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2.6 out of 5 stars20
2.6 out of 5 stars
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2009
This is the second Valerio Massimo Manfredi novel I have read, and the least satisfactory. Manfredi is a professor of classical archaeology, and the two novels I have read have an historical thread running through them. However, in "The Pharaoh", this historical thread is crudely intertwined with an admittedly prescient, but for me hackneyed, terrorist threat to the USA plot. The comparisons with Dan Brown are hard to avoid, and this novel tried to be too much like Brown and strayed from Manfredi's strengths. I sometimes wondered if the clunkiness of the writing was down to poor translation?

In summary, barely average, certainly not one to recommend, but it won't put me of Manfredi.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 22 October 2008
There are 2 types of books Manfredi writes, the historical fiction novels and the thrillers. This is the thriller genre. Of course with his background, the thriller has it's roots in ancient history, a la Dan Browns the Da Vinci code. Some of Manfredis attempts at this genre for me have not worked, however this one I thought was excellent. Written before 9/11 it predicts a scary possibility of international terrorism that was not so far away from fact. I finished this book in less than a week and it caused many a late night as I felt I had to read just one more chapter.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Few authors can be better equipped to write about the history of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome than Valerio Massimo Manfredi. Professor of archaeology at the university of Milan, he has carried out many excavations and expeditions in the Mediterranean region and has produced many factual books on historical matters, mainly military although he has still found the time to write several novels. This book is a archeological adventure story.

Manfredi is extremely adept at capturing the essence of the period he is writing about, whether that be ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome. This book takes place in the recent past but is heavily influenced by events from over 2,000 years ago. In 586 BC the Kingdom of Judah is caught up in a violent war with the Babylonians. A war in which Judah is unlikely to escape intact. During the ensuing chaos the Prophet Jeremiah endeavors to save the sacred Ark of the Covenant.

Over 2,000 years later the eminent Egyptologist William Blake is called to oversee the find of a magnificent Pharaoh's tomb located a number of miles from the Valley of the Kings. This in itself is incredible as it has always been believed among Egyptologists that the major tombs of the Pharaoh's existed only in the Valley of the Kings.

The site of the new tomb is located in a highly sensitive area, both politically and militarily. Blake's discoveries will lead to an amazing biblical discovery.
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on 19 February 2010
'Shows Dan Brown how to do it!' had been emblazoned across the front cover of this book and as I had read Manfredi before, I was intrigued. Manfredi's usual style of writing ensures the very best in researching the subject and as such transports the reader sucessfully to that era. If this story could achieve this benchmark and build upon the usual rollercoster ride offered by Browns work then it would be a truly great novel.

However whilst parts of the story are gripping, such as the opening of the tomb and resultant discoveries within, some areas are too slow and a section to do with the escape is to be honest a bit too far. Again the research is first class but in my opinion doesn't really attain the heights expected of either Manfredi or Brown works.

Worthy of a read but you may, like me, be dissapointed with the closing.
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on 22 February 2010
An interesting mix and quite a thought-provoking one. The Kingdom of Judah (poor old Zedekiah), Jeremiah and the Book of Kings, a soupcon of the prophet Baruch, the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 586 BC and the Ark of the Covenant. In 2006 Egyptologist William Blake is at the centre of a discovery that involves Moses, a tomb of a pharaoh and the powder keg of war in the Middle East.

This is a very good read with a good incidence of 'can't put it down'. It could have ended happily half way, but it reaches new levels in the last part. The only reservation is that the last half has a marked degree of unreality about it. The quality of the writing and the historical plot reflects well the authoritative writing of a professor of classical archaeology.
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on 2 June 2011
I've read a number of Manfredi's previous truly historical novels and quite enjoyed them, but this one is a dud. I get the feeling he's tried to climb on the Dan Brown bandwagon, fallen off it, then tried to get back on a passing Tom Clancy bandwagon, and then fallen off that too... Very poor characterisation, weak, implausible plot line, a series of coincidences that go way beyond the 'suspend disbelief' margins. All in all, something I wish I'd not bothered buying. I hope he sticks to the historical stuff in future, as this is truly awful.
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on 26 November 2015
Classic story Greek classical writers would approve of.....Mr Manfredi has become one of my favourite authors - his background as an Archaeologist means that he is able to add colour to historically accurate facts and bring the characters to life. A must read for fans of "Troy" and "The eagle of the ninth" - Raiders of the Lost Arc watch out!!
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on 9 May 2011
This is simply an awful book, the plot has so many holes it's ridiculous, the characters are terrible, and some of the fudges to keep the tale going are ludicrous. I actually finished reading it as I couldn't help myself, it was a bit like the mocking fascination that drives you to watch poor b-movies. A complete waste of paper
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2009
This was my first Valerio Massimo Manfredi novel. I'm not encouraged to read any more. The archaeology-based opening was interesting, but once it turned into a thriller I found the plot ludicrous. The coincidence of the archaeologist protagonist, Blake, just happening to have coffee with the most wanted terrorist in the US is just too much to take. And the device for getting the hero and heroine from Israel to the US at the right moment ("I've just remembered there's a small executive jet hidden not far from here! It's fully fuelled and has the range to reach the US! And, oh, did I mention that I have a pilot's licence?") made me want to throw the book down in disgust. I found the (naive? bizarre?) political viewpoint of the novel rather strange and unsettling as well.
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on 9 February 2010
I thought this was quite interesting until Blake 'fell in love' after only 2 weeks with the girlie - I hate inappropriate sex scenes there's just no need for them - unless the author is hoping for a movie to be made.
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