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on 4 August 2014
The title may bring visions of tomb excavators coming to a grisly end, but with Joyce Tyldesley as author, this is of course a well written re-assessment of everything we know (or think we know) about Tutankhamun, including a brief interpretation of the recent DNA studies (though not in any scientific detail), highlighting the uncertainties and assumptions on which this latest evidence is based.

After several pages of notes for the uninitiated, explaining ancient Egyptian chronology, naming conventions and tomb numbering systems, Tyldesley discusses the "many curses" of Tutankhamun, including the modern celebrity-obsessed frenzy that surrounds the boy king, and the early death which robbed him of the chance to make his mark and restore his country to its former glory.
Tutankhamun's tomb forms the starting point for the main narrative, beginning with its construction and subsequent disappearance, the clues leading to its rediscovery by Carter, the clearing and cataloguing of the spectacular tomb goods, and the sorry tale of attempts to remove and autopsy the body, before looking at the evidence for each contender for the boy king's father, mother and siblings.

Only then do we come to Tyldesley's own take on the story, making no claims to be the definitive account, but rather that which she believes best fits the evidence that we have now. For her, it's not the solving of the mysteries surrounding Tutankhamun that's important, but rather the continuing investigation and piecing together of fragments of evidence; it's not just new discoveries, but the re-analysis of already known artefacts that will help bring more clarity to this period.

The book ends with a look at the Tutankhamun conspiracy theories (as she points out in "Tyldesley's Law", even the most unlikely theories about ancient Egypt will be believed by someone somewhere): the tomb curse and the rumours that Carter stole objects from the tomb. She rounds off with a brief look at touring Tutankhamun and modern Tutmania, asking if we are perhaps more interested in his `bling' than in the king himself.

Illustrated with black-and-white and colour photographs, maps, tomb texts and quotations from many of the Egyptologists associated with the tomb, this is an excellent survey of Tutankhamun's history and historiography for anyone with an interest in the boy who became the most iconic king of Egypt.

Reviewed by Ancientegyptmagazine dot com
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on 3 March 2012
As a reader of anything to do with ancient times,especially Egypt, I really relished this book by Joyce Tyldesley who always manages to bring her subjects to life. With this book she has proved just how much has been,(and will continue),to be discovered from the grave and tomb artifacts. Armed with her knowwledge of King Tuankhamen through the eyes of an ancient world I found myself lost in a book which showed me the 'how' and why's' of his life and what went on in his short reign. It was an informative read and a book which I will undoubtedly bring off the shelf to read again.
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on 2 January 2013
Great book. Puts a whole new slant on the phrase 'Tutankhamen's Curse'. The information contained within the pages is interesting and informative. Would recommend.
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on 29 August 2012
She has done it again, a fantastic new approach, readable, informative and not afraid of coming down on the side of controversy. I didn't believe it was possible to to read something new on this subject but Dr Tyldesley has done so. Including the most recent research and the impact of the boy king on Egyptology itself. Totally recommended
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on 17 December 2013
If you are into Egyptian history and wish to learn more and more about this amazing part of the history then this book is a must. It is a great reference to won and refer back to it when needed. Tutankhamen was a great king and his life was amazing ! Enjoy reading this book more than once.
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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.
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