The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson and Martin Dugard

In common with many children of my generation, I went through a phase of being fascinated by ancient Egypt and watched the various movies that were around in the 70s and 80s inspired by Egyptology. So the story of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen is reasonably familiar to me.

An easy read

The Murder of King Tut is an easy read – ostensibly non-fiction it read more like fiction to me and the best parts of the tale in my opinion are the sections describing the relationship between Nefertiti and her husband, and later between Tutankhamen and his sister/wife.

The Howard Carter story line seemed to lack depth of character while the interjections of Patterson’s own reactions and observations, including those on his femme fatale wife, seemed to add little to the overall telling of the tale.

Short chapters and wide margins make for a quick read. I found The Murder of King Tut enjoyable – a good holiday read but perhaps not to be taken too seriously.

 

True Compass – A Memoir by Edward M Kennedy

Like most Irish people, I have always had an interest in Edward M Kennedy or Ted Kennedy and his famous brothers.

Indeed, any Irish child of  the sixties will have memories of the Kennedys. Few other families can claim to have influenced history in quite the same way as the Irish American Kenndy clan – the glamour, the tragedy, the flawed greatness. And Edward M Kennedy was no exception. Whatever you think of the mistakes he made throughout his life, it is hard not to respect his attempts to learn from them. True Compass: A Memoir starts a little shakily and you have sense of it being written at speed but as he gets into his stride – and particularly in the chapters where he talks about John F Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Nixon, Carter and Clinton – you can’t help but be fascinated by Edward M Kennedy’s view. He is an intelligent and sharp observer and has some interesting insights. This Edward M Kennedy memoir makes me want to read more about that period. If you are dithering over whether to buy this or not, I don’t hesitate to recommend it. I found it readable and interesting.

The Bankers by Shane Ross

The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees by Shane Ross is an  interesting read for anyone curious about the reasons behind Ireland’s economic crash. It provides a lot of background and insight to the stories that dominated the Irish media and is one of a number of books published in 2009 that explore the reasons for the collapse of the Irish economy. Shane Ross lays the blame with the bankers and also has harsh words for the regulators. The Bankers is a well-written, fast-paced read, liberally peppered with names that will be familiar to anyone who has read the Irish business pages over the last decade. At just under 300 pages, it covers a lot of ground, is eye-opening at times and will certainly leave you wiser.