The Murder Of King Tut: The Plot To Kill The Child King–A Nonfiction Thriller, by James Patterson and Martin Dugard, read by Joe Barrett
I must admit that I have not read many of the murder mysteries from the prolific genre novelist James Patterson, although from what I have seen his novels are very popular. While I cannot speak as to the quality of his mystery novels, a rare example of a genre of fiction of which I have some fondness , I can vouch for the quality of this work, and if his novels are even remotely as entertaining and enjoyable as this historical murder mystery is, they are great novels to be sure. Given the fact that I also have an interest in Egyptology  and ancient history as well, this is the sort of book that I was well equipped to understand and enjoy. The fact that I did so was largely due to the skill of the authors, whose collaboration was an excellent one. It appears that Dugard provided the legwork and historical investigation and Patterson provided the smooth prose style and mystery plot. This is a collaboration that works well and is one well worth repeating should the authors have any other historical mysteries to uncover.
At its heart, there are three different stories that are addressed in this book, in decreasing order of emphasis. The first is the complicated history of Egypt at the end of the 18th dynasty, where instability about the reforms of Akhenaton and the insecurity of his son popularly known as King Tut given the large number of people who want his throne. The second thread is the story of how King Tut’s tomb was discovered by a hardworking but unlucky Egyptologist named Howard Carter, involved in a hopeless love with his patroness, the Lady Evelyn. The third thread involves the writing and research of the coauthors in the present day. All are quite interesting stories and all of them demonstrate the continuing importance of Egyptology in the popular imagination and its ability to encourage people to do foolish things like dig in the desert and spend years writing a nonfiction murder mystery. And what are the conclusions that the coauthors came to after their extensive research? To make a longer story a bit shorter, the authors uncovered a murder plot that involved three principals and a host of minor characters, most of whom met very unpleasant ends as the survivors double crossed each other until only the aged Horemheb survived to obliterate the remains of the others as much as possible.
Those who have an understanding of ancient Near Eastern texts will find a lot to appreciate here. The story of Tut’s widowed queen seeking to marry an ill-fated Hittite prince in order to avoid having to marry the older Ay comes from the Amarna letters, where they form an interesting part of Egypt’s foreign correspondence. The name of the assassin of King Tut likely comes from some obscure research that was found showing some sort of land grant, and the construction of this particular book keeps a great deal of the drama alive until the end, when the forces of sand and erosion bury the obscure tomb of King Tut until it is found by the determined Carter in the 1920s, leaving some mysteries to be uncovered later on. If you like historical mysteries and tales of doomed real life romances, this book has a lot to offer. There are a lot of layers to this story and it makes for a compelling picture overall. This is a book that is so worthwhile it makes me interested in reading the other books by these authors, and any book that gives me more reading to do is certainly well worth praising highly, all the more so for the author’s evident and serious desire to look to the facts and follow the money and the power in untangling complicated mysteries.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: