From the bestselling author of Prague comes a witty, inventive, brilliantly constructed novel about an Egyptologist obsessed with finding the tomb of an apocryphal king. This darkly comic labyrinth of a story opens on the desert plains of Egypt in 1922, then winds its way from the slums of Australia to the ballrooms of Boston by way of Oxford, the battlefields of the First World War, and a royal court in turmoil.
Just as Howard Carter unveils the tomb of Tutankhamun, making the most dazzling find in the history of archaeology, Oxford-educated Egyptologist Ralph Trilipush is digging himself into trouble, having staked his professional reputation and his fiancée's fortune on a scrap of hieroglyphic pornography. Meanwhile, a relentless Australian detective sets off on the case of his career, spanning the globe in search of a murderer. And another murderer. And possibly another murderer. The confluence of these seemingly separate stories results in an explosive ending, at once inevitable and utterly unpredictable.
Arthur Phillips leads this expedition to its unforgettable climax with all the wit and narrative bravado that made Prague one of the most critically acclaimed novels of 2002. Exploring issues of class, greed, ambition, and the very human hunger for eternal life, this staggering second novel gives us a glimpse of Phillips's range and maturityand is sure to earn him further acclaim as one of the most exciting authors of his generation.
31 Dec. Sunset. Outside the tomb of Atum-hadu. On the Victrola 50:
"I'm Sitting on the Back Porch Swing (Won't You Come Sit by Me, Dear?)."
My darling Margaret, my eternal Queen whose beauty astonishes the sun,
Your father and I are heading home tomorrow, back to youthe luxurious riverboat north to Cairo, a night at that city's Hotel of the Sphinx, then by rail to Alexandria, and from there we have booked victorious passage on the Italian steamer Cristoforo Colombo, ports of call Malta, London, New York, from where we shall catch the very first train to you in Boston. You shall embrace your fiancé and your father by 20 January.
Upon my return, our wedding will, of course, be our most pressing business. Then, after refreshed preparations, I shall lead a second expedition back here to Deir el Bahari to conduct a photographic survey of the wall paintings and clear the artefacts and treasures from the tomb. All that remains this evening is to seal up the...
The excerpt at BookBrowse will give you a good idea of the tone and style of the book but, not to be missed, is the author's essay about how he researched the book and why he believes Hemingway's advice to 'write what you know' is not the case.
If you liked The Egyptologist, try these:
Maisie is as intelligent and engaging a sleuth as one might desire: the period touches, from clothing to manners, are not only elegantly presented but unostentatious.
With the skill of a consummate storyteller, Chantal Thomas meticulously re-creates the miniature universe of Versailles, brilliantly juxtaposing its beauty and its dawn-to-dusk ritual with the chaos that erupts.
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