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Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows Hardcover – June 29, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the start of Drake's superlative middle book in his ancient Egypt trilogy (after Nefertiti), Rahotep, the chief detective in the Thebes police force, visits a horrific crime scene. Someone has mutilated a young man and removed his eyes—and possibly pacified him with narcotics during the assault. When the killer strikes again, Rahotep wonders if the murders may be connected with efforts to destabilize the regime of the young Tutankhamun. The ruler's foes include Ay, the regent who effectively runs the country, and Horemheb, commander of the country's armies. Rahotep must tread carefully to identify the parties behind both the killings and the threats to Tutankhamun without jeopardizing his life and the lives of his family members. Drake seamlessly introduces a serial killer plot line into his vivid evocation of the past. Admirers of such great historical novelists as Robert Graves and Mary Renault will hope that he continues working in the field after concluding this series. (July)
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From Booklist

This fine historical mystery follows up Nefertiti (2007), which introduced the ancient Egyptian detective Rahotep. Tutankhamun, the young pharoah, has achieved adulthood and is poised to assume control of the vast empire of Egypt. But a series of savage murders, not to mention ominously veiled threats, points to a plot aimed at ending the new pharoah's reign rather sooner than he intended. It's up to Rahotep to defuse the plot before it destroys the pharoah and the empire. There are other mystery series set in ancient Egypt—those by Lynda Robinson, Lauren Haney, and P. C. Doherty, for starters—but there's always room for one more, at least if it's as colorfully written as this one is. This is the second volume of a projected trilogy, but readers may find themselves hoping Drake will keep turning out Rahotep novels long after he finishes number three. --David Pitt

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (June 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060765925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060765927
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,148,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Drake's Nefertiti, the first book in the Rahotep detective trilogy, was short-listed by the Crime Writers Association for Best Historical Crime novel. He is also an award-winning poet and screenwriter, and a literary associate at the National Theatre in London.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
With this engrossing Egyptian trilogy (following NEFERTITI), Nick Drake's writing style easily can be called "faction," enthralling fiction woven around astounding history. Protagonist Rai Rahotep becomes a detective, a protector --- whatever King Tutankhamun, older son of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, wants him to be.

Tutankhamun became king at age nine and died about a decade later, setting the scene of this fact-based novel for his formal ascension to the throne. The boy king, who never suffered the "moral arrogance of youth," was occupied with warring factions and trying to unite the Two Lands, Upper and Lower Egypt. A hauntingly defaced stone carving has complex implications for the teen king, "for this has the intention of creating fear where it does the most damage. In the mind of the King, and those close to him." With the ultimate insult, "the King's royal names had been completely erased." Voodoo-like figurines appear in the royal palace contemporaneously with seemingly unrelated gruesome murders of young people in the seedy side of Thebes.

Readers are reminded that "Names are powers. They bring forth into reality that which they declare." Tutankhamun is a combination of names, meaning the "Living Image of Amun," Amun being a god who created the universe, exquisitely explained in this richly written historical thriller. Aten is the sun disk, the god worshiped by Tutankhamun's father, Akhenaten, and his half-sister and wife, Queen Ankhesenamun, daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Convoluted marriages and stillborn offspring suggest incestual genetic disorders 33 centuries ago.

For [...] readers, Nick Drake expounds on the "wonderfully complex" combination and meanings of Egyptian names. "Living (Ankh --- literally, "life") Image (Tut) of Amun.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
While a good mystery is always enjoyable, when that mystery is mixed with history it's even better. Such is surely the case with TUTANKAMUN. Intrigue, rich atmospheric detail, and more twists than are found in the narrow streets of ancient Egypt are seamlessly woven by Nick Drake (Nefertiti) to produce a can't-put-down tale.

Our narrator is Rahotep, a detective in ancient Egypt's police force. Happily married he is the father of four, three daughters on the cusp of womanhood and a young son. Yet despite the many blessings life has given him he still cannot resist intrigue, a mystery to be solved. In fact, he is known as a "Seeker of Mysteries." He need not look far in our story. Rahotep is first called upon to investigate a truly sadistic murder - a young man's bones have been broken and his eyes removed. It is a particularly gruesome crime.

At the same time Tutankhamun, the young king, is the recipient of frightening gifts which more than disconcert him. Ankesenamun, daughter of Nefertiti now not only Tutankhamun's queen but his half sister, calls upon Rahotep to find out who is responsible for these terrifying gifts and also protect the king and queen. Not an easy task as there are enemies within and without. The actual power in the palace is an evil man, the elderly Regent Ay. His enemy is Horemheb - obviously, the political climate is highly charged .

When another equally ghastly murder is committed Rahotep begins to believe that somehow the killer and the implicit messages in the king's gifts are related. Tutankhamun and his wife want to claim the power that is rightfully theirs but unknown forces are aligned against them, using fear as a major weapon.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Victor on January 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Nick Drake 2nd book about Medjay (ancient Egyptian Police) Rahotep during King Tut's short reign is an interesting whodunit with historical vista of dramatic events of young Pharaoh death. The story is quite engaging although the criminal plot ending is a bit anticlimactic. The more interesting part of the book is dealing with historical situation following the failure of the Pharaoh Akhenaten one-God religion and unsustainable power struggle between young King Tut, his regent Ay and General of the Army Horemheb. The book describes also the most plausible cause of death of young Pharaoh which has been somewhat confirmed by recent archeological digs and CT scans done in Cairo museum. The mystery is highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As the Thebes Medjay Chief Detective, Rahotep has seen his fill of gruesome crime scenes. However, in Year 10 of the Reign of King Tutankhamun, a ritual homicide may be the worst yet. A young male was mutilated with his eyes removed.

A second killing identical to the first concerns Rahotep, who fears someone is using murder to pressure the nineteen years old Pharaoh Tutankhamun and the two men who run the Kingdom in his name, Ay the regent and Horemheb the army commander. Rahotep knows the culprit is clever and probably has high level backing if his premise of testing the leaders is valid. He conducts his investigation discreetly to keep his beloved wife Tanefert and their three daughters and baby son safe while also performing his duty.

This is a superb Ancient Egypt serial killer investigation that brings to life Thebes in the 14the century BC. The inquiry is terrific as Rahotep tries to balance his duties with his fears for his family from vicious insidious killers. Fast-paced, readers will appreciate this strong whodunit wrapped inside a great historical (see Nefertiti for Rahotep's previous case).

Harriet Klausner
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