Hired by the Egyptology department of a Denver museum to create displays for an exhibit, medical illustrator Kate McKinnon encounters an intriguing enigma: the mummy of a young woman who lived thirty-three centuries ago, her ribs broken, one hand shattered, and a man's skull between her legs.
With the aid of radiologist Max Cavanaugh, employing the latest forensic and medical imaging techniques, Kate starts to unravel the millennia-old puzzle. And as the mummy's remarkable secrets come to light, a parallel story begins to unfold of a young girl born into a nest of vipers in an age when godlike pharaohs reigned in unimaginable splendor. Suddenly Kate finds herself on a twisting path leading her deeper into the shadows of anciet Kemet...and ever closer to the shocking revelations of a crime so staggering its horrific power remains undimished by the relentless passage of time.
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The Valley of the Nile has long nourished more than cotton and date palms: its soil has proved fertile for a growing number of authors who cast back through time to explore the delicately nuanced society of the ancient Egyptians. The region also seems a natural crossroads for the archaeological endeavor and the detective impulse: witness Elizabeth Peters's widely read Amelia Peabody series (The Ape Who Guards the Balance, The Deeds of the Disturber, etc.). Peters's spirited Victorian archeologist-sleuth has new competition in Carol Thurston's Kate McKinnon, an extraordinarily talented medical illustrator who loses her heart to Tashat, a 3,300-year-old mummy whose face Kate is painstakingly recreating for a Denver museum: "Tashat's body had been tightly swathed in linen, the outer layers stiffened with gesso and varnished to seal out moisture, then covered with a series of colorful scenes framed by gold bands that Kate thought might represent the landmarks in Tashat's short life, if only she could figure out how to read them."
The growing mystery surrounding the mummy (Why was she tortured before she died? Why is a man's head between her legs? What do the drawings that cover her casket mean? What of her striking resemblance to Nefertiti?) compel Kate to join detective forces with Max Cavanaugh, a radiologist and budding Egyptologist. Thurston's ambitious narrative partners the pair's research, intuition, and wild guesses with a slowly unfolding tale of love, deceit, and political upheaval, courtesy of interspersed sequences from the journal of Senekhtenre, an unorthodox physician from 1350 B.C. His stories of Nefertiti, Akhenaten, Tutankhamen, and Aset--a fascinating and equally outrageous young girl--will reveal the tantalizing keys to the mysteries Kate and Max are intent on solving.
The Eye of Horus contains perhaps more information than is really good for it: Thurston's careful, even obsessive, research in Egyptology and forensic archaeology is evident, but the material occasionally proves too heavy a burden for the plot to carry. Her sense of pacing is often phlegmatic, when her story cries out for a light and rapid touch. But even in its boggy patches, the novel is sure to captivate those with a taste for the ancient, the modern, the mysterious, and the eerily profound. --Kelly FlynnAbout the Author:
Carol Thurston has a Ph.D. in communications, has taught journalism, and has served as a political speechwriter. As a journalist, she has traveled widely from France, Germany, and the Netherlands to Morocco, writing about science as well as political issues. Thurston lives in Austin, Texas, and is currently at work on her next novel.
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