Authors: James Patterson,Martin Dugard
Copyright © 2009 by James Patterson
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For Frank Nicolo
JUST LIKE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, I have my own style manual. “JP Writing Style and Book Elements” is a list of nineteen bulleted
points that I keep within arm’s reach whenever I’m working. Point number eighteen is written in capital letters, because no
matter how often I read it, I need to be reminded that it is of the utmost importance: RESEARCH HELPS. DON’T FAKE ANYTHING—NOT
BRAIN TUMORS, NOT DROWNINGS, NOT EVEN A BEE STING.
I don’t think I’ve ever done more research for a book. From the instant the idea hit me and I teamed up with Marty Dugard
to write this story, it’s been total immersion in ancient Egypt. The book is a murder mystery, but the plunge back in time
added a whole other layer of detective work. We didn’t just need to know the players in our drama; we also needed to know
what foods they ate, the clothes they wore, how they loved, and, ultimately, the ways they might have killed each other.
Like number eighteen says: DON’T FAKE ANYTHING.
So we didn’t. Marty’s historical legwork involved trips to London and to Tut’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. I lost
myself in books and online research. We then combined our notes and began writing. One astounding fact about Egyptian history
is that so much of it is still unknown. So when we came to a gap, we went back to the research for answers. Then we put forth
our theory as to what happened. We constructed conversations and motives and rich scenes of palace life—all grounded in long
hours of research.
It’s nothing new for histories to be speculative, but there’s a difference between guessing and basing a theory on cold hard
facts. We chose the facts.
As for Howard Carter, he is almost a contemporary, so his life was much easier to document. I resisted the temptation to speculate
about his relationship with Lady Evelyn Herbert, though I thoroughly hoped to find a steamy journal entry that would allow
me to muse at will. You can draw your own conclusions.
I hope you enjoy
The Murder of King Tut
. It’s been a lot of fun to write. I became quite fond of the ill-fated Boy King and his equally ill-fated queen. They lived
thousands of years ago, but their love for each other was so powerful and real that I believe they had one of history’s great
romances. It’s a shame it all had to end so soon—and so mysteriously.
IT WAS NEW YEAR’S EVE as a somber, good-looking explorer named Howard Carter, speaking fluent Arabic, gave the order to begin
Carter stood in a claustrophobic chamber more than three hundred feet underground. The air was dank, but he craved a cigarette.
He was addicted to the damn things. Sweat rings stained the armpits of his white button-down, and dust coated his work boots.
The sandal-clad Egyptian workers at his side began to shovel for all they were worth.
It had been almost two years since Carter had been thrown from his horse far out in the desert. That lucky fall had changed
He had landed hard on the stony soil but was amazed to find himself peering at a deep cleft in the ground. It appeared to
be the hidden entrance to an ancient burial chamber.
Working quickly and in secret, the twenty-six-year-old Egyptologist obtained the proper government permissions, then hired
a crew to begin digging.
Now he expected to become famous at a very young age—and filthy rich.
Early Egyptian rulers had been buried inside elaborate stone pyramids, but centuries of ransacking by tomb robbers inspired
later pharaohs to conceal their burial sites by carving them into the ground.
Once a pharaoh died, was mummified, and then sealed inside such a tomb with all his worldly possessions, great pains were
taken to hide its location.
But that didn’t help. Tomb robbers seemed to find every one.
Carter, a square-shouldered man who favored bow ties, linen trousers, and homburg hats, thought this tomb might be the exception.
The limestone chips that had been dumped into the tunnels and shaft by some long-ago builder—a simple yet ingenious method
to keep out bandits—appeared untouched.
Carter and his workers had already spent months removing the shards. With each load that was hauled away, he became more and
more certain that there was a great undisturbed burial chamber hidden deep within the ground. If he was right, the tomb would
be filled with priceless treasures: gold and gems, as well as a pharaoh’s mummy.
Howard Carter would be rich beyond his wildest dreams, and his dreams were indeed spectacular.
“The men have now gone down ninety-seven meters vertical drop,” Carter had written to Lady Amherst, his longtime patron, “and
still no end.” Indeed, when widened the narrow opening that he had stumbled upon revealed a network of tunnels leading farther