Monday, January 3, 2011

Tutankhamun - Nick Drake

Tutankhamun, son of Akhenaten, has inherited an empire that seems to be at the height of its power and international glory. But the young King, just eighteen years old, is faced with the political and personal intrigues and conspiracies of the Court, where his godfather Ay, and the General Horemheb are locked in a bitter struggle for ascendancy. Tutankhamun must steer the empire back from the brink of disaster and dissent to which his father Akhenaten's rule led the Two Lands of Egypt, and re-assert the stability and authority of his famous dynasty.Rahotep, chief detective of the Thebes division, has his own worries - his daughters are growing up in a changing world of danger and instability, while out on on the streets of Thebes things are falling apart; poverty and dissent are breaking out into a nightmare of violence, gold and corruption seem all-powerful, and the city's shadowy underworld is itself witnessing mysterious acts of shocking brutality. Yet, when he receives a mysterious invitation to the secret halls of the Royal Palace, he cannot refuse.What he finds there, and the quest on which he embarks, will change his life, and put everything he thought he believed, and everything he loves, at risk.

A while back the Historical Tapestry blog was asked to give some recommendations on books set in Ancient Egypt. One of the titles that came up at the time was Nick Drake's historical mysteries Nefertiti and Tutankhamun. When I was offered a chance to read the second I couldn't let it pass.

The story is a mystery set during Tutankhamun's reign. The main character is Rahotep, a Seeker of Mysteries. The fact that I haven't read the first book didn't really upset me except for the fact that Rahotep was in very good terms with Tutankhamun's wife, Ankhesenamun, and I can only guess that it was due to the action in the first book.

Ankhesenamun and her husband have been have been King and Queen of Egypt but the true ruler is Ay, the regent. Eager to shed that influence Ankhesenamun ask Rahotep for help with her plans and asks him to be her personal guard. Rahotep is already working on a case, a young boy with deformities was found murdered, with his crippled members broken and reset in the right position. Then another body is found, and another, and another, till it is apparent a serial killer is at work.

Rahotep has to combine his investigation about the killer with his role with the Royal Family. Through his eyes we see not only the Royal couple but also the power struggle between the regent Ay and the General Horemheb. As with any story about Tutankhamun this one offers an explanation for his death and the events surrounding the construction and embellishment of his tomb. Is it the real one? Probably not but it worked for me.

Regarding the serial killer, which Rahotep eventually realises, also has a connection with the Royal family, I found his work to be more those of a mad man but it made for an engaging, suspenseful read to watch Rahotep follow the clues and find the culprit. I will definitely pick up Nefertiti when I find it.
Grade: 4/5


  1. I've always been a little afraid of mystery/suspense books set in Ancient Egypt as they tend to be very historically inaccurate (all the slaves, all the money being exchanged, all the references of Pharaohs having Ottoman-style harems turn me off, somehow), but this one sounds interesting... O.o

  2. I read it some time ago and liked it. Haven't read much about Tutankhamun and it was interesting. I hope I find Nefertiti too.

  3. Slayra, I hope you get to read it soon.

    Elysium, looking forward to your opinion on Nefertiti if you find it.


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