Martin’s Press of New York, Edhasa in Spain, and Eichborn, Heyne, Knaur and others in Germany. They have also been published in Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Romania, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Bulgaria, Portugal and China, as well as Argentina and Mexico.

He has been published under several pseudonyms (see the bibliography): C. L. Grace, Paul Harding, Ann Dukthas and Anna Apostolou but now writes only under his own name. He recently launched a very successful series based around the life of Alexander the Great, published by Constable & Robinson in the U.K., and Carroll and Graf in the U.S.A., whilst his novels set in Ancient Egypt have won critical acclaim. Paul has also written several non-fiction titles; A Life of Isabella the She-wolf of France, Wife of Edward II of England, as well as study of the possible murder of Tutankhamun, the boy Pharaoh of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, and a study on the true fate of Alexander the Great.

Paul and Carla live on the borders of London and Essex, not far from Epping Forest and six of their children have been through his own school. His wife Carla currently owns two horses and is training, for showing and dressage, a beautiful Arab filly named Polly.

Paul lectures for a number of organisations, particularly on historical mysteries, many of which later feature in his writings. A born speaker and trained lecturer Paul Doherty can hold and entertain audiences.

His one great ambition is to petition the Privy Council of England to open the Purbeck marble tomb of Edward II in Gloucester Cathedral. Paul believes the tomb does not house the body

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5 stars
173 (44%)
4 stars
131 (33%)
3 stars
57 (14%)
2 stars
15 (3%)
1 star
14 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Clemens Schoonderwoert.
1,053 reviews77 followers
October 19, 2021
Read this book in 2009, and its the 1st of a great trilogy about the mysterious life and adventures of Pharaoh Akenhaten, a Pharaoh with his own different vision about life and death.

Becoming Pharaoh in to the limelight after his older brother dies, he must try to find his way to full power in Egypt.

Watching him closely is, Mahu, who's ambitious and ruthless, but also protector and confidant of Akenhaten, especially when this same Pharaoh claims that there's one God, the Aten, and that he, Akenhaten, is the God's only son.

When Egypt hears of his proclamation, chaos and revolution will erupt, combined with fraud, abduction, assassination, betrayal and treachery.

At the heart of these troubles are Akenhaten's wife, Queen Nefertiti, and her brother, Ay, combined with a hidden and malign influence acting in the background, and due to these troubles Akenhaten suddenly disappears, and what is to happen is for you reader to find out by reading this great book.

Highly recommended, look very much forward to the next instalment, for this is a superb opener of the Akenhaten trilogy, and that's why I like to call this episode: "A Brilliant Akenhaten Start"!
Profile Image for Dawn.
1,241 reviews72 followers
September 23, 2014
I rather enjoyed this book. It tells the story of Akenhaten through the eyes of a subordinate and occasional friend.

This is a curious era in Egyptian history and no matter how many stories I read about it, there always seems to be another way to interpret the people and events that is eminently plausible.
Profile Image for Bettie.
9,988 reviews15 followers
March 6, 2014
Opening: I have swallowed their magic.
I call on their spirits.
My thoughts race like chariot teams ready for war,
Hot for the heat of battle.


Summer 2013 Egyptian Encounters:

Cleopatra (1963)
3* The Mummy Curse
2* Alexandria: The Last Nights of Cleopatra
4* The Complete Valley of the Kings
1* Ancient Egypt by George Rawlinson
4* Tutankhamen: Life and death of a Pharoah
2* The Luxor Museum
3* Tutankhamen's Treasure
3* The Black Pharaoh\
3* Nubian Twilight.../ complimentary reading!
4* River God
4* House of Eternity
The Egyptian (1954)
Agora (2009)
TR Justine
Death on the Nile (1978)
2* Nefer the Silent
5* The Seventh Scroll
5* The White Nile
CR An Evil Spirit out of the West
Nefertiti Resurrected
Queen Pharaoh - Hatshepsut
TR: The Albert N'Yanza, Great Basin of the Nile and Explorations of the Nile Sources

03-07-2013: Egyptian army suspends constitution and removes President Morsi.

Additional reading that flows from the above, much like a great river:

TR Through the Dark Continent

Profile Image for Jenks .
406 reviews9 followers
June 3, 2017
I was devastated to finish the amertoke series...finding this next short series by the same author made my day.

