Being an immortal 14-year-old pharaoh isn’t all scepters and servants; there’s also the overthrowing of a homicidal cult—and finishing one’s homework.
Shortly after Tutankhamun discovers that his uncle and trusted adviser, Horemheb, is part of the cult of Set, god of chaos, he also learns that Horemheb murdered the pharaoh’s family and means to kill him, too. After a struggle at knifepoint in Tut’s soon-to-be-tomb, an incantation from the Book of the Dead renders both nephew and uncle immortal, with only Tut managing to escape before the tomb is sealed. Flash forward 3,300 years to Washington, D.C. Tut is an eternal eighth-grader (“Why did I have to be fourteen? It was perpetual puberty”) and has been coerced into another year of school by his immortal guardian, Gil (as in Gilgamesh). When Tut finds evidence of Horemheb and Set’s cult in D.C., revenge becomes his obsession. Merging the voice of an outspoken contemporary 14-year-old with centuries-old expletives (“Holy Amun!”) renders Tut both comedic and devoted to his origins. Gods and goddesses abound (Horus is Tut’s one-eyed cat; Isis is a demented mortician), and at times the pages feel cluttered with deities who aren’t particularly important to the story. Plagues, pestilence and floods in D.C. as threats don’t feel all too threatening. Conversely, the tension between Tut and creepy Horemheb is a well-placed and -paced plot driver.
A pyramid history buffs and fantasy fans will delight in excavating. (Fantasy. 11-14)