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2.7 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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 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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on 20 April 2010
last week I had two Manfredi books in my hand this and 'The Lost Army'. I opted for this novel based on the cover - and yes I know you shouldn't judge a book and all that but I love stories about ancient Egypt.

Don't be fooled, the cover is a smoke screen for very poor novel which sees the lead character morph from one cliché to another, seemingly at random with no real character development.

I have read other reviews which liken this to a Dan Brown novel. You have got to be fncking kidding?! This book reads like a terrible straight to DVD film with a stilted script whose lines are delivered by hack actors.

The coincidences in the novel made me want to gouge my eyes out and the lead character's sudden declaration of love was so out of the blue that I thought I must have fallen asleep and missed an entire sub plot. A quick check revealed it was not there.

None of the characters have any depth and the leads transition from Indiana Jones to cold-faced killer is farcical, I have not finished reading this but hope he is killed off in some sort of horrific accident.

I got the impression from the very first chapter that the text was poorly translated from Italian, some of the dialogue is clunky and doesn't make much sense but translation aside there are just too many flaws in the story to really enjoy this book.

I'm stuck like a deer before headlights waiting to see how this book finishes but I get the impression the Author has some issues about the people of Israel.

I wept when I realised that I couldn't give this expensive 355 page toilet roll a zero star rating.

This is a bad book, it is terrible. Somehow there was a mix up at the publisher and they sent a first draft to print. I may end up using the pages of this trash to make a papier mache effigy of Manfredi so I can punch him in the face.
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on 8 February 2009
The cover picture and the blurb on the back of the book led me to believe that this book was about the discovery and excavation of an Egyptian tomb. However it's a book about terrorism with the discovery of the tomb merely a side issue. I'm interested in Egyptology and archaeology but I'm not interested in terrorism so was bitterly disappointed. I'd like to give it no stars but that option isn't available.
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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 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 10 August 2008
Was it just me that thought there were too many coincidences in this book? Now I don't want to spoil the book for anyone - but really! Does the good Professor Manfredi expect us to believe that Blake is helped by a long forgotten terrorist when he is at a lifetime low and that that terrorist then becomes embroiled in a plot to destroy America; while Blake ends up asking him to help decipher an archeological quandry on the other side of the world which just happens to be connected to the terrorists goal!
The Daily Express said, "shows Dan Brown how it's done". What Dan Brown are they talking about? It isn't the one who wrote the Da Vinci Code - that's for sure!
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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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