Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Murder of King Tut ~ The other James Patterson Review and Giveaway you've been Waiting For!

As an archaeologist I harbour a love and fascination of ancient societies and perhaps none is so revered by the general public than that of ancient Egypt. My primary field of study was that of Prehistory with a focus on North American prehistory but my university experience was diverse as are my interests and the allure of Egypt is enough to turn any archaeologist's head! When I saw the upcoming debut of The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson and Martin Dugard I knew I must review it!

Archaeologists are always cautioned against making wide speculations and assumptions. I remember one of my archaeology professors adding the book "Motel of the Mysteries" to our required reading--a humorous comic style book illustrating the perils of archaeologists' assumptions, deductions, speculations. One may find oneself sporting a toilet seat as a ceremonial necklace!

Despite such warnings it is in the nature and DNA of the archaeologist to take the facts and what they have learned from artifact recovery, and ancient texts in some circumstances, and create a story of excitement and adventure! One has to subjectively fill-in the blanks however! Sometimes this is accepted in archaeological circles but it often leads to much controversy if one's theories are less than guarded. James Patterson and Martin Dugard in writing The Murder of King Tut are lucky! They are not Egyptologist or archaeologists bound by this guardedness professional archaeologists have been burdened with. Professional credibility in Patterson's field is based on the telling of a great story and he has succeeded and will be exulted for it!
In The Murder of King Tut James Patterson has brought Egypt's 18th Dynasty to life for the non-Egyptologist and I dare say the Egyptologist would find it truly entertaining also. In the manner of a great storyteller James Patterson has succeeded in breathing life into the elements of everyday ancient Egyptian life, painting a picture of the ancient Egyptians as people--people ,the modern readers, can empathize with and understand.

The idea of Tut's tragic death as possible murder is not a new one. Bob Brier, Ph.D., Egyptologist, and mummy expert, wrote a book on this very subject in 1998 entitled "The Murder of Tutankhamen: A True Story" which outlined the available scientific, textual, and forensic evidence supporting this theory. In truth there is less to go on than there could be if the latest technology could be used to test Tutankhamen's mummy and internal organs today. The only forensic evidence that exists is anatomist Derry's violent examination of Tut and his publications, and Harrison's X-Rays from the 1960s. It must be noted that X-rays of mummified bodies are also very different from those of other subjects and require not only a medical radiologist's expertise but those of one knowledgeable in the mummification process to read them properly. But other evidence of foul play exists and could be interpreted in disparate ways! A Royal wife's desperate plea, a painting on the north wall of Tut's tomb, or perhaps even the absent representations of certain individuals...all very suspicious!

Having read Dr. Brier's book and his theories and conclusions I was fascinated by Patterson's interpretations which were similar in many regards and dissimilar to some degree in his conclusions. I would truly recommend reading both books to get a full understanding but admittedly James Patteron's and Martin Dugard's book is perhaps more entertaining! Patterson tells the story of the young Pharaoh, Howard Carter the archaeologist who spent his life in search of a virgin tomb undisturbed by grave robbers and the ravages of time, and himself James Patterson in search of a truth. He smoothly juxtaposes the present, past, and ancient past with seamless ease creating a suspense his books are famous for.
Did Patterson find the truth he was seeking? I believe he did whether I agree or disagree with his final conclusions! Want to know what my conclusions are? Oh, I'd love to tell you but it would spoil the ending! What I can say is I was impressed with Patterson and Deguard's extensive research though I found fault with one piece of the historic record--Nefertiti died or disappeared around 1335BC and most probably before her husband Akhenaten. A minor detail I suppose in the grand scheme of things!

If you enjoy a great true life who-dunnit and are as awestruck by the wonders of King Tut or just love a great tale The Murder of King Tut is a must read! Full of passion, and intrigue you will be gripped by this tragic story of a Boy King and his fatal end shrouded in mystery. And five of you Northern Mama Followers will be given the opportunity to decipher the tale for yourselves! Thank you to Miriam at Hachette Book Group for the 5 giveaway copies!

To Enter:
  • Follow Northern Mama {Required}
This giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. The giveaway closes October 4th, 2009, 10:00pm CT. For further details read General Giveaway rules.


  1. Wow, count me in.
    I am a follower
    I am a email subscriber.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  2. I am a follower, and happily so.

    Thank you for the entry.


  3. I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
    I just became a follower of your blog.

  4. i follow

    thanks so much
    wadesherry@hotmail dot com

  5. i follow

  6. I am a huge James Patterson fan, but haven't read this one yet. Thanks for this giveaway.

    I follow your blog.


  7. I am a Follower
    I think my husband would like this one!


  8. follower

    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  9. I follow=)
    I would just love to read this book!
    Thanks for a chance!
    Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

  10. I follow you on google friend connect. This book look interesting.

  11. one of my favorite james patterson books was the jester and it was very different from his normal genre. I would love to read this.

  12. I am a follower
    copperllama at yahoo dot com

  13. I follow your blog

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  14. I follow you and would love to win this wonderful book. The Murder of King Tut fascinates me and I am interested to learn more.

    Please enter me. Thanks

  15. sounds good,,thx for the contest..