The Search for an Egyptian King
By Joyce Tyldesley
Basic Books (AZ), Hardcover, 9780465020201, 316pp.
Publication Date: March 2012
List Price: $29.99*
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An expert Egyptologist sheds new light on the life of King Tutankhamen, revealing the startling truth behind his mysterious legacy.
“[An] engaging reconstruction of [King Tutankhamen’s] tomb discovery, family and life. Fluent in her subject, Tyldesley gives her own spin to the story in order to get beyond the sensational nonsense…. Tyldesley does an admirable detective job of reconstructing the boy king’s narrative.”
“An authoritative, well-documented addition to a much-trodden field of inquiry.” Sunday Times (London)
“[An] authoritative book…. If Tyldesley finds the curse stories empty nourishment, the core of her book reveals Egyptian history to be full of more satisfying riches. Sifting through the findings from Tutankhamen’s tomb, and the arguments of Egyptologists since, she aims to resurrect the man behind the mask. She succeeds: Tutankhamen emerges as a credible figure, a ruler presiding over a turning point in history, when his father Akhenaten’s heresies were abandoned and the polytheistic traditions revived…. That has always been Tutankhamen’s power: …to charm all who encounter him. As Tyldesley confesses, he kindled her schoolgirl fixation with ancient Egypt. She calls this ‘my own personal version of Tutankhamen’s curse’, but if it inspires books like this, the rest of us may consider it a kind of blessing.” Booklist“[An] absorbing overview of the sensational discovery of Tutankhamen in 1922…. Writing with signal clarity, Tyldesley taps into the ever-popular fascination with ancient Egypt.” The Guardian (London)
“Solidly researched and accessibly written. The range of topics covered is impressive.” Nature“Tyldesley’s account of [Howard] Carter’s momentous find and the clearance of the tomb is brought to life with contemporary quotes and colourful details…. [Tyldesley is] a gifted storyteller…. Her writing is crystal-clear and charmingly irreverent…. She puts what little we know about Tutankhamun into context, giving a fascinating discussion of the discovery’s social history.” Library Journal
“In this well-researched study for the general reader, Tyldesley acknowledges the fragile nature of her biographical reconstructions, presenting conflicting theories and drawing careful conclusions. Highly recommended for all Egyptophiles.” The Star-Ledger
“Tyldesley successfully evokes the intense excitement engendered by the discovery [of Tutankhamen’s tomb], not only within the archaeological community but among the general public as well. Her descriptive powers allow the reader to be present as the tomb’s subterranean entry is unearthed from rubble heaped by ancient and modern floods, its various chambers filled with grave goods entered and assessed, and King Tutankhamen’s triple-layered coffin opened to reveal his mummified remains.”
“Egyptology is in good hands, and so is the reader…. The prolific writer Joyce Tyldesley…has turned her storytelling abilities to [Tutankhamen], and the result is entertaining and highly readable…. Written with humour and enthusiasm.” New York Times Book Review“In Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King, Tyldesley has written a crisp, well-researched account of emerging insights into both the life and times of the young king and the modern response, nonsense and all, to his resurrection, as it were, in the modern world.” The New Republic “[Tyldesley] pays out her gripping story in meticulous but always fascinating detail, clarifies and analyzes the conflicting interpretations of the evidence, and altogether avoids the sort of simplification which she deplores in television ‘documentaries.’ Her entertaining and demystifying discussion of the supposed ‘curse’ on those who disturbed Tutankhamen’s tomb occupies only a single chapter…. No one who reads this absorbing book will be likely to disagree, for it makes clear what her subtitle implies, that we have by no means come to the end of our discoveries of the life and times of this shadowy celebrity, whose least interesting aspect is that old Gothic fantasy of the mummy’s curse.”