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The Eye of Horus: A Novel of Suspense Hardcover – August 8, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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The Amazon Book Review
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Valley of the Nile has long nourished more than cotton and date palms: its soil has proved fertile for a growing number of authors who cast back through time to explore the delicately nuanced society of the ancient Egyptians. The region also seems a natural crossroads for the archaeological endeavor and the detective impulse: witness Elizabeth Peters's widely read Amelia Peabody series (The Ape Who Guards the Balance, The Deeds of the Disturber, etc.). Peters's spirited Victorian archeologist-sleuth has new competition in Carol Thurston's Kate McKinnon, an extraordinarily talented medical illustrator who loses her heart to Tashat, a 3,300-year-old mummy whose face Kate is painstakingly recreating for a Denver museum: "Tashat's body had been tightly swathed in linen, the outer layers stiffened with gesso and varnished to seal out moisture, then covered with a series of colorful scenes framed by gold bands that Kate thought might represent the landmarks in Tashat's short life, if only she could figure out how to read them."

The growing mystery surrounding the mummy (Why was she tortured before she died? Why is a man's head between her legs? What do the drawings that cover her casket mean? What of her striking resemblance to Nefertiti?) compel Kate to join detective forces with Max Cavanaugh, a radiologist and budding Egyptologist. Thurston's ambitious narrative partners the pair's research, intuition, and wild guesses with a slowly unfolding tale of love, deceit, and political upheaval, courtesy of interspersed sequences from the journal of Senekhtenre, an unorthodox physician from 1350 B.C. His stories of Nefertiti, Akhenaten, Tutankhamen, and Aset--a fascinating and equally outrageous young girl--will reveal the tantalizing keys to the mysteries Kate and Max are intent on solving.

The Eye of Horus contains perhaps more information than is really good for it: Thurston's careful, even obsessive, research in Egyptology and forensic archaeology is evident, but the material occasionally proves too heavy a burden for the plot to carry. Her sense of pacing is often phlegmatic, when her story cries out for a light and rapid touch. But even in its boggy patches, the novel is sure to captivate those with a taste for the ancient, the modern, the mysterious, and the eerily profound. --Kelly Flynn

