The Shadow King: The Bizarre Afterlife of King Tut's Mummy [NOOK Book]


More than 3,000 years ago, King Tutankhamun?s desiccated body was lovingly wrapped and sent into the future as an immortal god. After resting undisturbed for more than three millennia, King Tut?s mummy was suddenly awakened in 1922. Archaeologist Howard Carter had discovered the boy-king?s tomb, and the soon-to-be famous mummy?s story?even more dramatic than King Tut?s life?began.

The mummy?s ?afterlife? is a modern story, not an ancient one....
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The Shadow King: The Bizarre Afterlife of King Tut's Mummy

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More than 3,000 years ago, King Tutankhamun’s desiccated body was lovingly wrapped and sent into the future as an immortal god. After resting undisturbed for more than three millennia, King Tut’s mummy was suddenly awakened in 1922. Archaeologist Howard Carter had discovered the boy-king’s tomb, and the soon-to-be famous mummy’s story—even more dramatic than King Tut’s life—began.

The mummy’s “afterlife” is a modern story, not an ancient one. Award-winning science writer Jo Marchant traces the mummy’s story from its first brutal autopsy in 1925 to the most recent arguments over its DNA. From the glamorous treasure hunts of the 1920s to today’s high-tech scans in volatile modern Egypt, Marchant introduces us to the brilliant and sometimes flawed people who have devoted their lives to revealing the mummy’s secrets, unravels the truth behind the hyped-up TV documentaries, and explains what science can and can’t tell us about King Tutankhamun.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Smithsonian Magazine, June 2013
“[A] thoughtful account of the post-unearthing life of the famous royal…an entertaining, lively book—she also interjects common sense, science and authentic history into her account…In the context of Marchant’s book, the initial discovery fades: Real insight lies in the layers that time and new technologies reveal about the king and his nation.”

New Jersey syndicated “First Read” column, 5/26/13
“A fascinating tale”

Nature, 6/27/13 “[The] rip-roaring story unwraps the science layer by layer, in tandem with the momentous discoveries and the emergence of theories on the ruler's health and parentage”

Sacramento Bee, 6/30/13
“It’s been a wild ride for King Tutankhamun’s mummy…Marchant separates the facts from the fiction that has surrounded the controversial relic and explains ‘what science can and can’t tell us’ about King Tut.”

American Way Magazine, 7/1/13

New Scientist
"An unusual, gripping spin on the familiar."

The Book Bag
"A must-read for anyone who is fascinated in the history of Egypt."

San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review
“This is science journalism at its best – elucidating, thorough, and just plain fun…Intense and exciting, The Shadow King is written like a fast-paced detective novel, with cliff-hanger chapter endings and breathtaking impetus. In the hands of a good writer, even the driest subject becomes fascinating. The Egyptian mummies are about as dry as they get, but in Marchant’s extremely competent hands, they are resurrected into a vivid afterlife, albeit one they may not have imagined.”

Wall Street Journal, 7/27/13
“Marchant expounds Tut's scientific aspects and mysteries with engaging clarity.”

“Well worth a read for anyone who's interest in the Pharaohs.” 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306821349
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 359,493
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Jo Marchant is an award-winning journalist who specializes in writing about cutting-edge science. She has worked as a staff reporter and editor for Nature and New Scientist, where she is currently a consultant. She lives in London.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013


    Way too long a review and I dont think it's a review. ITS A STORY? ITS WAY TOO LONG!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2013

    I have always had a soft spot for archaeology, Egyptology, and a

    I have always had a soft spot for archaeology, Egyptology, and all things ancient but have never had the time to read and research as much as I would like,  so when the opportunity to review The Shadow King arose I was very excited to say the least!  It has been a long time since I had read anything of substance on the subject, especially about Tutankhamun, well since I had visited the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 2005.  I was hoping that the Shadow King would be a great re-introduction to this mysterious ancient king and maybe provide some additional information I hadn't encountered before, but it was much, much more!

    Framed around the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 and the subsequent research on his mummy through the next 90 years, Marchant branches out to give us a snapshot of the evolution of Egyptology, archaeology as a whole, and forensic anthropology.  This story flows in a very accessible, easy to read narrative that gives the readers an overview of the evolution of the science behind studying ancient Egypt.  From the days of treasure hunting Europeans to more scientifically minded Egyptian nationals, Marchant tells a story of what would now be considered mistreatment of artifacts to the careful analysis of hard data.

    Not dry in the slightest, the story of these mummies, their discovery, and analysis (especially Tutankhamun himself) is fraught with politics, in-fighting, and a myriad of different stories about his life and death.  We see how after his undisturbed 3,000 year rest, Tut's mummy became a media sensation almost overnight, leading to two different waves of "Tutmania" in the 1970s and 2000s.   Learn how changes in forensics from basic autopsy to DNA analysis have taken Tut from an 18 year old murder victim to a buck-toothed, club-footed, disease-ridden invalid, to a strong charioteer and general and then back again as Egyptologists attempt to interpret their data.

    As the story unfolds, Marchant does an excellent job of keeping interest alive, providing an excellent balance between the modern analysis of the mummies and the intrigue behind the scenes that has gone on non-stop from Howard Carter through Zahi Hawass and beyond.  She is able to paint vivid images of the work and research, as well as the conditions of the mummies and how in the end scientists have found Tutankhamun's embalming to be rather unique.  All of this was of great benefit to me as my review copy was on the Kindle and I didn't have the benefit of the reference images until the very end.

    I highly recommend The Shadow King to anyone who even has a passing interest in Ancient Egypt, archaeology, or forensic science.  It pulls together the ups and downs of scientific research and interpretation that reads at times with the intrigue of a thriller while still staying based in the fact.  The reader is able to reach their own conclusions, especially in the area of ancient DNA analysis where even those involved in the research admit there is an "all or nothing" approach to its acceptance.  The Shadow King has rekindled my interest and love of Ancient Egypt and can only hope that as politics in the region settle, more research and progress will be made before too long!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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