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Monday, April 29, 2013

Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows by Nick Drake

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: Ancient Egypt

First Sentence: Three short knocks.

This novel is the third in Drake's Rahotep detective fiction trilogy.

Our main character, Rahotep, is the Chief Detective of the Thebes Medjay (Police Force).  He is your standard detective: realistic, cynical, and at times wise cracking.  He has been passed over for promotion because he is too honest, and because he won't be a toady for those in power.

At home he has a long suffering wife.  She is fearful that one day he will not return from one of his investigations.  Unspoken between them is his lack of success and prestige his honesty has cost them.

In the city there has been a series of horrific murders.  The victims' bodies have been arranged specifically to portray a religious omen.

In the palace, there has been a series of evil messages delivered to the King and Queen: Tutankhamun and his sister.  Rahotep is investigating both sets of crimes.  It is obvious that each crime has been committed by an educated person who is well versed in the secret symbols of religion.  As he investigates, Rahotep begins to think that there is a connection between all the crimes.

There are factions that believe  Tutankhamun is a weak King.  Both the Regent, Ay, and the General Horemheb have aspirations for the throne.

Can Rahotep protect the royal family and his own family from those who wish them evil?

Every so often, when I reach the end of a book, I feel a sense of sadness.  While I am reading the novel, the characters seem alive to me.  Once the story has ended, they exist only in my memory.  In this novel, the author has transported me to ancient Thebes.  I like Rahotep.  I would enjoy sitting with him on a cool evening and discussing philosophy, or just local gossip.  And, I'd enjoy visiting him at his home and meeting his wife and children.

I enjoyed reading this novel and look forward to reading the third novel of the series.

Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows

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