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VINE VOICEon 1 November 2004
I was desperate for this book to come out so that it could read it, and I have to say it has disappointed me a little. With all the talk of had Nefertiti's mummy been found or not, I really expected Joann Fletcher to make more of an argument in this book. In fact, the only real examination of her finds and theories are in the last two, shortest chapters of the book. Rather than providing a thorough examination of her reasons for believing the mummy is Nefertiti, the chapters covering this are too short and do not provide as thorough examination of the investigation and findings as I would have liked. What is presented is extremely interesting, but for me it was just not in depth enough. Maybe as a history graduate I was expecting too much but I was looking forward to an extensive look at all the evidence for and against this being Nefertiti.
The first bit of the book is taken up with a bit of biography on Fletcher's background in Egyptology, which is interesting enough. It is indeed interesting to see how a Yorkshire lass like myself comes to study Ancient Egypt, and Fletcher comes across as an interesting character throughout and is clearly nothing like the fusty middle aged male sorts who dominate historical study. Indeed her passion for the subject is refreshing and makes the book all the more readable because of it.
The next and largest chunk of the book looks into the history of Ancient Egypt, with a focus on the dominant female characters, and the Amarna royals. I found the sections on female pharaoahs and the role of women in Egyptian politics and religion fascinating. It is clearly well researched and offers a view not tainted by sexism and the refusal of some Egyptologists to give female Egyptians the credit and status they deserve. Whether you believe Nefertiti et al ruled as pharaoah or not, it seems wrong to play down the role and successes of women when the Egyptians themselves did not do this. Fletcher's insights on this matter are illuminating and enjoyable to read. I also found the section on the Amarna Period to be fascinating. It served particularly to set Akhenaten's reign in context for me. He is always portrayed as being wildly radical and heretical king, and indeed this is true to an extent. However, Fletcher clearly shows that the move from the traditional religion towards worship of the Aten had been occurring for some time. Akhenaten and Nefertiti moved it on at a greater pace and took advantage of it, but they did not "create" this God for their own conveniance as some owuld have you believe.
Whilst the historical background examined is crucial in understanding Nefertiti and how she came to the position she did, I felt it was a little too in depth for the purposes of this book. Undoubtedly it is well researched and written, but I just felt it made the book drag on slightly too long and at times strayed too far from the main purpose of this book. However, this is not a major criticism, just a slight niggle.
The last section on the mummy Fletcher believes is Nefertiti is fascinating as far as it goes. However, as I said previously, I would have liked a far more in depth study of the arguments and evidence here. Really the book has not convinced me either way, but with a more thorough examination it may have done. However, overall this is a good read for anyone interested in Egyptology. Nefertiti is a fascinating character in the history of this unique country and Fletcher provides an interesting insight into her life.
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on 16 October 2010
As an Egyptologist and historian, I approached this book with great excitement - to me the discovery of Nefertiti would be an event of monumentally exciting proportions - and I couldn't wait to see the evidence that Fletcher had to prove her contentious theory. I perhaps should not have approached the book with such high expectations, as the book didn't match them.

There are both good and bad points to recommend and detract from the quality of this book. The topic, of course, is fascinating, the quality of actual writing, good. Best of all, and quite against the grain for a heavy academic historical factual book, the language is accessible and clear. I found the subject of the early chapters somewhat curious, where Fletcher describes her childhood interest in Egypt and her time as a student. I kept wondering when I would hear about the search for Nefertiti, but she only makes mention of how, as a young Egyptologist, she began to suspect that the Younger Lady might be the missing queen. Is this an autobiography of the life of Joann Fletcher or is it a historical factual work about the search for Nefertiti?

Then she spends an extensive few chapters describing past archaeological work on the search for Nefertiti. Whilst technically this finally addresses the title of the work, Fletcher seems keen to highlight at all times the mistakes and false assumptions made by archaeologists in antiquity, promoting her own "correct" interpretation of events as opposed to the "obviously mistaken" work of those come before her. She also goes to pains to emphasise the intractability and unchangeability of the historical and archaeological establishment and community, and it looks like she does so to counteract the widespread denunciation of her theories by the archaeological community. I began to feel, uncomfortably, that Fletcher was more interested in trying to knock down her rivals than argue the case for her own theory and provide the evidence to support it.

