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The Egyptian: A Novel Paperback – Apr 1 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (April 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556524412
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556524417
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #205,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Waltari successfully combine[s] research, imagination, and the cunning of a good tale-teller in bringing the generation of Akhnaton to life.” —New York Herald Tribune

"A grand immersion into an epic tale." —Philadelphia Inquirer

About the Author

Mika Waltari (1908–1979) is best known for his historical novels, which include The Etruscan and The Roman. He is widely considered the greatest Finnish writer of the 20th century.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
"I, SINUHE, the son of Senmut and his wife Kipa, write this." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Egyptian set in the Amarna period of Ancient Egypt during the reigns of the pharaohs Amunhotep III, Akhenaten and Horemheb, covering the concluding years of the 18th dynasty of the New Kingdom (1386 - 1293 BC), an ear in Egyptian history that was marked by significant religious and political upheaval. The Egyptian is Sinuhe, a physician of unknown birth origin who was wrapped and cradled in a reed boat floating down the Nile. As he narrates his life story, which transcended years of warfare, plague, and fierce battle between gods. On the outside The Egyptian delineates the history of Egypt through its inveterate religious devotion to many gods. At the core of the novel finds one man's lifelong journey through many countries, like Babylon, Crete, and Mitannia, to knowledge. Sinehu possessed such lonely idealism that motivated him to devote his life searching for something so intangible yet greater than he beyond his understanding did. He was not ready to merely worshipping the gods - in fact, he insisted on questioning traditions and thus marked him as an outsider of his own culture.
The spine of the novel concerns the ferocious contention between Aton and the Ammon. Pharoach Akhenaten sought to disestablish the old gods with a relatively unknown deity called the Aton as the Ammon, the present godly sponsor, had accumulated so much wealth and power that the Ammon priests began to rival to that of the Pharoach. In order to achieve balance of power between Ammon and the throne, Akhenaten deposed the ancient gods and established Aton as a new state divinity. No sooner had Akhenaten adopted the new deity than Sinuhe ineluctably became entangled in conflict between tradition and innovation.
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If you enjoy reading about Egypt during the 14th century, you should find this a fascinating read. For the most part I found it quite captivating and was totally immersed in the story, especially the bond developing between the main character Sinuhe and his slave Kaptah. Their story alone is well worth the read. I did find some parts repetitive and lengthy which was to some extent disappointing. But overall it was extremely well written with several strong characters throughout the book.
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Format: Paperback
As a Finn I feel slight guilt over not having read Waltari at all before 2003. Prejudiced towards his era's Finnish authors or just against his name which for some peculiar reason represented something for "old generation" and boring, unenthusiastic way of story telling (who can claim Kalle Päätalo doesn't sound like a boring author too..). I read couple of his earlier works which haven't been translated into other languages I think and after those I was convinced that prejudice had ecclipsed the masteful story telling abilities of Mika Waltari. The Egyptian is the third Waltari book I have read. Doctor in ancient Egypt?? Written by a Finn and gotten huge success all over the world? Somewhat uncommon framework for a book and I had no idea what to expect. I did some cautious non-spoiling background digging in order to establish some sort of an idea of the book. I learned that egyptologists consider the book amazingly accurate description of the culture in that era and that Waltari had done his Egypt + surrouding areas research very well but had never visited Egypt. It is said that he didn't make notes about the facts but just remembered and understood the essence and wrote the book.
I found the story telling captivating and humour embedded in especially Kaptah's long monoloques in a dialoque with Sinuhe were hilarious. Yet this story has a lot of philosophical pondering which always fits the storyline and doesn't seem separate from the story. Hence a combination of things that make one stop to think and digest every once in a while and the entertaining and uplifting humour and tragicomedy. Simplicity and complexity of characters, cunning manipulation and clever psychology all coats the story with even more interesting aspects not to mention the adventure Sinuhe and Kaptah go through.
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Format: Paperback
First published in 1949 and now reprinted this is actually a wonderfull book defining the times of ancient Egypt through the eyes of one of the 'common' folk.
The author allows us to see the wold through the eyes of a young man, Sinuhe, who, following in the footsteps of his physician father decides to dedicate his life to furthering his knowledge and become the best physician for both the rich and the poor....
Having a very limited 'social' exposure the the wealthy our hero meets a young nymph, so beautifull and alluring she may as well have been Nefertiti herself. The reader practically squeams in anguish as we see the young Sinhue sell anything and everything, including his own parents burial tomb in order to spend even one night alone with this girl. To say that things go badly would be an understatement and so we see our hero forced to flee his homeland in search for knowledge ....
The interesting thing about this book is that we get to see the times through the eyes of a commoner rather than thruogh the eyes of the more obvious royalty of Cleopatra, King Tut or Nefertiti ..... As a reader I did find the story frustrating in that one would almost want to scream out ... no no no no you idiot, can't you see that you are being used .... but I guess thats the whole point of reading a book that allows the reader to get involved ....
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