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Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs

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Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs, 2nd edition
A Popular History of Ancient Egypt
By Barbara Mertz
William Morrow, 2007
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN 13: 978-0-06-125276-1

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - December 28, 2007

If you are familiar with Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody series, you know just how accurate and detailed Peters knowledge of Ancient Egyptian history and archaeology is. And it is no wonder seeing that Elizabeth Peters is the pen name of Dr. Barbara Mertz, an Egyptologist who received a doctorate in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. To the Amelia Peabody series, Mertz brings her extensive academic training in the field of Egyptology to create a vivid and accurate backdrop for her fictional series. To her nonfiction book, Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt Mertz brings her talent and skills as a fiction writer to create a gripping and fascinating account of the history of Ancient Egypt.

For those not familiar with the Amelia Peabody series, this is a fictional mystery series set in the Victorian era. Amelia Peabody an heiress who eventually marries Radcliffe Emerson, an Egyptologist. Together they embark on a historical and archaeological study of Egyptology that, through the series, transpires over several decades. Along the way, Peabody routinely finds herself embroiled in various mysteries that she must solve or in stopping nefarious criminals in their tracks.

Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs was originally published in 1964. Since then, much new information has been learned about Ancient Egypt, making the original edition of this book informative, but sadly out-of-date. This new, second edition of Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs has been newly revised and updated, thereby bringing it up-to-date with the latest research in the field, and making this once again the premier introductory book on the subject of Ancient Egypt. The second edition of this history will delight not only historians and general readers with an interest in Egyptology, but also readers of the Amelia Peabody series who are desirous of gaining a greater understanding of the history of the region that Peabody strives to uncover during her archaeological digs.

Mertz's research is impeccable, and she writes with authority and erudition. Yet this is not your typical history book. Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs is written in a witty and graceful style. Rather than attempt to provide a comprehensive, historical overview of ancient Egypt, Mertz's purpose in with this book is to provide a general, and accessible introduction to the period, its people, and Egyptian society by painting a realistic picture of what everyday life was like for the Ancient Egyptians.

Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs is a readable account that will delight readers of all ages. As well, Mertz's writing is lively, entertaining, and enlightening. I found this book to be a fascinating read, and Mertz's writing is very engaging. As well, numerous illustrations are included that greatly enhance the text. This is a book that will stir your imagination, gratify your curiosity, and encourage you to learn more about the world that was Ancient Egypt. I highly recommend this book as a general introduction to the history of Ancient Egypt and I rate this a must-read for fans Amelia Peabody series.

Related Reviews:

Write Your Own Egyptian Hieroglyphs, by Angela McDonald.
Lavishly illustrated, this is a marvelously informative and fun to read book that will introduce novice Egyptologists to the fundamentals of reading and writing Egyptian hieroglyphs.

How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs, by Mark Collier and Bill Manley.
This is a step-by-step guidebook that enables you to teach yourself how to read Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

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