Monday, August 19, 2013

Akhenaten, Karatoum, and an Archaeological Dig in the Sudan

The wreck of the Beatice, a brig carrying Egyptian antiquities, foundered off the coast of Spain in the 1800s. Among the artifacts was the sarcophagus of the fourth dynasty pharoah, Menkaure. Jack Howard and Costas dive to discover the location of the wreck. They find it and to their surprise the sarcophagus contains a plaque depicting Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti. This find sets the stage for an adventure that uncovers more interesting artifacts from the reign of Akhenaten. That's one part of the story.

The other part of the story concerns the 1884 British relief expedition struggling to reach Karatoum to rescue General Gordon. Major Mayne, a sharp-shooter is sent ahead of the expedition to try to convince Gordon to leave his post, an action he is very reluctant to take. This story is lightly tied to the Jack and Costas adventure mainly through Gordon's interest, and that of other British army officers, in the Egyptian antiquities.

The book is actually two stories, the adventure story and the story of the Karatoum relief expedition. Personally, I found the story of the Karatoum expedition the most interesting. It is well researched and presents a clear picture of the suffering experienced by the expedition moving up the Nile against the current.

The adventure story is the usual adventure story where high tech is used to search for ancient ruins. I found this story interesting, but not as well done as the Karatoum portion. I would rate this story three stars and the Karatoum adventure five stars. This averages out to a rating of four stars for the book. I recommend this book only if you enjoy the coupling of an adventure story with an historical novel.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.