This is a novel set in the reign of Tutankhamun, but also about Howard Carter’s work in Egypt, his partnership with Lord Carnarvon and their discovery of the king’s tomb.The author has taken the known facts and woven a very plausible and believable story around them, after considerable and painstaking research.

I especially liked the account of Tutankhamun’s funeral, but I found the Carter and Carnarvon part of the story to be most enlightening. Formal biographies can be heavy going, but here, Carter and Carnarvon are given believable voices. Carter’s complex and intriguing personality comes across well and Carnarvon is revealed as much more than just the rich sponsor. The account of the events surrounding the life and death of Tutankhamun are as good a fictional interpretation as one might wish to find, as is the story of Carter and Carnarvon.

It is a story of the ancient Egyptian’s fascination and preoccupation with death and the afterlife and of two Englishmen, very much alive and preoccupied by death, too, insofar as it let them into the world of Tutankhamun and his queen. Add just a little twist of the supernatural and a dash of ‘the curse of the mummy’ (but neither overdone) and you have all the ingredients for a really good read, which is exactly what this book is.


This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 38. Click here to subscribe

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