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An Evil Spirit Out of the West [Paperback]

Paul Doherty
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 5 2004 Ancient Egyptian Mysteries (Book 1)

Known as the Veiled One, the ugly and deformed Akenhaten is a shadowy figure. As a child he was overlooked and despised by his own father, but as an adult he is thrust into the political limelight when his elder brother dies. Mahu, ambitious and ruthless, watches the young prince carve his path to power. He becomes Akenhaten’s protector and confidant and stands by as Akenhaten proclaims that there is only one God and that he is that God’s only son. Revolution and chaos ensure in a dramatic reign filled with fraud, abduction, assassination, betrayal, and treachery. When Mahu becomes suspicious of Akenhaten’s majestic and glorious wife Nefertiti and the political skill of her brother Ay, he suspects that a hidden and malign influence may have placed Akenhaten’s life in grave peril.

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'Doherty has typically woven a delightfully dark tale around what must have been the most remarkable period of Egyptian history...So stoke up the fire, draw the curtains and put your feet up in order to enjoy this delightfully spooky and robust tale of demons, death and disease in old Egypt. Great stuff!' Historical Novels Review Nov 2003 Historical Novels Review 'Doherty has typically woven a delightfully dark tale around what must have been the most remarkable period of Egyptian history...So stoke up the fire, draw the curtains and put your feet up in order to enjoy this delightfully spooky and robust tale of demons, death and disease in old Egypt. Great stuff!' Historical Novels Review Nov 2003 Historical Novels Review

About the Author

Paul Doherty is the author of several mystery series, including the Ancient Egypt Trilogy, the Ancient Roman Mysteries series, and The Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan series.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars First book in the Mahu trilogy Sept. 28 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first book in what I call the Mahu Trilogy.

Young Mahu, the son of a soldier, is left with his aunt (but they despise each other), and later he is essentially dumped into the Royal "Kap" (nursery), which turns out to be comprised of a small group of boys who are treated harshly and taught how to be soldiers, leaders, politicians, diplomats, scribes. Life-long friends (and enemies) are made here. Mahu is a sensitive child, but has to learn to be tough and ruthless in order to survive.This fact-based trilogy is sometimes hard to read, but it has a lot of twists and turns.

Mahu watches others claw at each other for power, but he doesn't share their ambitions or drive. All he wants is a happy, quiet life, but he's drawn into the most peculiar and outrageous plots and missions as his lack of ambition and good heart make him the favourite of Queens, Princes, Pharaohs, and Generals. They require Mahu to do their bidding, and often despite his better judgement, he keeps his promise or solemn vow of obedience and gets the job done.

The real Mahu re-copied his diaries as an old man (and left his manuscripts for the future) thousands of years ago, and I came to respect and like this man, whose fortunes changed with the wind (and the current ruler). He lived in a remarkable time, and saw the end times of one of the most magnificent periods in ancient Egypt (some would argue ancient Egypt's heyday). Mahu may have been dead for millennia, but his thoughts, philosophies, concerns, honest doubts, points of view, choices, agonies, and decisions are as relevant and timely now as they were then.

I pictured Christopher Gorham (Henry from TV's Harper's Island) as Mahu, and the movie I saw (in my mind) while reading this book blew my mind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Evil Spirit out of the West- Paul Doherty March 7 2010
Fantastic part 1 of a trilogy "Faction" on the life of Akhnaton, the heritic Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt. Doherty bring his characters to life...almost as if he'd actually been there in those times (1400th century BC).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A promising start to a new series Feb. 21 2005
By Wadjet - Published on
The Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten has been the subject of many, many novels, most of which I have read. P.C. Doherty is the author of many books, most of which I have read as well. I must say, however, that as novels about Akhenaten goes, this one is better than a lot I have read. And, as a book by P.C. Doherty, this book is also somewhat better than many of his medieval mysteries and a hundred times better than his other ancient Egyptian mysteries (The Slayers of Seth, etc.) which are marred by abysmal research and ridiculous plots. It reminds me a little bit of Naguib Mafouz's novel of Akhenaten, "Akhenaten, Dweller in Truth", but the plot is far more convoluted. I look forward to seeing how the series progresses.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When Gods were irreplaceable Feb. 6 2008
By Victor - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the more exciting books about ancient Egypt I have ever read. It is part one to trilogy about exhilarating events surrounding end of 18th dynasty of Egyptian pharaohs including famous Akhenaten, the ancient ruler who was trying to introduce the belief in one and omnipotent God - Aten, his most beautiful but quizzical wife Nefertiti, and Akhenaten's son, Tutankhamen. The story is told through memoirs of former Chief of Police and Head of Security, Mahu, who apparently left behind him the entire story written and later translated into Greek and Latin. I highly recommend the book and would rate it 5 stars except I would prefer Mahu not be a narrator and to read this book from the 3rd person point of view. Mahu is too me a bit too indulgent, self-made and irritating. But if Paul Doherty is accurate about truthfulness of Mahu's memoirs, this is one engrossing and vibrant tale about fabled Akhenaten (called the Veiled one or Grotesque one due to his body deformity), his rise to power, and sudden disappearance. The book is extremely rich in description of ancient Egyptian religious customs, everyday life and traditional lore. Paul Doherty, known from his medieval and other ancient Egyptian mysteries, comes up with intriguing tale of love, deception, revenge, greed and faith. He paints a breath-taking picture of ancient Egypt and its rulers, describes social issues and depicts religious struggles enfolding during introduction of Sun-disc God and desertion of traditional Egyptian deities, who happened to be irreplaceable and led to Akhenaten's demise. Paul Doherty uses extremely affluent but easy language to follow, and the book is well researched from the historical point of view, but doesn't confound people with lack of ancient history knowledge.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Egyptian Mystery Nov. 20 2006
By J. Chippindale - Published on
Paul Doherty is the consummate professional when it comes to writing historical novels. I for one do not know how he can be so prolific with his offering of books and yet make sure that each of them is well researched. Whether they be 13th, 14th, or fifteenth century they are always true to the period. He also writes about Ancient Egypt and Alexander the Great. Paul Doherty has the rare talent of making you feel as though you are there, be it medieval England, or battling with Alexander. The sounds and smells of the period seem to waft from the pages of his books. In this series he returns to Ancient Egypt.

