But what if his fate was actually much more sinister?
Now, in The Murder of Tut, James Patterson and Martin Dugard chronicle their epic quest to find out what happened to the boy-king. They comb through the evidence--X-rays, Carter's files, forensic clues--and scavenge for overlooked data to piece together the details of his life and death. The result is a true crime tale of intrigue, betrayal, and usurpation that presents a compelling case that King Tut's death was anything but natural.
©2009 James Patterson; (P)2009 Hachette
Mr. Patterson writes great stories, but history requires that all facts be acknowledged, not sorted through and cherry picked to support a theory. But the first clue that this is fiction, not history is the opening sentences. Putting words and thoughts into the mouths of people who have been if not dust, then very dusty since before the birth of Christ is the mark of a good story teller, not a historian. Especially since the man speaking is at the end of his reign and must contemplate making his son his co-regent. He is in Mr. Patterson's version avoiding this unpalatable thought, by thinking of spending time with one of his harem. Are we asked to believe the ancient Egyptians invented viagra as well as the first calendar? In a recent article in the Economist we are told that the most recent examination of poor Tut, by physicians and anthropologist reveals the hole in his skull is a result of mummification, that his DNA reveals inbreeding to the point of weakening him physically, that he was ill from a virulent form of malaria and that he probably died from complications of a broken leg. A light overview of ancient Egypt, if not quite as blood thirsty, but still fascinating is Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs. by Barbara Mertz. She also wrote Red Land Black Land a look at ancient Egyptians who were not royal. Ms. Mertz talks lightly about learning to read forms of ancient writing including hieroglyphys while getting her doctorate at the University of Chicago. Although her book is much older, her conclusion about poor King Tut's demise matches the most recent scientific studies. Mr. Patterson's book is a fun read, but should be moved into historical fiction.
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