From Kirkus Reviews

A complicated mystery thriller that weaves alternative history set in ancient Egypt with forensic archeology from the present. Medical illustrator Kate McKinnon and radiologist Max Cavanaugh join their artistic and medical talents when confronted by a mysterious mummy from 1350 B.C.E., a period of social and economic chaos following the reign of heretic Akhenaten. The intersecting narrative from the journal of ancient physician Tenre maintains suspense by keeping you a step ahead of Kate and Max's investigation of the fascinating mummy called Tashat. Her fractured bones, the male head between her legs, and the extensive and realistic drawings covering her coffin suggest an old story of sexual politics and royal murders. But can Kate uncover Tashet's identity and her link to the mysterious Nefertiti before she falls victim herself to the institutional politics of contemporary archeology-especially when their director, Dave Broverman, protects his chair almost as ruthlessly as successive pharaohs defended their thrones? Brave women artists here humanize daring male physicians, ancient and modern, in parallel tales of personal and professional intrigue, loss and recovery. Thurston pulls her tales together with a clever device that closes the forensic search and the ancient story simultaneously-Kate and Max read the ending to an audience of their own-though Max's unifying artifact and Kate's budding "genetic memory" both flirt with the fantastic and hint at a sequel.However far ahead you keep on the What, the teasing emphases on How and Why will drive them to the conclusion of the religious, medical, and social alternative histories that newcomer Thurston so stirringly mixes. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (August 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038097696X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380976966
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,463,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This story is an excellent introduction into the realm of ancient Egyptian historical novels by author Carol Thurston. Spanning thirty-three centuries, she captures the lives of one ancient and one modern couple... now linked together in mystery, suspense, respect and love. The contemporary pair of medical illustrator Kate McKinnon and radiologist Max Cavanaugh use the technology and wizardry of new age medicine to unravel the hidden secrets of the mummy of the Lady Tashat (historically accurate), who was tortured and inexplicably wrapped with a man's head between her legs. These are the remains of the young woman Aset and her mentor and lover Tenre. The balance between modernity and antiquity is a difficult one, but one that this story handles with seamless ease. Besides all being attached to the field of medicine, these two couples also share a common bond on another plane... both men are considerably older than their female counterparts. To this end, with respect and ingenuity, Ms. Thurston shows us that the magical bonds of love are much greater than the ravages of any physical span of time. I recommend this book to everyone, and hope to see many more from this author.
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Format: Hardcover
Uneven writing occasionally threatens to derail Carol Thurston's masterfully researched story of forensics and Egyptology.
Thurston develops two stories in tandem, 33 centuries apart. In 1359 BC Egypt, a young, dedicated physician helps former Queen Nefertiti birth a girl, daughter of Ramose, a high priest.
At a Denver museum, medical illustrator Kate McKinnon feels an odd affinity with a young Egyptian woman, whose mummified corpse presents a baffling host of questions. X-rays show broken ribs, a shattered hand and, most amazing of all, a man's severed head lying between her legs.
As radiologist Max Cavanaugh helps Kate with the latest imaging techniques and Kate combines her forensic skills with her knowledge of Egyptology, the parallel story explores Aset's life growing up in an atmosphere of palace intrigue and excess, the physician her friend, teacher and protector. Thurston weaves the machinations of history against a background filled with ancient medical technique and details of daily living.
The modern sections are equally substantial. Technology and academic knowledge combine to penetrate the mystery - the painstaking interpretation of hieroglyphs and scenes painted on the sarcophagus, cat-scan readings of the bones, computer imaging to rebuild the face, even flashes of inspired intuition.
An intriguing premise, filled with fascinating detail. Where the story runs into problems is in the relationships, ancient and modern, between the heroes and heroines. Stilted dialogue and over-labored internalizations threaten to mire the characters in fretful introspection rather than passion. But fans of Egyptology and forensic medicine will find much to applaud.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just have to say I LOVE this book!! Aset and Tenre really grew on me as their relationship developed. Especially hearing all of things that happened at/after her death through Max and Kate. The present event were equally entralling. Then add in the accurate geneology and relationships through the 18th Dynasty...I was hooked! Thurston brought in all of the theories and "facts" that I prescribe to. She didn't leave anything out in her investigation and painting the most accurate picture possible.
If you love the 18th, love ancient Egypt...pick this one up! I can't wait for her next novel!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't understand the other reviewers who said that this book was slow or that they were bogged down with information. Once I started this book I didn't want to put it down.
I have read some awful books before where the plot switches between two different time periods. This author did a great job of telling the story in two different settings without the story being confusing.
My only complaint was some awkward dialogue from time to time. I wouldn't rate this as high as an Elizabeth Peters or Lynda Robinson, but this was defintely an interesting read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this book in a supermarket and thought, "Well, this looks vaugely interesting" and at 4 am I finally put it down! I really liked the way the book was written, a back and forth type that didn't leave me confused! I love Greek mythology and was suprised at how hooked I was in egyptian! I also love the way it went indepth with all the ways it explained things... the herbs, the mumification, the science to discover it...!! I know when the sequel comes out I'll be the first on the waiting list!
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By A Customer on November 10, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book truly has something for everyone's tastes. Whether you like romance stories, mysteries, or whatever else. Carol Thurston does a wonderful job at tying in all the forensics needed to make the story work, without laying them down too heavily. This book also paints a wonderful piture as to what life in ancient Egypt was like. IF you are just looking for a smooth, exciting, read, or you like ancient Egypt like I do, then this I definitely recommend this book to you!
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Format: Hardcover
The entwined modern and ancient stories Thurston tells in The Eye of Horus transcend the mystery genre, as does her writing. Not that there isn't plenty of mystery, or suspense. It's just that her characters come so alive, especially the ancient Egyptians--Aset and Tenre and Pagosh--that you don't want the book to end. Even then they stay with you. You'll also end up wondering what's true, because much of it is, and what's pure fiction, since the author does a fantastic job of blending history (including real people)and imagination--what might have been, or could have happened. She also mixes current forensic technology with archaeological controversies, in the process exposing some of the unfounded and irrational conclusions historians and Egyptologists have jumped to in the past. From beginning to end, this is a thought-provoking and entertaining book. I suggest reading the author note at the end first, though....
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