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Publisher's Summary

Critically acclaimed author Arthur Phillips won the L.A. Times First Fiction Prize for his debut novel, Prague, which landed on top 10 lists across America and was a New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Chicago Tribune best seller. In The Egyptologist, Phillips displays his gift for brilliantly constructed, labyrinthine stories infused with imaginative wit.

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

Critic Reviews

"Witty." (The New Yorker "Vastly entertaining." (Publishers Weekly) "Phillips proves himself once again to be a wildly creative storyteller." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Lea
  • Sanford, FL, USA
  • 05-27-05

I gave it another chance and WOW.

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.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Forrest
  • Millbrae, CA, USA
  • 11-08-04

An intricately carved plot

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Gee, I kinda liked it...

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.)

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

pretty good

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barbara
  • Marietta, GA, United States
  • 12-03-04

Charming and fun, read to perfection...

I enjoyed this book as much as any lately. It was a little bit lightweight in the mystery and historical fiction genre, but researched and presented with affectionate enthusiasm, much like the Dan Brown amusement parks of "Angels and Demon" and "DaVinci Code". Told in diary and letter excerpts, the three actors who read the characters do a flawless job as British dandy, Australian PI and American heiress, in addition to managing to "do" other characters in the voice of the one who is telling the the tale. The mystery reveals itself in exquisite droplets, and is something almost unique in this type of drama. I will enjoy listening to this book several more times, and have bought paper copies for family and friends. For fans of Dan Brown, Elizabeth Peters, Sharyn McCrumb and F. Paul Wilson - those who are willing to try something new - this is a lot of fun.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lawrence
  • Cranberry Township, PA, USA
  • 10-20-04

Second worst book I've ever listened to

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.

31 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Too long and repetitive

The story is written from the perspective of three characters each of which is communicating by writing letters. It concerns an old detective at a nursing home who reports in letter form to a relative of an old woman about his investigations of the wowan’s fianc? when she was young. Simultaneously there is a journal from the fianc? who is an explorer of Egyptian antiquity trying to find the tomb of a long lost king. There was a disappearance of some other explorers a long time ago and the detective was trying to solve the murder many years ago. The plot goes over the old events via these letters, plus some letters from the woman to her fianc?.

The reviews of this book were very favorable. I found the story boring and repetitive. Many of the passages kept being repeated over and over again. I guessed the major conclusion of the novel early on and by the time the story finally revealed the answers, I had long since lost interest and become angry for making me wait so long for nothing new and exciting. I do not recommend this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


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

43 of 60 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Clever concept but too long

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Really annoying

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.

17 of 24 people found this review helpful