Her idea that Nefertiti survived past Year 14 of Akhenaten's reign as the co-regent Ankhkheperura Neferneferuaten, and then took the throne as Ankhkheperura Smenkhkara, even her idea that the Younger Lady might be her, is widely discredited by the majority of Egyptologists, and Fletcher has since been barred from entering Egypt since she went to the press with her claims. The middle chapters of the book describes the period of Nefertiti's life from the material evidence. Only the final two, rather short, chapters of the book actually cover Dr Fletcher's examination of the Younger Lady and the conclusions she draws from this that lead her to conclude that this may be Nefertiti.

I enjoyed the book because of its topic and subject, but as an Egyptologist there are too many fundamental problems with it for me to credit it as proven fact. Her observations of the Younger Lady cannot provide definitive proof of her identity as Nefertiti, indeed some of her conclusions have been disproved with later examinations, for example her idea that the detached bent right forearm (which would indicate the status of a Pharaoh), belongs to the Younger Lady - later examinations indicated that it did not in fact fit with this mummy. She also spends too much time trying to emphasise the stoicism of the archaeological community and the mistakes of her predecessors, which suggests to me that she is trying to defend her discredited views by attacking the wider archaeological establishment for refusing to be open to change or reinterpretation of the evidence. Finally, I did not need to read the short autobiography of Fletcher's life.
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on 9 December 2004
A large book this: the kind that looks as If you are getting worth for your money. If you are looking for a book that gives you a grounding in Egyptology, then this is the book for you. Simple told and in a not too academic style it promisses much. There is also a glimpse into what it takes to become an Egyptologist. The author taking us on a tour of her life as she pursues with a passion the life of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.

If you are looking for a book, as the title suggests, on Nefertiti then you may find this book a dissapointment. As far as coverage of the Great Egyptian Queen goes, this book could have dealt with the subject using only a third of its size.
The focus of the book, as the title states, is the Search For Nefertiti. The arguement is clear and convincing enough. Taken as it is from a specialist in Ancient Egyptian clothing and hair. The focus of the arguement is put well and is as convincing as any other so far. As a book: it is a first class read. As a study of Egyptology: again it is a first class read whether you are a new-comer or old hand. As a book on Egypts enigmatic Queen Nefertiti: you may well be in for a dissapointment. Nevertheless, it is a well writen and highly readable book.
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VINE VOICEon 25 April 2006
Anyone with a mild interest in things Egyptian was stunned and excited while reading the Sunday Times Magazine, two-part "The Nefertiti Discovery" June 8th and 13th 2003. This was followed up by a Discovery Channel Programme later in the year, plenty of E-Mail site responses and eventually the book. There is even a Discovery Channel website that highlights some of the most compelling evidence with plenty of pictures of Joann and suspected King Nefertiti: [...] The impact of the findings was somewhat like detonating a small nuclear device; the fall-out has lingered and produced camps for and against the evidence fighting it out in the atomic winter.

The Amarna period in ancient Egypt is fascinating and the possibility of Nefertiti being discovered was for me, a show stopper. The build up to this book were the articles in Weekend Magazine and programmes on channel four. With my appetite wetted I was waiting in anticipation for the book to be published and ordered it in advance on the strength of Joann's TV appearances. This was first excursion into the book-world of Joanne Fletcher having only seen her on the box as a high profile authority on mummification. I had no idea about her writing style and wondered if her terminology and content would leave me confused, high and dry. However, Joanne has a no-nonsense attitude and communicates well to those of us lacking a formal education in Egyptology. The book is without jargon, very readable and difficult to put down once started. The story line is supported by maps of Egypt, Egypt and Nubia, Thebes, 13 black and white figures, 2 black and white X-Ray plates and approximately 50 excellent colour photographs.

