Joyce Tyldesley yet again provides us with another astonishing account of one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs. Having read many books by the author and in my search to read a book about the greatest pharaoh of Egypt having been to many of his temples including Abu-Simbul, Luxor temple and the Ramesseum. The author gives a detailed description and brings to life the battles at Qadesh, the temple building of the great pharaoh and his family connections. The book is another excellent informative by a great author and has lead me to reaf "The Lost Tomb" by Ken Weeks a must read if you are interested in Ramesses and his tomb for his sons Kv5 .
Really good read, though it does end rather suddenly. After lots of details and flow through the book, there is no real summary chapter, just a paragraph to sum up the whole book. A somewhat disappointing end to a very good book, but well worth reading.
The author speaks for herself: "Almost every year our bookshops are blessed with a new bestseller claiming on the most flimsy of evidence to reveal at least one of the mysteries of the ancient world. Those who criticize, no matter how well-armed with facts, are generally dismissed as being over-cautious, fuddy-duddy or lacking in imagination. Needless to say, this book will take a traditional approach to the presentation of facts. The history of Ramesses II is a fascinating story in its own right and needs no artificial enhancement to make it acceptable to the modern reader." Tyldesley delivers again. Excellent as usual.
The fame of Ramesses II was extraordinary during his own lifetime, it remained legendary through classical antiquity and today we are still fascinated by this remarkable ruler. Does he warrant such a reputation? Attempts have been made to address this question and a great deal has been written about Ramesses, but perhaps some of the information has been confusing and on occasions inaccurate. Joyce Tyldesley in her usual very readable and informative style has carefully examined the considerable archaeological and historical evidence to reveal to us the truth about the life and times of Ramesses II.
She considers his record as a warrior and indicates how the battle of Kadesh was more successful as a propaganda exercise rather than a military victory. She describes how in his long reign he covered Egypt from the Delta to Nubia with buildings in a way no pharaoh had ever done before him. Also how he was a ladies man, fathered over a hundred children and declared himself a god in his own lifetime. It was the wish of every ancient Egyptian to live for eternity - Joyce Tyldesley has certainly helped Ramesses to fulfil this desire and brought this larger than life character alive to a 21st century audience.
I have always had a passion for Egyptology, and enjoy reading widely on the subject. I have read many of the author's books before and find them to be well-written, engaging and simply explained. This book does not launch straight into Ramesses life, but qualifies it with a detailed exposition which leads into the life of the pharaoh. The pace of the book is good allowing information to be digested easily. A very good read which was well worth the price.