The same excellent writing , mystery , ancient Egypt what more could you ask for ? Cannot wait to read the second book
Profile Image for Christopher Taylor.
Author 10 books71 followers
May 16, 2022
This is a bit grittier and more dismal than Doherty's usual writing. It is the history of an actual man, the "police chief" of Egypt under several pharaohs. This book follows the rise and fall of a mysterious pharaoh Akenhaten, who deposed all the gods of Egypt and shut down their temples, declaring the worship of Aten, one God. Aten was represented by the Sun, and many scholars believe may have been the God of the Israelites, filtered through Egyptian lenses and cultures.

The main character Mahu isn't a very pleasant man. He's heartless and calculating, manipulative and willing to sacrifice anyone to his main end which is the survival and success of Egypt. There are many familiar names from Egypt's most famous history in this book, such as Nefertiti, Tutenkhamen, Thutmose, Ankhsunemun, and more.

The writing is well done, and interesting but at times difficult to read because of how bleak and cruel the Egyptian culture was, especially at the top level. Poisonings, treason, backstabbing, betrayals, adultery, incest and worse are all on display without any softening or shying away.
Profile Image for Gordon.
462 reviews9 followers
July 16, 2009
This book has several things in it that remind me of my childhood. I was always interested in Ancient Egypt and mummification. This book, and I can't really call it a mystery because it is more a revealing memoir of its narrator, does a good job of clarifying the unrest that took place during the brief, chaotic period before, during, and after the reign of Akhenaten, the heretic who brought down the worship of Amen and the ancient gods of Egypt. The central character and narrator is his friend, confidante and protector. A man of mixed awareness and values, the narrator captures the court of the heretic and the growth of Aten the god of the heavens as opposed to Amon, the god of the earth. It is a long book but fun to read and very informative. The author is a very good researcher who writes on ancient Egypt, England of the middle ages, and other interesting times.
Profile Image for Randee.
810 reviews32 followers
November 25, 2019
Paul Doherty is a well known writer of ancient Egypt. I am a not so well known fan of Akhenaten and read everything I can read about him and and ancient Egypt, in general. It would be fair to accuse me of having a crush on the thousands of years old Pharaoh. I would do him in a hot minute if possible even though he was deformed. Everything from Marfan's Syndrome to Frolich's Syndrom to Loeys-Dietz Syndrome to no malady at all has been tossed about as to what he and his family suffered. His deformity is beautiful to me (eye of the beholder, right?) I've done pretty boys and not so pretty boys and I have come to the conclusion that it is what is someone's head that fascinates and attracts me. What I would give to talk to Akhenaton. I know he'd be a rip-snorter and endlessly entertain me because he had a truly original, ahead of his time type mind. Akhenaten is considered to be the first monotheist in history and I could never agree with him that the Aten is the one true God, although he certainly went against popular opinion on this claim, which, in itself, is pretty daring and rebellious. But, he was also the first Egyptian royal to demand truth in art, also going against the popular choice of the times. Therefore we can trust that Nefertiti was beautiful; as well as Akhenaten and his offspring had peculiar, elongated skulls, among other physical deformities. This is a historical drama and it is told from the viewpoint of a boy who became friends with Akhenaten in childhood and became his protector and chief of police as an adult. Doherty brings the 18th dynasty to life and I enjoyed every word. His guess of how things played out is as good as anyone's and more educated than most. This is a must for ancient Egyptian fans. It's the first book in a trilogy and I am starting the second book in a twinkle.
Profile Image for Jo Burl.
158 reviews24 followers
March 6, 2011
I'm having a tough time sticking with this book. Too much of it is just not right.
Why, for instance, would the pharaoh insist that only mutilated people serve his son? There was no explanation that I caught.
Akhenaten was never called The Veiled One. He was given a name and called by that - it was Amenhotep. He later changed it to Akhenaten.

Also, many wrong things that just wouldn't be in that time. No amethyst, rubies, etc at that time. Also, silver was less common than gold, so you wouldn't find it as decoration on sandals.

