Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Murder of King Tut - James Patterson and Martin Dugard

I listened to this in audio format.The Murder of King Tut begins with James Patterson discussing the inception of the idea for this book and his subsequent collaboration with Martin Dugard, a self described 'research fiend'.

Patterson is fascinated with the story of the boy King and wants to uncover who murdered the young pharoh.

His research is presented in story format. There are two separate story lines. One follows the history, ascension and death of Tut in the early 1300's BC. Patterson offers a lively look at life in this time period. Although he uses many historical facts in setting the scene, he takes liberty and inserts emotions and dialogue according to his beliefs. The sex scenes involving Tut seemed incredibly gratuitous.

The second story line follow the life of Howard Carter from the late 1800's to his discovery of Tut's tomb in 1922. Again, historical fact is presented in describing Carter's life and the world of Eygyptologists of the time. But again, literary license is taken in some parts.

The reader, Joe Barrett, was very good. He conveyed male and female roles equally well. I did find his voice of the child Tut to be a bit annoying. His voice is full of expression, imparting the fear, anger and deviousness of various characters.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, it was a good story, told in typical Patterson style - short, cliff hanging chapters. Entertaining - yes. Do I believe he 'solved' the mystery of who killed King Tut? Well - no. I believe he has presented a plausible theory - one arrived at by others, including the Discovery Channel. Just google Who Killed King Tut - you get thousands of hits.

Who Killed King Tut is being shelved and marketed as non fiction. The problem for me is that I still heard it as another Patterson adventure story and not a serious look at history. Other authors have undertaken solving past crimes in non fiction books, with better and more believable results, such as Cornwell's Jack the Ripper or Douglas Preston's The Monster of Florence.

I found Patterson's interjected personal comments annoying. I'm not sure why he feels like he has to mention that Time magazine called him " the man who can't miss". Is the quote even in context? Mentioning that he can juggle many projects at once and that his gut feeling is that he's close solving it - all of this self aggrandiziing just put me off.

Listen to an exerpt of The Murder of King Tut. Or you can read an excerpt.

Or you might want to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario, who is having one of the biggest showing of King Tut artifacts.


Anna said...

I've seen mixed reviews about this book. Patterson's interjections probably will annoy me, but I'll give it a try anyway, as I have a copy of this book on my shelf. Thanks for the honest assessment.

Diary of an Eccentric

Crystal said...

Thanks for the insightful review. I have this on my pile and like the previous commenter have heard many mixed reviews. I look forward to reading it but like you said I will take it more like an adventure story.

Myckyee said...

Interesting review. I haven't read his other books yet (on my TBR pile though) but I think I'll give this one a pass.

bermudaonion said...

I'll have to keep in mind that this is really historical fiction when I read it.

Ladytink_534 said...

I've seen one or two Discovery channel and History channel specials on King Tut but I don't think I've ever read about him before. Interesting though!