The Visitors [NOOK Book]


From the New York Times bestselling author Sally Beauman comes an intensely atmospheric, spellbinding re-creation of Lord Carnarvon's hunt for Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.

Sent abroad to Egypt in 1922 to recover from the typhoid that has killed her mother, eleven-year-old Lucy becomes swept up in the feverish excitement surrounding the search for Tutankhamun's tomb. Through her friendship with Frances, the daughter of an American archaeologist, Lucy ...

See more details below
The Visitors

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$15.99 price


From the New York Times bestselling author Sally Beauman comes an intensely atmospheric, spellbinding re-creation of Lord Carnarvon's hunt for Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.

Sent abroad to Egypt in 1922 to recover from the typhoid that has killed her mother, eleven-year-old Lucy becomes swept up in the feverish excitement surrounding the search for Tutankhamun's tomb. Through her friendship with Frances, the daughter of an American archaeologist, Lucy witnesses first-hand the intrigue, politics, and passions surrounding this quest. Raised in a world in which adults are often cold and unpredictable, Lucy forms an immediate bond with Frances. Their friendship sustains them throughout childhood, guides them through the class-ridden colonial society in which they grow up, and takes them into an adult life that promises fulfilment—until it veers toward heartbreak.

Deftly constructed and transportive, peopled by powerful characters, moving from the 1920s to the present day, The Visitors is a timeless coming-of-age narrative set against the backdrop of profound historical change. But how is such change documented? Whose testimony is reliable? Which witness should we believe?

Looking back on her past much later in life, viewing it from the perspective of age, Lucy tells a deeply moving story of love and loss, of mistakes made and incendiary secrets concealed. She reveals the circumstances that lie behind the most celebrated discovery ever made in the Valley of the Kings, a discovery clouded by deception, in which triumph swiftly turned to tragedy; it is a story, as she comes to see, whose truths are both elusive and occluded, one that mirrors her own. As Lord Carnarvon and the archaeologist Howard Carter force the desert to yield its treasures, Lucy reveals the extremes to which people are driven by desire—even when these extremes involve building a life around a lie.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In best-selling author Beauman's (Destiny; Rebecca's Tale) latest novel, an elderly woman remembers archaeologist Howard Carter and the opening of King Tut's tomb in 1922. Eleven-year-old Lucy is shipped off to Egypt to recuperate after her mother's death from typhoid leaves her in the cold and distant care of her father. Soon after her arrival, she meets Frances, the daughter of an American archaeologist who introduces her to the exciting and politically fraught world of the Valley of the Kings. There are lots of familiar characters here, including Carter and his patron, Lord Carnarvon, who should appeal to fans of Egyptology. The mystery at the center of the plot, whether Carter and company opened the boy king's tomb illegally, keeps the story going through a few less successful subplots. Beauman particularly shines in the development of her characters: Carter is mercurial and difficult but fascinating, and the elderly Lucy is delightfully opinionated and great fun to read. VERDICT The novel isn't without its problems. Sometimes Lucy sounds a bit too grown-up for her age, and one plot line with Nicola, Lucy's governess-turned-stepmother, is tied up too neatly. But fans of the author's work, archeology, or historical sagas won't mind. [See Prepub Alert, 1/28/14.]—Liz Kirchhoff, Barrington Area Lib., IL
The Times (London)
“[A] beautifully written novel, a tale of intertwined lives that is at once powerful and haunting. Beauman maintains the tension surrounding the tomb’s discovery.”
Literary Review
“Interesting, unusual and informative, it is greatly enjoyable.”
New York Journal of Books
“There is much to delight in this book.…Nearly a century after King Tut’s discovery, Beauman manages to make both the lives of her fictional characters and those at the historical center of Tut’s unearthing riveting.”
Booklist(starred review)
“A book of astounding scholarship on Egyptology and the 1920s…. The novel’s…writing and characterizations are golden.”
“Atmospheric…. Sally Beauman’s fact-inspired story plunges readers into the thrilling search for King Tut’s tomb in 1922 Egypt.”
More magazine
“Romance, deception, and colonial decadence.”
Kirkus Reviews
This historical novel approaches, slantwise and at considerable length, the 20th century's most sensational archaeological event.The most obvious way to fictionalize the 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb would be to have the major players tell the tale—Howard Carter, principal archaeologist, and his financier and mentor, Lord Carnarvon (resident earl of Highclere Castle, of Downton Abbey fame). Beauman's (The Sisters Mortland, 2006, etc.) more original approach—have a character at the margins carry the narrative weight—is riskier. The narrator, Lucy, is 11 when she first arrives in Egypt after the untimely death of her mother. Her trip is financed by her wealthy American maternal grandparents, since her widowed father, a Cambridge classics don, cannot cope with a child. Through a new friend, Frances, whose parents are archaeologists, Lucy hovers on the fringes of the dig, which includes the irascible, hard-drinking Carter; the affable, high-minded Lord Carnarvon; and their entourage of scientists, curators, wives and lovers. Abetted by Lucy's snoopy spinster guardian, Miss Mack, the girls hone their eavesdropping skills on the scandals surrounding glamorous divorcée Poppy, one of the hangers-on. Forced to return to the gloomy home of her father, Lucy is schooled in the art of manipulation by her conniving governess, Nicola, soon to be her stepmother. Then Lucy escapes back to Egypt just as Lord Carnarvon and Carter reveal their find, exceptional not merely for the magnitude of its treasure, but for the fact that the tomb has remained, through three millennia, virtually unmolested by looters. The ensuing "Tutmania" has unintended consequences for both men. Lucy's juvenile point of view is interspersed with the retrospective musings of nonagenarian Lucy, as a documentary filmmaker pesters her to divulge the untold story of the Tut dig. Since the main event is recounted mostly through hearsay, Lucy and her fellow supernumeraries have to be interesting in their own rights for this novel to succeed, and perhaps by dint of the sheer number of pages they occupy, they almost are.There are riches here, but it takes patience to unearth them.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062302717
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/8/2014
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 18,567
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Sally Beauman

