Book Review - The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson

The world’s best selling thriller writer is back and this time he has opened the ‘ultimate cold case’ – the unsolved death of Tutankhamen. This time writing alongside Martin Dugard, James Patterson is taking his inimitable style of page turning suspense to the mystery that has stumped Egyptologists the world over.

Tutankhamen was thrust onto the throne at a very early age, much to the dismay of many powerful Egyptians at the time, and his reign was a massive controversy from the very beginning. But that controversy became an even bigger one when he suddenly, and inexplicably, died after just nine years at the throne.

The Murder of King Tut is an intriguing and fascinating look at the life and death of the notorious king. The authors flit quickly between modern day America, ancient Egypt and the life of Howard Carter to bring us a completely engrossing true life story. Patterson and Dugard have done their homework and both quite clearly have a real passion for the subject matter which is reflected in their story telling.

The book is told through three different stories, which all overlap and intertwine to build up the life story of the young king and to tell the events that may have lead to his death. Firstly, we hear from Patterson in his Florida home. He tells us why he picked up this story and what it means to him. Occasionally throughout the story, we go back to Florida to hear his progress and his ‘Eureka’ moments. For me, these parts didn’t really bring anything to the story and I found them a little cringe worthy in their style. That said, it didn’t happen often enough or for long enough to impede my enjoyment of the book.

Next we are transported back to Ancient Egypt, where the first tombs are being built in what is now known as the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. From here we read about the predecessors to King Tut and the mark they left on Egypt historical landscape. We follow the birth of the boy king and his life before and after he takes the throne. I particularly enjoyed the authors’ portrayal of Tut’s relationships with both his mother and his sister, which were loving and just in a time when women were an accessory rather than an equal.

Finally we are taken on the roller-coaster journey that is the life of Howard Carter, the man who discovered the untouched tomb of Tutankhamen. Patterson and Dugard get the balance right on the nose with Carter. From all accounts, he was a brilliant but very arrogant man from humble beginnings, who lived and breathed Egypt. The authors do an excellent job of portraying him as dislikeable character that you are, somehow, still routing for.

Patterson is famed for his Alex Cross and Lindsey Boxer series’, however every once in a while he goes off the beaten track with a completely independent story. Sometimes he is successful; other times you, as the reader, feel he should stick to what he knows. In The Murder of King Tut, he has thrown a complete curve ball, but it has proven to be one of his successes. This is Patterson at his best in my opinion – he has taken a true story that is fascinating in itself and made it into an even more fascinating tale of betrayal, power and love.



3 comments:

Stacy said...

I love to see the different covers that you have in the UK! It is so cool to see how completely different yours are from the ones we have here in the US. Keep showing the covers on your site if you don't mind - I really do like to see them. Thanks for such a great review on his King Tut book. I wondered if I should read it but just was not quite sure if I wanted to take the plunge...I've now added it to my Friday list for the library!

Rachel said...

Oh ho ho! I am obsessed with King Tut, like all homeschool moms. hahahaha. Totally reading this. Great review!

Loupnw said...

Great review, I will have to read it myself.

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