A fascinating topic, but I found this book disappointing overall...,
This review is from: The Shadow King: The Bizarre Afterlife of King Tut's Mummy (Hardcover)
I have to confess I found this book disappointing. It's a fascinating topic, not so much a history of Tutankhamun and Ancient Egypt as it is a history of the archaeological investigations of Tutankhamun; of how his tomb was discovered, investigated, analysed; the different approaches used, from dentistry, anatomy and radiography to genetics; the academic arguments and debates; the behind-the-scenes string-pulling, political and nationalist agendas; the commercialisation of Tutankhamun's image and the role television has played in funding much of the research.
But for me, it was lacking something. It seemed to bounce too much between scientific overview and personal monologue. There were some careless errors, which really should have been picked up in editing - Tutankhamun's skull being described as 157 centimetres wide, as one example! And (and I freely acknowledge this is my own personal niggle) to my mind no self-respecting author, unless they are writing children's books, should be using the word 'tummy' when discussing archaeological and scientific research! To me it reads very much like a very intelligent and educated author (Marchant has a PhD in genetics, after all) trying just that bit too hard to be approachable, to 'dumb down' quite complex issues for the lay audience.
And in the end, what do we learn of Tutankhamum himself? Nothing. Which, I'll concede, is partly the point of this book. Depending on which scientist, archaeologist or historian you believe, he was either "a tragic child who succumbed to tuberculosis, a murder victim, daredevil chariot racer, malaria-infected cripple, brave soldier, and even a hippo’s last meal."