The writing is slow and annoying, but I keep sticking with it. I don't know why.
Profile Image for Rozonda.
Author 11 books24 followers
December 26, 2009
Like many people, I'm fascinated with Akhenaton and Nefertiti and have read heaps of novels about them. Nearly all of them portray them as illuminated saints or religious fanatics. Doherty, very intelligently, depicts a shadowy portrait of both characters through the eyes of their police chief, Mahu, and lets the reader decide (he even hints at the Jesus/Akehnaton parallelism so often established) A good mystery novel with an original historical point of view.
Profile Image for Josephine (Jo).
606 reviews40 followers
July 30, 2011
Finished 27th February 2009

Very good. I like this particular time in Egyptian history and a lot of the information can be verified from information on the wall of one of the tombs in Egypt and also in a diary written at the time, so with a little padding to make the story more "human", it is a very good read
Profile Image for Lisa.
889 reviews81 followers
December 19, 2016
I got to one page into the second chapter and had to stop. I don't typically abandon books, but in the end, I wanted to finish the book as quickly as possible without actually having to read it. Naturally, that's a red flag when it comes to me finishing the book.

This is a rather over-the-top and, yes, inaccurate, version of Ancient Egypt during the reigns of Amunhotep III and Akhenaten. There's no heart, no entertainment. It's a melting pot of all the typical Amarna tropes and clichés that somehow Paul Doherty manages to make even more clichéd. What's more is there's s no rationale, no motivation for this weirdness. Instead the book just feels like the result of an author wanting to make things "interesting" by making everything "exotic" and overblown. Instead of actually being interesting, An Evil Spirit Out West just feels shallow, dull and gross.
Profile Image for Peter.
781 reviews5 followers
February 13, 2021
The first of the trilogy of which The Year of the Cobra is the last, Manu tells the story of the rise and reign of the Veiled One, Akhenaten, and Nefertiti, through his fellow pupils of the Kap (Royal Nursery) including Horemheb, as Ay and Queen Tiye scheme to their advantage. Akhenaten, the Grotesque, comes across as a real person, as do many of the characters. 1300s BC Egypt is well-realised and Doherty, as always, uses his research effectively. Eventual Chief of Police, Manu, treads a delicate path as the always interesting 500+ pages cover to the death of Akhenaten
Profile Image for Judith Ray.
18 reviews
March 3, 2018
Not half as exciting as the synopsis suggests. It's not so much a mystery novel as it is a fictional memoir, or rather a confession. A dry one at that. The vivid descriptions of places, garments and food do not make up for the lack of character development, including that of the protagonist himself. Still a somewhat entertaining read, if only out of curiosity to see how the author tackles the many unanswered questions about Akhenaten's reign.
Profile Image for 4cats.
865 reviews
May 20, 2021
Madhu is the chief of police and loyal servant to Akhenaten and his Queen Nefertiti and it is through Mahu's narrative that we witness Akhenaten, the Veiled One grow from boyhood to become the most powerful man in Egypt. Paul Doherty brings Egypt and it's historical characters to life in this absorbing novel, the first of 3 in the series, the second deals with his son Tutankhamen.
95 reviews1 follower
January 8, 2019
Andy's review

Downloaded this as I remember getting this novel from my local library years ago, and I'm glad I did - it's got more twists than a slithering snake! Can't wait to read the next one in the trilogy!!
May 23, 2019
Painfull sense :

Strong characterization appeals to me. Carefully thought out meaning to actuall history. I like this,I almost wish I did not,as great ugliness is chronicaled.
216 reviews
August 25, 2021
More of a tome!!!

This is a very long book telling of Mahu the assistant of Pharoah Akenaten.
It is very descriptive and does seem to go on and on!!!
16 reviews
August 14, 2022
A great Retelling

A usual Paul Doherty classic. Fact brilliantly woven with fiction, and history brought to life with the colour that Mr Doherty is so good at.
Profile Image for Samantha Rooney.
303 reviews4 followers
December 31, 2022
An insider's look at the rise and fall of the so called heretic pharoah Akenhaten, and the circumstances of Tutankhamun's rule and the ending of the eighteenth, and most powerful, dynasty of egyptian pharoahs.
Profile Image for Didar Charles.
76 reviews2 followers
August 30, 2011
ı thought i can learn some usefull about Egypt before i started the book. But i don't find so interesting it. it tell a pharaoh's son who want to new pharaoh and his servant who is name Mahu.
65 reviews
February 13, 2017
First in a trilogy. Introducing Mahu. Set in ancient Egypt in the time of Akenhaten and Nefertiti. Lots of drama, danger and intrigue.
Profile Image for Darth.
384 reviews9 followers
April 11, 2017
Really good read - would have been 5 stars for me, but I felt like I had already read this story 3 times, by virtue of having read so many of PC Doherty's other books on the same period.
Still a very interesting time in history, and well worth another read.
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews

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