Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King (Hardcover)
The Search for an Egyptian King
Basic Books (AZ), 9780465020201, 316pp.
Publication Date: March 6, 2012
The discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922 was perhaps the world's most important archaeological find. The only near-intact royal tomb to be preserved in the Valley of the Kings, it has supplied an astonishing wealth of artifacts, spurred a global fascination with ancient Egypt, and inspired folklore that continues to evolve today. Despite the tomb's prominence, however, precious little has been revealed about Tutankhamen himself. In Tutankhamen, acclaimed Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley unshrouds the enigmatic king. She explores his life and legacy as never before, and offers a compelling new window onto the world in which he lived.
Tutankhamen ascended to the throne at approximately eight years of age and ruled for only ten years. Although his reign was brief and many of his accomplishments are now lost to us, it is clear that he was an important and influential king ruling in challenging times. His greatest achievement was to reverse a slew of radical and unpopular theological reforms instituted by his father and return Egypt to the traditional pantheon of gods. A meticulous examination of the evidence preserved both within his tomb and outside it allows Tyldesley to investigate Tutankhamen's family history and to explore the origins of the pervasive legends surrounding Tutankhamen's tomb. These legends include Tutankhamen's "curse"--an enduring myth that reaffirms the appeal of ancient magic in our modern world
A remarkably vivid portrait of this fascinating and often misunderstood ruler, Tutankhamen sheds new light on the young king and the astonishing archeological discovery that earned him an eternal place in popular imagination.
About the Author
Praise For Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King…
“[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.”