Master of suspense James Patterson reopens the ultimate cold case—the unsolved death of King Tut.
A secret buried for centuries
Thrust onto Egypt's most powerful throne at the age of nine, King Tut was challenged from the first days of his reign. The veil of prosperity could not hide the bitter rivalries and jealousy that flourished among the Boy King's most trusted advisers. Less than a decade after his elevatation, King Tut suddenly perished, and in the years and centuries that followed, his name was purged from Egyptian history. To this day, his death remains shrouded in controversy.
The keys to an unsolved mystery
Intrigued by what little was known about Tut, and hoping to unlock the answers to the 3,000-year-old mystery, Howard Carter made it his life's mission to uncover the pharaoh's hidden tomb. He began his search in 1907 but encountered countless setbacks and dead ends before he finally discovered the long-lost crypt.
The clues point to murder
Now, in The Murder of King Tut, James Patterson and Martin Dugard dig through stacks of evidence—X-rays, Carter's files, forensic clues, and stories told through the ages—to arrive at their own account of King Tut's life and death. The result is an exhilarating, true crime tale of intrigue, passion, and betrayal that casts fresh light on the oldest mystery of all.
Palm Beach, Florida
"THIS IS JAMES PATTERSON CALLING. Is Michael around? I have a mystery story to tell him."
As most people would expect, I love a good mystery, and I thought I might have unearthed a real doozy to write about, which was why I had put in a call to my editor at Little, Brown, Michael Pietsch, who is also the publisher.
As I waited for Michael to come on the line—he usually takes my calls, night or day—I looked around my second-floor office. Am I completely mad? I wondered.
The last thing I needed right now was another writing project. I already had a new Alex Cross novel on the fires, and a Women's Murder Club brewing, and a Maximum ride to finish. In fact, there were twenty-four manuscripts—none of them yet completed—laid out on the expansive desk surface that occupies most of my office. I could read some of the titles: Swimsuit, Witch & Wizard, Daniel X, Women's Murder Club 9, Worst Case...
"I am completely crazy, aren't I?" I said as Pietsch came on the line. Michael is a calm and calming presence, very smart, and a wonderful father who knows how to handle children—like me—most of the time. over the years we have become a good fit and have turned out more than a dozen number one bestsellers together.
"Of course you're crazy, but why the phone call?" he asked. "Why aren't you writing?"
"I have an idea."
"I really like this one, Michael. Let me talk at you for a minute. OK? Since you seem to know everything about everything, you are probably aware that a collection of King Tut memorabilia is touring the world. People are lining up everywhere; the exhibit is usually sold out weeks in advance. I actually visited a Tut exhibit years ago at the Met in New York, and then recently in Fort Lauderdale. I've seen firsthand how Tut's story blows people's minds—men, women, and children, rich and poor.
"There's something about Tut that brings ancient Egypt to life for most of us. It's not just the incredible treasures he was buried with, or the art, or the near-miraculous discovery of the burial chamber by Howard Carter. It's all of that, of course, but there's something magical here, something iconic. Tut's name was scrubbed from Egyptian history books for thousands of years, and now Tut is probably the most famous pharaoh of them all. And yet nobody knows that much about him.
"Michael, I want to do a book about Tut. Three parts: present day, as I learn—hopefully—more and more about the Boy King; then the amazing discovery of the tomb and treasures by Carter, who is probably worth a book on his own; and a third part about Tut himself.
"Did you know that Tut married his sister—and that theirs was an incredible love story? So what do you think? Are you going to try to stop me? Just this once, will you save me from myself?"
Michael's infectious laughter traveled across the phone lines. "How's the new Alex Cross coming?" he asked.
"Almost done—ahead of schedule. You're going to like it."
"Well, Jim, like just about everyone else, I'm fascinated by ancient Egypt, the pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, Tut, Nefertiti, the rameses boys. So I have to tell you, I like the idea very much."
Now it was my turn to smile and to laugh in relief.
"I'm really glad. So let me tell you what I thought would close the deal—though, obviously, I don't need it. Michael, I have a hunch that Tut was murdered. And I hope, at least on paper, to prove it."
Michael laughed again. "You had me at ‘King Tut,'" he quipped.
Copyright © 2009 by James Patterson
Joe Barrett is an accomplished stage, screen, and television actor. A two-time Audie Award finalist, Joe has also won five Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine for his audiobook narrations.
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