A native of the United Kingdom, Sally Beauman is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist who began her career at New York magazine. Her internationally bestselling novels, including Rebecca's Tale, her sequel to Daphne du Maurier's iconic work, have been translated into more than twenty languages. She has written for the New Yorker, the Sunday Times, and numerous other leading periodicals on both sides of the Atlantic. She lives in the United Kingdom.


Born Sally Kinsey-Miles in England, Sally Beauman graduated from Cambridge with a master's in English Literature and moved to the U.S. with her then-husband Christopher Bauman in the mid-1960s. She joined the staff of the newly formed New York magazine and traveled extensively through America before returning to England, where she continued to write for various publications, including the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, The Observer, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.

Bauman received the Katherine Pakenham prize for her journalism and became the youngest-ever editor of Queen magazine (now Harper's and Queen). But after the birth of her son, she found the demands of journalism and motherhood hard to combine, so she turned to full-time writing. Published in 1982, her first book was a serious, well-received work of nonfiction (The Royal Shakespeare Company: A History of Ten Decades). In 1986, Bauman forayed into fiction with Destiny, a controversial "romance" that raised eyebrows for its graphic sex and record-breaking one million dollar advance, the largest awarded to date for a first novel. The book, which became a huge bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, was widely misunderstood at the time of publication; today it's viewed as a feminist, genre-subversive study of a materialist woman living in a materialist man's world.

Destiny was followed by other bestsellers, including Dark Angel, three linked modern thrillers (Lovers & Liars, Danger Zones, and Sextet), and The Sisters Mortland. But the book for which Bauman is best known is Rebecca's Tale, a sequel to Daphne du Maurier's classic novel of gothic suspense. Growing out of a 1993 article on du Maurier written for Tina Brown's New Yorker, Bauman's story gestated for several years before emerging in 2001 as a rich reimagining of the first Mrs. de Winter's life at Manderlay.

Not unlike her idol du Maurier, Bauman has been saddled with the label of romance writer; in fact, the novels of both women embody a sophistication and complexity that transcends the genre. In an interview with her American publisher HarperCollins, Bauman stated emphatically: "The 'romantic novelist' tag infuriated du Maurier, and quite rightly: that particular slur was a product of lazy thinking, of feeble critical acumen. Rebecca is a profoundly anti-romantic novel, I would say; it uses the conventions of romantic fiction to explode and shatter the entire concept of romance. Is it romantic to end up as Mrs de Winter does, shackled to a murderer and a perjurer? Is it romantic to allow such a man to determine your very identity? I'd say that Rebecca is a novel fuelled by rage, not romance -- and in some ways the same is true of my own Rebecca's Tale."

