Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
Yet another book about Tutankhamun
on 7 January 2013
The real curse of Tutankhamun is that people keep writing books about him.
This book has the trademark stamp of Joyce Tyldesley - scholarly yet readable. Unfortunately, in her efforts not to jump to conclusions fron what she regards as inconclusive evidence ( a practice that bedevills egyptology ) she finds it difficult to come to a conclusion about anything. For exmple, she is surprisingly dismissive about the recent DNA testing overseen by Dr Zahi Hawass which demonstrated, anongst other things, that Tutankhamun most likely died from a virulent form of malaria. Not so, says thia author. By adulthood he would have developed an immunity to it. Presumably then, other mummies will show a similar chemical signature for the disease. Neither can we assume that he had a club foot (his left). This deformity could have been caused by tight wrapping says Joyce Tyldesley. Again, you would expect other mummies to show a similar defect if this were the case. Nor can we infer, from the the presence of walking sticks in his tomb, that he walked with a limp. Not necessarily, says Joyce Tyldesley, they were also a symbol of authority. OK, but why 130 of them? And so it goes on, to the point where I finished the book knowing less than I started with.
Her caution momentarily deserts her when she describes Horemheb, an eminently more interesting pharaoh than Tutankhamun, as a shadowy figure who can't even have been a very good general as his successors spent so much time reestablishing Egypt's northern borders. How's that for jumping to conclusions!
This is a useful book if you are a beginner to the subject, but if you are not my guess is that you will be disappointed and even frustrated by it. There's nothing new here. It's a review of the evidence, non of which seems to satisfy the author.