NONFICTION

The Curse of the Mummy: Uncovering Tutankhamun’s Tomb

Scholastic Focus. Sept. 2021. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338596618.
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Gr 6 Up–Fleming has done it again and created another engaging nonfiction history for middle and high school students with this deep dive into the excavation of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Grave robbers had been looting Egyptian tombs for thousands of years and British and French politics dominated Egypt at the turn of the century with little oversight of the ransacking. Despite this disarray, Tutankhamun’s tomb remained hidden and largely untouched until 1922, when it was unearthed by Howard Carter, an archaeologist seen as a disreputable outsider in Europe’s snobbish Egyptology scene. He was working for the hapless Lord Carnarvon, a British noble who fancied excavation as a hobby. Together they would toil away for years, excavating the hundreds of treasures while battling local and international politics over ownership rights. With swiftly moving text, Fleming covers many aspects of the story, including the gruesome mummification process, ancient Egyptian history, as well as the discriminatory policies of colonial rule. In addition to a spirited narrative of the facts, Fleming adds to the mystery and intrigue by opening each chapter with dark, cryptic anecdotes of some of the strange, unexplained deaths that were often attributed to the belief that the tomb was cursed. A final chapter discusses the possibilities and probabilities of such a curse.
VERDICT This engrossing read is a sure bet that will please all history lovers. Recommended for all libraries serving teens.

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