Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead by Nick Drake

My time constraints are such that I simply haven’t had time to post reviews even as I continue to squeeze in reading time (as my twitter bio aptly states: “Compulsive reader; not quite as compulsive blogger”). Nevertheless, I am going to gamely try to keep a record of what I have read here as well as at Goodreads so am trying out a new format.  Reviews, however, will be basic and truncated. Caveat Emptor and all that …

Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead; 352 pages; Harper Paperbacks (February 26, 2008)

Publishers Weekly

Rai Rehotap, the complex sleuth of this excellent mystery debut from British poet and playwright Drake (The Man in the White Suit), is very much a creature of his time—ancient Egypt—but is possessed of investigative instincts that will be familiar to readers of classic whodunits. The author artfully places his plot during a time of great significance to ancient Egyptian society—the reign of King Akhenaten, whose reforms included an effort to do away with the established religious order, and who consequently evoked the wrath of powerful figures vested in the status quo. The king summons Rehotap to track down the ruler’s powerful and charismatic partner, Queen Nefertiti, whose disappearance weeks before a great festival threatens the stability of the new regime. Drake displays great mastery of period detail, and if some readers are able to anticipate the identity of the person behind the novel’s chaos, they’ll still find themselves swept away to a far-off time with contemporary echoes.

My Take:

Interesting first book in a historical mystery trilogy set in ancient Egypt with an intellectual/poet cop as a lead character. I had to read it in small doses due to my schedule, and that might have affected my reading, but the language seemed a little verbose and the mindset seemed very modern to me – like the author was trying a little bit too hard to be both artsy and philosophical. This bogged down the story at times from my perspective.

But the setting makes for a fascinating backdrop and the characters are strong. If you are fascinated by ancient Egypt or enjoy historical fiction check this series out.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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