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The Murder of Tutankhamen Hardcover – April 13, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (April 13, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399143831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399143830
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,915,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For decades after the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb, the dazzling treasures found along with the mummy distracted many of us from the actual events of Tutankhamen's life. But take a look at the body itself--cranialX-rays reveal a location on the back of the skull that may indicate a hemorrhage, perhaps one caused by a deliberate blow. The question thus arises: Was King Tut murdered?

Egyptologist Bob Brier specializes in paleopathology, the study of diseases in the ancient world. In essence, he performs high-tech autopsies on 3,000-year-old corpses. (He's also taken part in a re-creation of Egyptian mummification techniques, including the extraction of the brain through the nasal passages.) Here, he examines the X-rays and other photographic evidence, correlating it with the research of other Egyptologists, and concludes that Tutankhamen was the victim of political and religious intrigues that developed into a fatal conspiracy. True crime buffs and historians alike will find much to like in Brier's fast-paced recounting of his investigations.

From School Library Journal

YA-Was Tutankhamen murdered? Brier presents his hypothesis in an engrossing tale that moves along at the pace of a well-crafted whodunit. In lucid prose, he gives the lay person an informative overview of Egyptian history prior to Tutankhamen's reign with special emphasis on his father, Amenhotep IV, who instituted the cult of Aten. As little is known about Tutankhamen's life, Brier reconstructs from wall paintings and hieroglyphic tablets and columns a perfectly plausible and fascinating picture of the boy-pharaoh's friendship with, then marriage to his half-sister Ankhesenamen and their daily life. Before reaching his 20th birthday, Tutankhamen died. His Grand Vizier, Aye, was named pharaoh, Ankhesenamen petitioned her sworn enemies, the Hittites, for a prince to become her consort, and this prince was killed en route to Egypt. A logical case is presented for murder: X rays of Tutankhamen's skull reveal what might be interpreted as a blow to his head; the Grand Vizier who succeeds the childless pharaoh wanted power; Ankhesenamen strangely disappeared after an arranged marriage to his successor. Brier obviously knows his subject and is impassioned by it. Readers who enjoy history or true-crime stories will be intrigued by this work. A detailed bibliography invites further reading.
Helena Ferret, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

It is extremely informative and definitly a must read if your interested in ancient egyptian culture/history.
Jason
In this case, rather than writing on the entire history of the Amarna period, Brier has chosen to write an entire book about the supposed murder of Tutankhamen.
Wadjet
She seems to do a much better job of arguing alternative theories and addressing evidence, without manipulating the emotions of the reader.
M.Johnston

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Janis Cortese on April 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Granted the evidence presented by this book is by no means conclusive, I've got to say that if more history books were written with this much verve, fewer kids would graduate school convinced that "history is boring." Brier loves what he does, and he's very well-read in it, and it shows. You get a real feel for the political intrigue of the time right after the heresies of Amarna, and he presents the information in such a way that you never forget that there are actually human personalities associated with these events. The book does a great job getting across the flavor of life in that time, and certainly it does convince me at least that something fishy was going on at the end of Tut's reign.
However, that said, I didn't find any of the medical/forensic evidence presented even slightly convincing (and the opening chapter with its dramatic film noir reenactment of the "murder" was a bit much). Tutankhamen's death itself at a young age isn't even suspicious given that there is a good chance he inherited Marfan Syndrome from his father, a disability which has an excellent track record of killing young. And given that the skull and body were grossly damaged by the funerary practices of the time, I don't feel that any solid conclusions can be drawn from the state of either. The political evidence that something fishy was happening is a lot more compelling than the physical evidence -- and Brier knows his Egyptian politics.
Brier clearly knows Egypt well, and loves it, and that intellect and enthusiasm shines through every word, making this book a more than worthwhile read as long as you have your critical filters in place. I look forward to more work from Brier. Even if you don't agree with his conclusions, you've got to admit -- if more historians were this engaging and presented history with this much texture and life, history'd be a whole lot more fun in school, wouldn't it?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Collins on October 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
In this work, the author claims that Tutankhamen was murdered, in fact the subtitle of the book is "a true story". Well, emphasis on the "Story". Using a single piece of evidence, allegedly a swelling on the base of the mummy's skull, he spins a tale of palace intrigue and political assasination. This is certainly a good read, and a good introduction for someone to Egyptology, but it's not history. There are some details that the author has left out or altered to make his point: first, he uses the funeral portraiture on Tutankhamen's tomb to hypothesize that Ay was setting himself up as successor. Actually, in many tombs the "opening of the mouth" ceremony has the son of the deceased present. If anything, Ay is showing his dedication to the king, portraying himself as the loyal subject-the arranger of the funeral. By putting his face on the wall, he reminds Tutankhamen who performed the burial. This may well be a way to ensure that "Tut" will remember Ay when he is dead. Secondly the author uses the term "true of voice" in describing on of Tutankhamen's names. Not true, well not true while the king was alive. "True of voice" is used when meeting Anubis, Thoth, and the heart is weighed against Ma'at; it's strictly funereal. Speaking of Ay, there's simply no way to know what his motivations were, if any. He left no record, and no other record has yet been found. Finally, the comments of another reviewer concerning efforts to review the xrays and analysis raise suspicion. Any scientist who refuses to release his data for scrutiny by colleagues must make one skeptical about any conclusions drawn. I think the best analysis that could have been made would have been to take samples from the mummy for forensic exam.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "mrallen" on January 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a convincing and thorough hypothesis that is not fully proven. Yet Brier presents a case stronger than any other yet presented. I would be remiss to say this should be one's only book on Egyptian history (it is far from detailed), but I do not think one could study Egypt without reading The Murder of Tutankhamen.
I am aware of the rumblings inside the Egyptology community on the lack of precision in Brier's evidence. I am not endorsing all of Brier's reasoning, especially his extraneous investigation of the psychology of Aye and the supposed evidence presented in the Opening Of The Mouth ceremony drawing on Tutankhamen's tomb wall. However, I do find Brier's theoretical reasoning plausible and well-argued. I do not think this is a scientific book, rather it is an investigative inquiry. It may not be the truth, but Brier's analysis has more proof than theories that Tut died of plagues or diseases. (Michael R. Allen in SpinTech Magazine, July 1998)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
"The Murder Of Tutankhamen" is a very well-written book that never bores you and keeps you reading. Brier presents not only the facts and evidence about Tut's murder, but also gives an interesting lesson on Egypt's history and he makes clear how the factors that killed Tut came to be. This is a book that is incredibly packed with information, fatcs, and evidence. It feels more like an exotic detective novel. I was totally thrilled! Never has a book based on fact interested me so much. Books like these should be read in schools and studied by all interested in great, epic history. Brier is a fantastic investigator who puts together a puzzle full of betrayal, intrigue, romance, murder and conspiracy. I was also surprised to find out thing I never imagined, like the murder of the Haitit prince. "The Murder Of Tutankhamen" is a lush, informative work that deserves wonderous praise. I highly recommend it.
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More About the Author

Affectionately known as "Mr. Mummy," Dr. Bob Brier is recognized as one of the world's foremost experts on mummies and Egyptology. As Senior Research Fellow at LIU Post in Brookville, New York, he has conducted pioneering research in mummification practices and has investigated some of the world's most famous mummies, including King Tut, Vladimir Lenin, Ramses the Great, Eva Peron (Evita), Marquise Tai (Chinese noblewoman), and the Medici family of Renaissance Italy. Bob Brier's new book "EGYPTOMANIA" is now available.

www.DrBobBrier.com

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