In The Valley Of The Kings: Howard Carter And The Mystery Of King Tutankhamun'S Tomb

In The Valley Of The Kings: Howard Carter And The Mystery Of King Tutankhamun'S Tomb

  • Publish Date: 2009-12-31
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Daniel Meyerson
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In 1922, the British archaeologist Howard Carter opened King Tutankhamuns tomb, illuminating the glories of an ancient civilization. And while the world celebrated the extraordinary revelation that gave Carter international renown and an indelible place in history, by the time of his death, the discovery had nearly destroyed him. Now, in a stunning feat of narrative nonfiction, Daniel Meyerson has written a thrilling and evocative account of this remarkable man and his times.

Carter began his career inauspiciously. At the age of seventeenunknown, untrained, untriedhe was hired as a copyist of tomb art by the brash, brilliant, and boldly unkempt father of modern archaeology, W. F. Petrie. Carter struck out on his own a few years later, sensing that something amazing lay buried beneath his feet, waiting for him to uncover it.

But others had the same idea: The ancient cities of Egypt were crawling with European adventurers and their wealthy sponsors, each hoping to outdo the others with glittering discoverieseven as growing nationalist resentment against foreigners plundering the countrys most treasured antiquities simmered dangerously in the background.

Not until Carter met up with the risk-taking, adventure-loving occultist Lord Carnarvon did his fortunes change. There were stark differences in personality and temperament between the cantankerous Carter and his gregarious patron, but together they faced down endless ridicule from the most respected explorers of the day. Seven dusty and dispiriting years after their first meeting, their dream came to astonishing life.

But there would be a price to pay for this partnership, their discovery, and the glory and fame it brought both menand the chain of events that transpired in the wake of their success remains fascinating and shocking to this day.

An enthralling story told with unprecedented verve, In the Valley of the Kings is a tale of mania and greed, of fame and lost fortune, of history and its damnations. As he did in The Linguist and the Emperor, Daniel Meyerson puts his exciting storytelling powers on full display, revealing an almost forgotten time when past and present came crashing together with the power to changeor cursemens lives. Best of the Month, May 2009: Hewn from his discovery of the treasure-laden tomb of Tutankhamum, the legacy of famed archeologist Howard Carter invokes notions of adventure, dark curses, and untold riches. Yet as cinematic as such stories may be, they are incongruous with a man who carved out an isolated existence sifting through the unforgiving desert sands. Author Daniel Meyerson maintains that the real story of Howard Carter is about struggle and pride, not gold and silver. At a time when archeology was dominated by the upper classes of society, Carter's lack of a genteel upbringing created a rather large chip on his shoulder. A desire to silence critics consumed him, and nearly lead to his own undoing "The same driven quality that enabled him to find Tut's tomb," explains Meyerson, "also brought about his downfall." Had a series of timely events not provided Carter a second chance at glory, one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century could very well still lie buried in Egypts Valley of the Kings. -- Dave Callanan

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Click on thumbnails for larger images

Howard Carter seated beside the coffin of King Tutankhamun 1926. Griffith Institute,University
Howard Carter, May 8, 1924 National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress
Statues of Memnon in Thebes. Francis Frith, Library of Congress

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