In summary the twelve chapters of the book are split into the initial 5-chapters where Joann introduces herself and formative years linking into the enigmatic Amarna period. The Tomb where the suspected Nefertititi has rested, KV 35 is dissected in chapter 6 and in chapter 7 Joann discusses some high achieving females. In making a case for Nefertiti as King Joann reviews previous female Pharaohs such as Cleopatra, Tawosret, Hatshepsut, Sobeknofru and Neithikret. This makes interesting reading because I feel there is a general misconception amongst the general public that only Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty made it to the top slot. The Armarna period is covered in Chapters 8 to 10. The visit to the side chamber where the suspected Nefertiti has slept all these years is brought to life in chapters 11 and 12 where the author takes the reader into the Crime Scene Investigation and has you studying the plentiful supply of images.

I enjoyed learning about the authors' background; however I could imagine others hungry for Joann to cut to the chase and get down to the Dr Quincy technicalities of the `autopsy' evidence. On reflection the technicalities of the discovery only represents a relatively small portion of the book and this may disappoint some readers, especially those who are into Scenes of Crimes investigations. I personally would have enjoyed the evidence discussed at more length demonstrating the "fors and againsts". As an improvement to the book I would have appreciated more background information on Nefertiti, perhaps reviewing other authors' findings, theories and speculations, such as Joyce Tydsley's Nefertiti, Christine el Mahdy's Tutankhamun or Nicholas Reeves Akhenaten. It is worth emphasising this is not a book specifically on the life and times of Nefertiti although we are presented with a series of snapshots and brilliant insights.

At the end of the book you have to judge whether there is enough evidence to swing the balance in favour of "Nefertiti is found" and for me, I would require some more objective evidence such as DNA techniques. However, Joann makes her case and you may decide that there is sufficient information already available without the requirement for further scientific analysis-the choice is yours.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Nefertiti, the Amarna Period or someone who just wants an insight into the world of the Egyptologist.
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on 25 August 2004
A fascinating hypotheses,making for some very interesting reading. I'm not sure I find all the arguments for the case convincing,but the book is worth reading alone for the wealth of information contained in it about ancient Egypt & the Egyptians.
Some excellent colour plates,too,showing artifacts I'd never seen before-a very welcome innovation when every book on Egypt seems to use & reuse the same photos.
Highly recommended!
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on 5 December 2011
After reading this book you will know an awful lot more about the author than you will about Neferiti as most of it covers memoirs about herself and how with unexplained insight she knows the true version of historical events and that the analysis accepted by the vast majority of experts is incorrect. Such phrases as "Most archaeologists believe that.. But the truth is ...." , abound and are irritating especially as often no supporting evidence or reasoning is provided. I suspect a hidden feminist agenda.
The two short chapters that actually cover the title of the book, expound a theory that sounds implausible to an average reader like myself and no convincing arguments are made.
I googled the author after I had read it and wished that I had done so before I forked out for this book.
It appears that the book covers the same ground as a "sensational" American TV program, which created uproar at the time. Following the program the author was banned by the Egyptian authorities from visiting Egypt.
The theory was first published by someone else a few years before the program.
Eminent Egyptologists describe the theory as "Poppycock".
The author does not really have the training or experience to examine mummies in a forensic way.
The book appears to be cashing in on a Half-baked theory in the fashion of Eric von Daniken
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VINE VOICEon 28 July 2009
I love Egypt and have read fairly widely around the subject, including other books about Nefertiti, but this one was fascinating. I think it was the chatty, easy style of writing that had me hooked and I really couldn't put it down. I was fascinated by Joann Fletcher's background as a specialist in ancient hair and what you can glean from it and thought the whole book was well researched and admirably held my interest to the end.

Really well worth reading.
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on 30 October 2014
Like Cleopatra the Great, this book is interesting and informative. Like Cleopatra the Great it is also long-winded. No illustrations in the Kindle version. Are there any in the printed version?
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on 30 September 2014
A superb mixture of the history story and impressions of the journey to the discoveries.
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on 30 October 2015
Factual and funny. Professor fletchers personality shines throughout
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