Howard Carter has just made one of the great discoveries of all time, the unveiling of Tutankhamun's tomb. At the same time, Egyptologist Ralph Trilipush finds himself in a slightly less spectacular position. He has staked everything on a scrap of hieroglyphic pornography. Halfway around the world, an Australian detective sets off on a globetrotting quest to find a murderer. Or two. Or three. These events, seemingly unrelated, are about to collide in a spectacular yet utterly unpredictable fashion.
©2004 Arthur Phillips; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC
"Witty." (The New Yorker
"Vastly entertaining." (Publishers Weekly)
"Phillips proves himself once again to be a wildly creative storyteller." (Booklist)
I gave up the first time, but having spent the money on this book, I tried again. I think I wasn't paying attention the first time and the australian detective's voice was grating. But once it clicked in my mind what was happening, I couldn't stop listening. I have also bought the book in print and pick it up to read "the good parts" . Stick with it and you won't be dissappointed. This would be a great movie! The final scenes would be riveting. Even knowing how it ends, I am now re-reading/listening to it. Simon Prebble is brilliant in portraying the mental state of the egyptologist. Stick with it.
If you're looking for a cozy Egyptian mystery a la Elizabeth Peters, this is NOT the book for you. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a meticulously structured novel that begins with a mystery but peels away, layer by layer, to expose outrageous egos, debauched jazz-age society, delusions of grandeur and, yes, crime, then check this out. Phillips does an outstanding job of not just telling a story, but creating a world with minute detail and manifold connections. Note that there's a cast of readers, not just one, which can take some getting used to. And as other reviewers have pointed out, some patience and tolerance for seaminess is required. Recommended for those who enjoyed "Devil in the White City," which to me at least hits many of the same chords.
The concept of telling the story from different perspectives by providing only the correspondence and jounal entries of the characters is interesting but that is the only good thing I can say about the book and my pleasure with this novelty lasted about 10 minutes. All of the characters are annoying and you have to listen to them tell the story!!! It moves slow, and there is no historical education benefit. This is the first bad review I've ever written and the second worst book I've listened to in over 400 books on tape.
The other reviewers evidently had expectation far wide of what this book is about. It's neither a tradional mystery in the vein of Amelia Peabody, nor is it an attempt to educate the reader about ancient Egypt. It's an unconventional mystery, creatively told, amusingly narrated, and entertaining. I enjoyed the author's near-vicious depiction of early 20th-Century British classism and the pretensions of the main character (and the pretensions turn out to be as much pretending to himself as pretentious). None of the characters is very likeable, but they are interesting, and in the end I felt sympathy for them all. (Well, several of them, anyway.)
I like this one. Looking at the other reviews it seems its not for people who dont want to fully listen and need lots of action. But it was very enjoyable for me.
Despite the 'exotic' setting, this is not a high adventure novel, but rather a grim tale about desperately unhappy and self-delusional people. The writing is as dry as the desert and the action slow paced and methodical.
Part of the difficulty with this book is that it's hard to like either of the two main narrators. One is an unbelievably pompous amateur scholar who seems to be blissfully oblivious to everything and everyone around him; the other is a hard boiled detective attempting to relive his glory days by writing long self-promotional missives to an unseen acquaintance on the other side of the world. While annoying at first, it is the author's attention to too much detail that adds humor to the story. From Professor Trilipush's exaggerated autobiography and over-analyzed conversations with the likes of Howard Carter, to Farrell's impressions of potential clients and projected feelings for the wrong woman (not to give too much away), it becomes apparent that the reader should not be sympathizing with the characters so much as ridiculing them even as they narrative their own stories.
One thing is certain, however. Those expecting a quick, fun, adventurous read will be sorely disappointed. The humor - and there's a lot of it - is more in the style of Dorothy Parker than Elizabeth Peters. The book is challenging, but if you're up to it, you'll find it rewarding in the end.
I found the plot dragging, the writing mediocre and the narration boooooring. I just rated Brimstone 5. Use this one to put yourself to sleep.
hours of boring naration. this is not mystery or history of Egypt. Unhappy gay man with graphic details, girlfriend is drug addict, future father in law sick wierdo. takes no skill to write this. Title and front cover has nothing to do with story. Minor parts by Carter, Egypt. Sorry to give my first negative review of many great books on audible.com
This is an interesting concept book but is much too long because you figure out what is happening very early in the book (at least I did). I thought this would be in thr vein of the Amelia Peabody books, but the only similarity was the era it was written in. If this had been half as long, I probably would have giveng it a 4. It was just too much of a struggle to get to the end of the book.
This book can be summed up in one word- boring! The way the story unfolds in fairly interesting but the "mystery" isn't powerful enough to drive the story forward with any momentum. I found myself longing for the book to finally end. I'd recommend that you skip this one.
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