RETURN TO THEBES by Allen Drury

RETURN TO THEBES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The last pharaohs of Egypt's 18th dynasty--Akhenaten, Tutankhamon, Aye, and Horemheb-speak only a few of the monologues that shape the incestuous and murderous action of this sequel to God Against the Gods. We also hear from Nefertiti, the wife Akhenaten ignores; Smenkhkara, the ""golden"" brother who shares Akhenaten's throne and bed; and a dozen other relatives, plotters, and innocent bystanders. It's a solid enough device as long as Akhenaten is alive--fascinating, misshapen Akhenaten, who has failed in his attempt at monotheism (exalting only Aten, wiping out all signs of Amon) and who has provoked gossip and treason with his excessive brotherly love and his political gaucheries. Soon the Akhenaten family's murdered, kid brother Tutankhamon's in token command, and we have to endure a lot of processions before a final wave of violence will make way for ""Ramesses."" All those first-person spiels do manage to keep the history dusted, but, with fragmented viewpoints, only Akhenaten can grab any sympathy. Still, this is supremely accessible Egyptology, and--notwithstanding the C. B. de Milleto-Damon Runyon dialogue-those museum pieces will never look the same.

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 1977
Publisher: Doubleday