by Jonathan Cott ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 9, 1987
An intriguing biography that shuttles like a time machine between the 20th century and 1300 B.C., stopping at the various stages in the colorful life of Dorothy Eady (later known as Omm Sety), who believed she had once been a girl named Bentreshyt in ancient Egypt. Born in England in 1904, Eady went to Egypt in 1933, and lived there until her death in 1981. Cott paints a fascinating portrait of her in Renoir-like dabs of information gathered from her books, articles, letters, and diary, as well as from taped recordings of her conversations, and numerous interviews with those who knew her. Drawn to Egypt by her deep, lifelong belief that she had lived in Abydos during the 19th-Dynasty reign of Pharaoh Sety l, Eady became an assistant in the Department of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo. She worked there as a draftsman and writer for some 30 years, under archaeologists Dr. Selim Hassan and Dr. Ahmed Fakhry, often ""Englishing"" texts written by Egyptian archaeologists. Eventually, she made her way to Abydos, site of the most sacred center of the ancient Egyptian worship of Isis and Osiris, where she spent the remaining 25 years of her life. Though still working under the aegis of the Department of Antiquities, she lived much like one of the villagers, at times supporting herself by making and selling small craft items. She is said to have known about the location of certain sections of the ancient shrines long before they were discovered and excavated, and actually worshipped at the ancient shrines of Isis and Osiris, bringing offerings and celebrating ancient holy days, often acting as a guide through the shrines for scholarly visitors. The numerous details of ancient Egyptian dates, names and places mentioned here are impressively accurate, despite the fact that Greek designations such as Abydos, Isis and Osiris are used, when Eady surely knew the actual Egyptian names as Abtu, Au Set and Au Sar, if only front her work with archaeologists. Worth reading, and tantalizing enough to tempt its readers into a trip: to Abydos.
Pub Date: June 9, 1987
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1987
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