Article first published as Book Review: ‘Tutankhamen Speaks' by Cheryl Carpinello on Blogcritics.
June 25, 2015
New Young Adult Book Reveals Secrets of King Tut’s Lost Manuscript
King Tut is one of the most famous pharaohs of Ancient Egypt because of the discovery of his fabulous tomb, but until now, his full story has not been known. Young adult author Cheryl Carpinello has created an imaginative yet historical retelling of King Tut’s full life story in her new novel Tutankhamen Speaks.
Both a stand-alone young adult novel and a companion book to Carpinello’s time travel adventure novel, Sons of the Sphinx, Tutankhamen Speaks contains a letter to the author from an Egyptologist named S.W. Lothian. In it, Lothian includes the recently discovered manuscript that makes up the bulk of the novel; that manuscript tells the life story of King Tut in his own words. Of course, found manuscripts have long been a staple of adventure fiction, but what makes this one special is that old texts of ancient Egypt have long alluded to scrolls that recorded King Tut’s life story as he told it from beyond the grave. Of course, scholars thought it impossible that anyone—even a pharaoh—could speak after he was dead.
However, as Carpinello makes clear, King Tut could have spoken through a medium who then wrote down the tale. And what a tale it is! King Tut tells us his entire life story from when he was a boy and not yet acknowledged as heir to the throne of Egypt, through his father’s death and his own ascension to the throne; we learn of his love for Ankhesenpaaten, whom he married, the sadness they experienced at the loss of a child, and the politics and hierarchy of ancient Egypt with its court intrigue.
Being written in the form of an ancient manuscript, the story is broken up into fragments and in places pieces of the text are missing—another literary ploy by Carpinello, but one that will make young readers feel the manuscript and story are real—I was almost convinced myself. More importantly, readers will be able to see Ancient Egypt through the eyes of its most famous ruler and step into his shoes to discover what life was like four thousand years ago.
As a companion piece to Sons of the Sphinx, this book expands on many of the incidents in King Tut’s life that are referenced in that book. Both books stand alone, and either could be read first. Carpinello loves bringing the distant past to life through her books. Previously, she brought the time of King Arthur to young adult readers in her popular books Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend and The King’s Ransom. She knows well how to blend entertainment with information that will leave readers wanting to learn more about her topics—a skill she has gained from years of being involved in education. According to her website, she is currently working on more books, including ones set in Atlantis and Pompeii as well as a sequel to Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend.
Keep them coming, Cheryl. This adult reader loves them and I would have loved them as a kid even more! If I had read Tutankhamen Speaks when I was in school, I might have been inspired to fulfill my other dream of being an archeologist instead of an author.
For more information about Cheryl Carpinello and Tutankhamen Speaks, visit www.beyondtodayeducator.com.
— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., and award-winning author of The Children of Arthur series
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