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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2012
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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on September 8, 2002
One of the best things an historical novel can do is create a long-ago time and place for us . . . and convince us that what it has given us is how things might really have been. This THE EGYPTIAN does in spades.
The tale of an ancient Egyptian physician's life and times, this book follows the events and travels of the aptly named Sinuhe, surnamed He Who is Alone, from his mysterious birth through early childhood into young adulthood and, beyond, to the waning days of a long and troubled life. Cast out and dishonored because of youthful folly (a folly, indeed that he never seems to outgrow), Sinuhe flees the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes and enters the wider world where he becomes a true man of that world, adventurer and sojourner, physician and spy, while, all along, offering us an up-close look at that world as it might really have been. With him, we visit ancient Babylon and Hatti (land of the Hittites), and Crete where the bull dancers plied their trade. And we are carried back and forth through Egypt and Syria as Sinuhe becomes absorbed in the great events of his day as they worked themselves out on their ancient stage.
Unfortunately, Sinuhe is also a somewhat tiresome, and even foolish, character who is not always fully sympathetic as he consistently makes doltish choices and throws away what he should hold onto for his very life. He is seemingly caught up in every roiling current the world sends his way, unable to set his own course and, inevitably, an evil fate dogs his tracks for this great failing. But he is, in the process, witness to the rise and fall of the visionary pharaoh Akhenaton and to the great wars which rocked his ancient world and which eventually precipitated the fall of the mighty civilizations of the Bronze Age.
In the end, the mood is one of sorrow and resignation in the face of existence itself, a mood that is very redolent of the spirit found in the writings of those ancient times. And so Sinuhe, named for another mythical Egyptian traveler whose story has come down to us in the archaeological records, is very much a creature of his world and that, surely, is an accomplishment for any writer of historical fiction.
This is a fine piece of historical writing and one of the better renderings of ancient Egypt and its Bronze Age world that I have found. Aside from Sinuhe's foolishness, I was a little troubled by the somewhat meandering narrative approach with lengthy dead spots and constant coincidences where the same characters consistently run into each other. But basically this was a good one and the fine narrative "ear" for time and place more than offset the book's other failings. My kind of book!
SWM
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on September 17, 1997
In all the best selling novels sold today; there is love, lost love, hope, hopelessness, dispair, tragedy, and hope again.

These elements (in whichever order the author chooses to give them to the reader) are essential to good character development and indepth plot construction. In "The Egyptian" Mika Waltari not only manifests these 'essentials' with the gifted hand of a Houdini; he weaves them into a historical setting that virtually brings ancient Egypt alive.

No one can read this book and not experience the strength of true love; the foolishness of the human heart; the dreams men have dreamt throughout the ages; or fail to see the insight with which one man perceives himself, and those he comes in contact with. This is a must book for all:

Physicians, lovers, dreamers, and psychologists alike will walk the streets of ancient Thebes and smell the fish broiling on open braziers as the sun slowly settles into the Land of the Dead.

Walk the Black Lands. Flee to the Red Lands. Love the beautifull Nefernefer. Stand beside Pharoah. Savor the best life has to offer, then shiver at the bitter taste of misfortune. Learn life as it has never be taught before, or since.

Published originally in 1945, The Egyptian was an instant international success. It has since been translated into at least five different languages. It's time for you to find out why
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on January 31, 2004
In this epic novel, Mika Waltari traces a portion of Egyptian history through the eyes of Sinuhe, the physician to the Pharaoh Akhnaton. His humble and mysterious origin colors his views as he bears witness to the winds of change in Egypt as the Pharaoh supplants the old gods for a new one, much to the dismay of his citizens. He also is witness to the rise of Horemheb, whom he calls a friend, as this military general defeats the encroaching Hittites and eventually becomes the next Pharaoh. Brilliantly illuminating life in ancient Egypt, Waltari entertains readers with a tale of love and loss, of war and tragedy, of friendship and betrayal. "The Egyptian" sometimes comes across as plodding or dry by modern standards, but the fascinating and flawed main character entrances readers to reach the final pages.
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on January 27, 2001
Definetely very interesting. The author takes you into a journey of the best things in the ancient ligfe and the scum of societey. I would describe the highlights as the moments when he makes you think about life per se thinking a bou a ajourney that can provide the best of all worlds. History and the pharaohs are present.... Egypt will always be a mistery. It is interesting indeed to recall that milleniums before people were struggling about the same things we do nowadays, gods permanency, people power, conquest, mopney... family , feelings, love, life and death.......
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on February 23, 2000
Mr. Waltari's storytelling style comes forth in colorful detail and complex characters. The mix of history, intrigue and involves the reader in a way that one feels as if one is in these ancient places with these people. The characters are fleshed out to the point that one could almost toch these people and engage them in a conversation. "The Egyptian" is a tour-de-force of storyteling and social commentary. It is a great read and a compelling story for lovers of history and epics.
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on February 23, 2000
Mr. Waltari's storytelling style comes forth in colorful detail and complex characters. The mix of history, intrigue and involves the reader in a way that one feels as if one is in these ancient places with these people. The characters are fleshed out to the point that one could almost toch these people and engage them in a conversation. "The Egyptian" is a tour-de-force of storyteling and social commentary. It is a great read and a compelling story for lovers of history and epics.
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Waltari seems a neglected author, and it's good to see him (her?) back in print. The Egyptian is the last of a trilogy, but can be read on its own. The story is circuitous, readable - maybe a little dry (almost dull) but parts are very readable - the brain surgery scene I can visualize still. It's good to read an epic that is non-biblical, but as weighty as if it were. Good fiction, in short. Waltari writes as if the events of yesterday were closer than we thought
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