Good To Know

Some fascinating anecdotes from our interview with Beauman:

"My first proper job was in America. I was hired as editorial dogsbody on the newly launched, shoestring budget New York magazine. By the time I got that job, I'd had rejection slips from just about every magazine on the East Coast, so I'd have done anything to get it -- if they'd wanted a cleaner, I'd have said ‘When do I start?'"

"I was hired because I had a Cambridge degree, a twenty two-year-old pretty face and an English accent. Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, and Jimmy Breslin were working for the magazine -- so I learned fast. I learnt: a) not to be English b) to meet deadlines and c) to push hard. The first piece I had published, and the first interview I ever did, was with Norman Mailer. He was making a movie on Long Island, and he threw me off the set. It was an excellent start."

"I'm a woman, and a mother and (just recently) a grandmother. That's important: women writers have to juggle their personal and professional lives in a way that very few male writers do -- you can't retreat to an ivory-tower study and slam the door when you're breast-feeding. I view that as an advantage: babies and children make you constantly re-examine your priorities; they're a humanizing force. Humbling, too."

"I like isolation. When I worked as a journalist, I was constantly surrounded by people -- it took a lot of adjusting when I began writing fiction, and learnt to spend long hours alone. Now, I love to be with my family, but I'm also addicted to silence and solitude -- so I have a house on a remote Hebridean island, and I go there every year to write. Miles of empty white sand beaches and a pounding Atlantic sea -- nothing but ocean between me and Newfoundland: I think it helps the prose."

"I don't really believe that readers should know very much about writers -- too much biographical information is irrelevant, and can get in the way. What matters is the work -- so I'd like them to know me through my books, through the words I put on a page."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 25, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Torquay, Devon, England
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English Literature, Hons Cantab, 1966; M. A., Hons Cantab, 1969

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 13, 2014

    The Visitors is the eighth novel by British-born author, Sally B

    The Visitors is the eighth novel by British-born author, Sally Beauman. Employing the narration of eleven-year-old Lucy Payne, a recent survivor of a bout of typhoid fever that claimed her American mother, Beauman plunges the reader deep into 1920’s Egypt as it stands on the brink of Howard Carter’s amazing discovery: King Tutankhamun’s tomb. As her father, a classicist Cambridge don is unable to cope with a young daughter, Lucy has been brought to Egypt by her guardian, Miss Mack, who is convinced it will help her to regain her zest for life. Encountering the British and American ex-pat community, she meets the rather precocious eight-year-old Frances Winlock, daughter of an American archaeologist, as well as ten-year-old Lady Rose Strathaven and her little brother, Petey (Viscount Hurst), children of the outrageous Poppy d’Erlanger, thus making lifelong friends, and finally starts to have some fun. Lucy’s narration follows events during her stay in Egypt, her return to Cambridge, vacation in Hampshire and her eventual return to the Valley of the Kings at the time of the great discovery. Occasionally, the narration switches to ninety-two-year-old Lucy, in her home in Highgate, London, looking back on her life, partly prompted by young Ben Fong, a documentary maker, and visits with the now elderly Lady Rose. In her old age, Lucy finds that “Grief’s talons are never sheathed, and its patient capacity to wound is unremitting”. Beauman’s novel takes the dry facts of the tomb’s discovery and brings them to life by inserting fictional characters and dialogue, along with a bit of drama and intrigue. The almost four pages of character summary (both real and fictional) will be much appreciated by readers, and the thirteen pages on people, places and provenance adds further to the interesting facts covered in the novel. Beauman’s pace is very measured and some readers may find it a little slow; the narrator is sometimes frustratingly unforthcoming, although this may simply be a device to build the story. Beauman expertly renders the feel of the early twentieth century in England and Egypt. She touches on several controversial topics: the ownership of the tomb relics; the curse of the tomb; the effect of tourism on the tombs. An interesting read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2014

    Became a visitor

    This novel helps one to also become a visitor to the Valley of the Kings in 1920's Egypt. Our child guide is insightful and complex but the real meat of the story for the Egyptian history lover are those little-known details surrounding the discovery and excavation of Tut's tomb. Intruiging and haunting, a recommended read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)