Recently, a friend of mine paid $35 dollars for a ticket to see the King Tut exhibition in Ottawa, Canada â€“ that\’s double the cost of a movie. The mysteries of Egypt â€“ and Tutankhamen â€“ are ever-popular and people are still willing to pay to see them. And didn\’t everyone do a project on Tut in grade school? Without a doubt, it continues to be fascinating: Â tangible, solid proof of the specific existence of someone who lived 3000 years ago.
James Patterson was so intrigued by the legend and treasure of Tutankhamen that he decided to write a book about it. Being a best selling thriller/murder mystery novelist, he follows the genre he knows best.
The Murder of King Tut has three separate elements: a narrative account of the historical events of King Tut\’s time in the 1300\’s (BC), the story of Howard Carter\’s discovery of the young king\’s tomb in 1923, and James Patterson\’s own investigation into the murder of King Tut.
It is with Patterson style that he interprets the history of Amenhotep, Nefertiti and then Tut in the court of the Valley of the Pharaohs. The lives of the pharaohs are fraught with intrigue, treachery, and infidelity. The royals live as gods and goddesses, deciding who lives and who dies. Those who serve the rulers of Egypt are at their mercy. Servants can be, and are, killed off on a whim. And even though the pharaoh is supposed to be immortal, he is surrounded by people who want to kill him. Trust is not an option. This storyline gives us a believable account of what happened to King Tut, opening the door to real possibilities about the mystery that continues to surround his existence.
Tut\’s existence was in question for years â€“ even the best Egyptologists barely knew of him.Â Howard Carter believed there was a tomb to be found â€“ whose tomb, he wouldn\’t know until he found it. Thus begins Carter\’s real life Indiana Jones quest for treasure. His passion for Egypt drives him to spend nearly 22 years â€“ most of his adult life â€“ in search of a pharaoh\’s tomb. Patterson tells Carter\’s mostly painful story from the beginning, when Carter first fell in love with Egypt up until his death. The most interesting aspect of Carter\’s life, of course, is when he actually (finally) finds Â Tutankhamen\’s cache of “wonderful things.”
While we flash between 1300 BC and Carter\’s hunt, a chapter crops up here and there to update us on the progress made by Patterson in his investigation. He is pouring through documents, archives, and all other available evidence to build a case.Â His examination of King Tut\’s murder contends that a conspiracy led to the untimely death of this now famous Egyptian pharaoh.
Whether Patterson\’s work fully substantiates the verdict of murder remains to be seen but it certainly makes for interesting reading. Â If you are intrigued by the story of King Tutankhamen, you will enjoy James Patterson\’s The Murder of King Tut, co-authored by Martin Dugard.
Available now: Random House RRP$22.99