Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
May Contain Spoilers
Ancient Egypt is my favorite time periods, and for the longest time I wanted to become an Egyptologist. Then I got nervous when I thought about actually making a living based on my wealth of historical knowledge, and the thought of camping for months at a time and being exposed to really, really big insects helped to change my mind. Would I have been happier digging in the sand and scribbling papers about dead kings and queens? Maybe, but at least now I have air conditioning.
Tutankhamen is a visual treat, with striking illustrations that capture the look of mosaics. I liked the art much better than that in Genghis Khan, and though the annoying gold foil was present, it wasn’t as overwhelming as in the previous book. I loved the colors and the composition of the pages, and the skillful way the visuals worked together with the text.
What I didn’t like was the simplistic overview of Tutankhamen’s life. I know that I shouldn’t have expected a great deal of depth, but I feel that the story is far too complex to squeeze into a picture book of this length. There was so much upheaval during this period in Egypt, starting with Akhenaten’s rejection of Amun. The lack of explanation regarding some of the events was also disappointing, especially the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony. Though probably beyond the scope of the book, it’s still really interesting stuff! Even a glossary at the end would have been appreciated.
I have mixed feelings about Tutankhamun. It is a stunning picture book, but, for me, it didn’t deliver in terms of substance. It has relit a fire to read more books set in Ancient Egypt, though.
Review copy obtained from the library