Unravelling one of the ancient world's most infamous deaths...
In this illuminating non-fiction account of the life and death of Tutankhamun, Paul Doherty tells the story of the bloody intrigue behind the iconic mask. Colour photographs are also included. Perfect for fans of Nicholas Reeves and the ITV series Tutankhamun.
Egypt's most famous king died at the age of eighteen, and in the three thousand years since his death, the fabulous treasure buried with the young ruler has become as famous as his name. It has long been assumed that Tutankhamun died of natural causes, yet his hurried burial, first in a virtually unmarked grave, suggests there may have been an attempt, or plot, to conceal the evidence of fatal head wounds.
Behind King Tut's calm death mask, Doherty uncovers a turbulent tale of bloody intrigues at the Egyptian court, most of them pointing to the possibility of murder. The powerful cabal that ran the court and governed the country might have had young Tutankhamun assassinated; or he might have been killed at the instruction of the imperious first minister, Ay, who sought to seize the pharaonic crown for himself. And what role did the beautiful Ankhesenamun, Ay's granddaughter and Tutankhamun's queen, play in the labyrinthine courtly scheming?
Coupling modern research with the original testimony of Howard Carter, the archaeologist who discovered Tutankhamun's tomb, Doherty reconstructs a scenario of the king's short reign as illuminating as the revelations regarding his sudden, mysterious death are fascinating.
What readers are saying about Paul Doherty:
'An interesting, thoughtful view on what might have happened to the boy-king'
'Doherty proves that he is a scholar as well as a writer of novels'
'This book offers new clues and highlights the intrigue [of the] Egyptian court'
Although the glorious riches of the young King Tutankhamun's tomb have been displayed in museums around the world, his death at age 18 remains shrouded in secrecy. Why was his burial so hasty? Why was he buried initially in a storeroom rather than in a splendid pharaonic tomb? Why did he die at such a young age? British historical novelist Doherty (The Mask of Ra) answers these and other questions in a splendid historical thriller. He skillfully re-creates the political intrigue, the religious controversy and the military exploits of Egypt's 18th Dynasty as he searches for clues to Tut's mysterious death and burial. Some scholars have theorized that Ay, Tut's vice-regent, murdered Tut in order to gain the throne for himself. Others have implicated Tut's wife in a murder plot. Combing through a mountain of archeological evidence, Doherty concludes that Tut likely suffered from Marfan's syndrome, a disease that causes tissues and vital organs to deteriorate, leading to blindness and physical as well as mental weakness. According to Doherty, such a condition would explain why Tut's tomb contains 413 walking sticks and why many of the tomb's drawings portray him as frail and lethargic. Doherty points out that Tut's death gave rise to a hasty and not altogether proper burial because Ay wanted to keep the king's death a secret from Horemheb, the military commander, so that Ay could assume the throne unimpeded. Zestfully told, Doherty's historical reconstruction of Tut's death is a first-rate page-turner. Color photos not seen by PW.