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Tag: Ancient Egypt

Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows by Nick Drake

Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows: 384 pages; Harper; (June 29, 2010)

Publishers Weekly:

At the start of Drake’s superlative middle book in his ancient Egypt trilogy (after Nefertiti), Rahotep, the chief detective in the Thebes police force, visits a horrific crime scene. Someone has mutilated a young man and removed his eyes—and possibly pacified him with narcotics during the assault. When the killer strikes again, Rahotep wonders if the murders may be connected with efforts to destabilize the regime of the young Tutankhamun. The ruler’s foes include Ay, the regent who effectively runs the country, and Horemheb, commander of the country’s armies. Rahotep must tread carefully to identify the parties behind both the killings and the threats to Tutankhamun without jeopardizing his life and the lives of his family members. Drake seamlessly introduces a serial killer plot line into his vivid evocation of the past. Admirers of such great historical novelists as Robert Graves and Mary Renault will hope that he continues working in the field after concluding this series.

My Take:

The second book in this series is much like the first, an interesting historical mystery that too often – at least for me – gets bogged down in description and language to the detriment of pace and plotting.

Rahotep is a melancholy poet turned investigator who gets pulled into the intrigue of the palace during the reign of the famous Tutankhamun.  What seems a simple investigation into mysterious objects found in the palace turns into a mystery that may cost Rahotep everything and puts the future of Egypt at risk.

The characters and backdrop are interesting but too often Drake – a poet and playwirght – insists on detailed descriptions of both interior (ie emotional) and exterior scenes to the point that the story loses its pace. Rahotep is supposed to be a unique perspective – agnostic when it comes to the gods, introspective and prone to question everything – too much musing and description means less tension and action.

Those who like historical mysteries with lots of details may disagree.

Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows by Nick Drake

Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows: 384 pages; Harper; (June 29, 2010)

Publishers Weekly:

At the start of Drake’s superlative middle book in his ancient Egypt trilogy (after Nefertiti), Rahotep, the chief detective in the Thebes police force, visits a horrific crime scene. Someone has mutilated a young man and removed his eyes—and possibly pacified him with narcotics during the assault. When the killer strikes again, Rahotep wonders if the murders may be connected with efforts to destabilize the regime of the young Tutankhamun. The ruler’s foes include Ay, the regent who effectively runs the country, and Horemheb, commander of the country’s armies. Rahotep must tread carefully to identify the parties behind both the killings and the threats to Tutankhamun without jeopardizing his life and the lives of his family members. Drake seamlessly introduces a serial killer plot line into his vivid evocation of the past. Admirers of such great historical novelists as Robert Graves and Mary Renault will hope that he continues working in the field after concluding this series.

My Take:

The second book in this series is much like the first, an interesting historical mystery that too often – at least for me – gets bogged down in description and language to the detriment of pace and plotting.

Rahotep is a melancholy poet turned investigator who gets pulled into the intrigue of the palace during the reign of the famous Tutankhamun.  What seems a simple investigation into mysterious objects found in the palace turns into a mystery that may cost Rahotep everything and puts the future of Egypt at risk.

The characters and backdrop are interesting but too often Drake – a poet and playwirght – insists on detailed descriptions of both interior (ie emotional) and exterior scenes to the point that the story loses its pace. Rahotep is supposed to be a unique perspective – agnostic when it comes to the gods, introspective and prone to question everything – too much musing and description means less tension and action.

Those who like historical mysteries with lots of details may disagree.

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.

In the Mail: Tutankhamun

Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows by Nick Drake

Publishers Weekly

At the start of Drake’s superlative middle book in his ancient Egypt trilogy (after Nefertiti), Rahotep, the chief detective in the Thebes police force, visits a horrific crime scene. Someone has mutilated a young man and removed his eyes—and possibly pacified him with narcotics during the assault. When the killer strikes again, Rahotep wonders if the murders may be connected with efforts to destabilize the regime of the young Tutankhamun. The ruler’s foes include Ay, the regent who effectively runs the country, and Horemheb, commander of the country’s armies. Rahotep must tread carefully to identify the parties behind both the killings and the threats to Tutankhamun without jeopardizing his life and the lives of his family members. Drake seamlessly introduces a serial killer plot line into his vivid evocation of the past. Admirers of such great historical novelists as Robert Graves and Mary Renault will hope that he continues working in the field after concluding this series.

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