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Reviews of Egyptologist, the (2004)

Review by SlowRain (2007-06-13)
This is an epistolary novel set in the early part of the twentieth century told from alternating points of view of an Egyptologist on the brink of a major discovery and an Australian private investigator whose missing-person case takes him all over the world.

I am of two minds over this novel. On the one hand, it is a great look at self-delusion, seeking fame and immortality, projection, the accuracy of any historical document or discovery, rewriting history, lying; and I donít disagree with anything the author says in that regard. On the other hand, it is just too long and obvious. The bulk of the somewhat intricate plot was understood in about the first one-third of the novel, the rest was just verification of what we mostly knew. There is a small but enjoyable twist at the end, but it doesnít justify the overly lengthy period we have to spend enduring these two menís megalomania just to get there. I also question whether the Egyptologist would have really written down all of the things that he did: it seemed to be more Arthur Phillips trying to help the readers of the novel (not to be confused with the Egyptologistís intended readers of his discovery) than something that a person would actually write in that situation.




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