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The Egyptologist -- a book review

I don’t usually do book reviews on this blog, but I just had to mention the audio book we took on vacation with us. It was The Egyptologist, by Arthur Phillips, and it’s a bizarre one!

Fourteen CD’s later, I loved the book. But I have to admit, I didn’t love it at first. In fact, had I been reading it as a paper book – or had we brought an alternative with us – I think we would’ve chucked it. And that would have been my loss. Truly.

It was really unbelievably good, and I highly recommend it. I can’t speak for the paper version (although I intend to buy it this week) but the audio version is a classic. Unlike other audios, this one had several readers, and they were full-out actors – putting on an amazing performance. “Simply brilliant,” as one of the narrators would insist.

If you’ve read the book-book (as opposed to the audio), please let me know what you thought about it. As I said, if I had read it that way, I probably would have abandoned the poor thing, mostly because of the incredible level of detail (I don’t like that sort of story, and I tend to skim, which for this particular book would be a huge mistake.)

Do not skim it. Resist any such impulse!

Anyway, I recommend it. Trust me, during the first two or three CD’s, you will be cursing me, and you will be tempted to speed past the detail. Don’t speed (but go ahead and curse me). But stick with it. It’s really good.


p.s. I heard about this book on someone’s blog, I’m sure. If it was you, let me know. I won’t get mad at you, even though I did curse you a little on our ride to Monterey. But you redeemed yourself so well, I actually sat in the condo on the beach listening to CD’s rather than walking on the beach during the best parts of the novel.

So really, I want to thank you. Even though, well, you should have warned me!

p.p.s. When I told my sister about this, she said she had a similar experience with Mr. Phillips’ first book, Prague. Except she never loved it, although she saw the merit in it. (and she confesses, she skimmed) I imagine that would have been my opinion of this one, had I not been stranded on a desert isle with it – but I’m so glad I was!

Edited to add: I suppose I should have told you what the book is about, but honestly, isn't it self-explanatory? Well, just in case, here's a little more: the egyptologist referenced in the title becomes obsessed with a parchment fragment that falls into his possession, because he believes it was written by an Egyptian king, and will lead him to uncovering the king's tomb, along with the riches buried therein. He's competing with Howard Carter, who is simultaneously searching for Tut. But our Ralph is no Howard Carter!


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