Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead

Nick Drake, Author
Nick Drake, Author . HarperCollins $24.95 (349p) ISBN 978-0-06-076589-7
Reviewed on: 02/05/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007

Rai Rehotap, the complex sleuth of this excellent mystery debut from British poet and playwright Drake (The Man in the White Suit ), is very much a creature of his time—ancient Egypt—but is possessed of investigative instincts that will be familiar to readers of classic whodunits. The author artfully places his plot during a time of great significance to ancient Egyptian society—the reign of King Akhenaten, whose reforms included an effort to do away with the established religious order, and who consequently evoked the wrath of powerful figures vested in the status quo. The king summons Rehotap to track down the ruler's powerful and charismatic partner, Queen Nefertiti, whose disappearance weeks before a great festival threatens the stability of the new regime. Drake displays great mastery of period detail, and if some readers are able to anticipate the identity of the person behind the novel's chaos, they'll still find themselves swept away to a far-off time with contemporary echoes. (Apr.)

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