This book has as its main character, Akenhaten, perhaps one of the most written about Pharaoh's of Ancient Egypt. Known as the Veiled One he had a turbulent and at times astounding reign. Akenhaten is thrust to the forefront of the political stage after the death of his elder brother. It is then that the ambitious and ruthless Mahu realises his own chance for fame and wealth, by becoming the protector of the young prince. He knows that by becoming the Akenhaten's protector and confidant he can rapidly increase his own status and power at the Egyptian court.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical fiction, a time of turmoil and change March 23 2007
By gilly8 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First in the believable fictional trilogy about Akhenaten, the mysterious mystical pharaoh, and the turmoil of his reign in which he attempted to entirely overthrow the old religions of Egypt. Paul Doherty, a professor of history who seems to research his books very well, is also an outstanding writer. This is the first in the series, narrated by Mahu, an actual historical character, the chief of police. Wonderful book!
4.0 out of 5 stars From faith to fanaticism to tyranny July 22 2010
By Susan E. Wood - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Doherty has done his homework about the most important aspects of Akhenaten's great heresy, and given us a psychologially plausible portrait of a remarkable man who began as a truly spiritual religious believer, but ended up doing more damage to his own country than just about any other king in Egyptian history. The reader, through the eyes of his loyal friend, sees him evolve from a likeable, deeply devout young man to an ambitious prince convinced of his own divine destiny to a zealot and fanatical persecutor of the old religion. Since every effort was made after Akhenaten's reign to erase his memory, there has to be a lot of guess-work involved in reconstructing how he arrived at his monotheistic beliefs and then succeeded, temporarily, at least, in imposing them on his empire. But I wouldn't doubt that it took a few bloody battles and purges before he consolidated his power. And of course there would have been ambitious power-seekers supporting him, whether or not they believed his religious doctrines. I can also believe that the Egyptian people were initially glad to be free of the immensely wealthy and powerful cult of Amun, before realizing that they'd traded it for something worse. That often happens in a revolution that leads to a theocracy (as in contemporary Iran!)

Another reviewer has attacked Doherty for historical inaccuracies, but there is no such thing as an historical novel that can escape them completely. It's always easy and fun to play the "gotcha" game -- for example, when you sail from Thebes to Tel el Amarna, you're going downriver, not up, and you certainly would not have sailed past fields of maize 3000 years before Columbus discovered the Americas. Maize is a new-world plant. And yes, I agree that Akhenaten was probably not deformed. It's possible, if we can take his portraits literally, that he had Marphan's Syndrome, but if he had it, then so did "beautiful" Nefertiti, whose portraits are stylized in exactly the same manner. The elongated hands, feet and faces in Amarna-period art might simply be a new artistic convention, possibly an exaggeration of personal features in the manner of a political cartoon, although obviously with a more serious intent. Artists who were suddenly encouraged to pursue realism might have gone to the opposite extreme from the idealized representations of earlier kings. But I'm willing to give Doherty his artistic license, and accept in the context of the novel that Akhenaten was grotesque while Nefertiti was beautiful. It is, after all, called "historical fiction" for a reason.
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