James Patterson and Martin Dugard take us on a journey through the life of King Tut and the Egyptianologist Howard Carter.
Using facts, meaning lots of research, Mr. Patterson comes to the conclusion that King Tut did not die from a broken leg, but was murdered. He takes us through the research that leads him to that conclusion, and who he thinks did the ghastly deed and why.
Reading about the Egyptians is really interesting and Mr. Patterson and Mr. Dugard have done their homework. We learn what they wore, what they ate, who they worshipped, and how they were mummified. We learn some politics, and how the title of Pharoah is declared. I opened the book uneducated in anything Egyptian, and left feeling I knew a little something now.
They take us on the journey and struggles of Howard Carter. Howard started as a sketch artist in the digs when he was quite young, and learned everything else by doing. He spends his life wanting to find a virgin tomb; one that has not been robbed of its mummy or it's riches. But that isn't the case. Almost every tomb he does find has been robbed. When the Valley of Kings is declared to have been emptied by another, Carter denies it. He knows there is still one more Pharoah to be found, King Tut, and he spends years looking for it, to no avail. His wealthy sponsor gives him one more year to find it or forget it. What transpires is sad, yet triumphant.
The Murder of King Tut is written in the same fashion as Mr. Pattersons' previous works, meaning it's a page-turner. I was up late, too late, as I couldn't bear to put it down until the end. His facts, based on research, told in a story form give credence to his shocking conclusion. This is the first work of Mr. Patterson's that I have read where he writes of himself, which I feel gave us a glimpse into his life and work and added an even sharper edge to the truth of the story. James Patterson has another best-seller on his hands. Even if you don't normall read non-fiction, you should read The Murder of King Tut. You will not be disappointed - it is a top-notch thriller of magnicifent proportions!
Maybe it's because I already know the story, but I didn't find this much of a thriller or a murder mystery. I didn't like how he broke the action up or jumped around with the chapters. The characters seemed like stereotypes: the evil villain, the plotting general, the doomed king. I applaud his research, but the few chapters about it seemed like filler.
If you would like to read about the murder of King Tut, I recommend The Murder of Tutankhamen by Bob Brier.
Read this on my flight to Egypt. Understand this is historical fiction, so much is invented for the sake of the story and not all details are accurate. As far as storytelling goes, the segments on King Tut were great, but I thought the sections on Howard Carter dragged a bit. I finished the book during the flight, so it was entertaining, though not to be cited for historical facts.
Lightweight and superficial speculation on the death of King Tut, interwoven with the story of Egyptologist Howard Carter and a totally unnecessary (and self-aggrandizing) contemporary framework. The Carter information is the most interesting. The speculation about political intrigue and murder in ancient Egypt is interesting but not supported by any outside authorities or cited material. Fortunately, it's a quick read.
beja reviewed The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King on
I simply could not put this book down. Such a good lesson in history and told in such an interesting way..I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes history, mysteries, and just plain a good. story.
What a disappointment. I am not normally a fan of murder mysteries, but I gave it a try because of the King Tut story. When Patterson wasn't writing 3 page chapters or talking about himself, he was writing a dull tale of a fascinating story. No great revelations here or mysteries solved. The only redeeming quality is that it is a fast read, a 5th grader could probably read it although I don't recommend they do either.
I'm an ancient historian, so, obviously, I set the bar pretty high, but, at the same time, I do read a fair bit of what I could call "pedestrian history," or that which speaks to a broad audience and engages the public. I spend a fair amount of time criticizing my own beloved profession as little more than elitist academics arguing with each other, and the message of why we do what we do is lost to all but a small minority, so I really like when authors try to engage members of the public inclined to read a 300+ page book. In honesty, however, that's about the limit of this book's value. I much prefer accounts such at Bob Brier's work, such as "Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians," which I've recommended to students and used for my own lectures, as it's exhaustively researched and it doesn't have the theatrical element to it, as here. It makes the past come alive, without the pretention.
I'm not going to harp on the details, but I noticed quite a few glaring errors, particularly in the "fictional" narrative account of the "characters" in the story; having taken multiple courses on Egyptology, there was a fair bit about the material that just "irked" me. I know it's the "historic fiction" aspect of the book, but it should at least be believable. Having the two kids, Tut and his sister, sneaking out of "class" and being caught by the royal vizier who would eventually be charged with killing them both, portraying him as grabbing the young pharaoh, is pretty unforgivably unbelievable: the pharaoh was divine. No commoner, no matter how powerful, would dare such a feat and expect to escape with his life. And the teacher's admonition "practice your hieroglyphics!" LOL. In fact, most rulers were illiterate. The power of written language was held by a very small group of scribes, who were instructed at a special school from a young age. Most rulers, including pharaohs, were illiterate. Why go to all the trouble learning the very cumbersome script(s) when there was an entire cast of servants to do it for you, most in multiple languages (Hebrew and Akkadian were the most common).
It also irked me that the author tries to imply that it was HIS original idea that Tutankhamun was murdered (he also keeps referring to the king as "Tut," which makes me nuts), when, in fact, that idea has been floated around for decades, and investigated by far more capable researchers than this author. In fact, Bob Brier rode that wave for quite some time, before the (questionable) test results seemingly conclusively determined that it was not a calcified blood clot, suggesting blunt force head trauma, which killed him, but sepsis from an infected leg caused by a fracture. In my opinion, the jury's still out. Even if it were the former, to me, it's more plausible that it was an accidental death: even falling from a chariot is more likely to me than murder, although I don't think the matter will ever be conclusively solved. I did also bristle at the suggestion that his wife was in on the "conspiracy" to have him murdered, if that ever even happened; there is NO evidence, and quite a bit to the contrary, to suggest otherwise, to judge from the numerous pieces which depict them in intimate settings. His wife, at least portrayed in contemporary art, was his constant companion. It just seems bad form to accuse someone who isn't around to defend herself. I get that that's what the book was supposed to be about, but that part took a much more accusatory tone than I think was warranted, in suggesting that she was somehow in on this theoretical plot.
As other reviewers have noted, I cringed at how much this author wrote himself into the story, which wasn't a bad one. Aside from the multiple glaring errors, it was engaging, and accessible, albeit rather simplistic, I think geared more for a young audience than an adult one, but the amount of time the author spent talking about himself was excessive and unnecessary. In fact, the way that the chapters are divided up, some of which are no more than a page and a half long, suggests to me that the author is engaging in some shameless "padding," trying to take up space to achieve a full-length book. In fact, the whole reads more like a lengthy popular journal article, ala "Archaeology Magazine" or "Time Magazine," without all the narrative about the author and the peripheral tangents. I think focusing the narrative, including much more rich, detailed material about the daily life of the ancient Egyptians, which is what intrigues people in the first place, and perhaps juxtaposing the account of Howard Carter, an opportunistic treasure hunter desperate to achieve his own immortality (which he accomplished, in the end, I suppose, although he didn't live long to enjoy his renown, or infamy) would have been more effective. I think this book yielded some interesting things, but just a bit more work would have made it so much better.
This is an interesting account as to how King Tut may have met his death at the age of 19, as described by that master story teller, James Patterson. The description of life in ancient Egypt among the ruling class is expertly woven into the tale of murder. In addition to the tale of murder, we learn about the dedication, to the point of obsession of Howard Carter, the famous Egyptologist who found Tut's tomb. A great story....