Egypt's Golden Couple

When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth

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Pub Date 01 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2022


Two celebrated Egyptologists bring to vivid life the intriguing and controversial reign of King Tut's parents.

Akhenaten has been the subject of radically different, even contradictory, biographies. The king has achieved fame as the world's first individual and the first monotheist, but others have seen him as an incestuous tyrant who nearly ruined the kingdom he ruled. The gold funerary mask of his son Tutankhamun and the painted bust of his wife Nefertiti are the most recognizable artifacts from all of ancient Egypt. But who are Akhenaten and Nefertiti? And what can we actually say about rulers who lived more than three thousand years ago?

November 2022 marks the centennial of the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun and although "King Tut" is a household name, his nine-year rule pales in comparison to the revolutionary reign of his parents. Akhenaten and Nefertiti became gods on earth by transforming Egyptian solar worship, innovating in art and urban design, and merging religion and politics in ways never attempted before.

Combining fascinating scholarship, detective suspense, and adventurous thrills, Egypt's Golden Couple is a journey through excavations, museums, hieroglyphic texts, and stunning artifacts. From clue to clue, renowned Egyptologists John and Colleen Darnell reconstruct an otherwise untold story of the magnificent reign of Akhenaten and Nefertiti.

Two celebrated Egyptologists bring to vivid life the intriguing and controversial reign of King Tut's parents.

Akhenaten has been the subject of radically different, even contradictory, biographies...

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Featured Reviews

Egypt's Golden Couple: How Akhenaten and Nefertiti Became Gods on Earth by John Darnell; Colleen Darnell is a great nonfiction taking a look at the infamous, complex, and fascinating lives, reign, and influence of these historic rulers.

I have always had a fascination and interest in Egyptology, so I knew quite a bit about this famous duo. However, this book was so enjoyable to read. It is nonfiction and history, but yet read like a delicious historical fiction full of intrigue, suspense, and court shenanigans.

It is an understatement when it is stated that these figures made a pivotal and permanent change and impact on the existence of this empire. The authors did an amazing job presenting their subjects and I highly recommend this for any history fan.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and St. Martin’s Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 11/1/22.

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The lives are Akhenaten and Nefertiti, rulers of Egypt and self-styled living gods, have fascinated people for thousands of years.

Here, Darnell examines their lives, reign, politics and religion, to try and dig through the biases found in so many secondary sources and to see what really can get be pieced together from the primary sources.

The book follows Akhenaten’s life from his parent’s reign before he was born through the curious afterlife of both his body and reputation, each chapter starting with a docu-drama-esque scene imaging a scene from his life.

While getting pretty far into the weeds of what the latest archeology has to say about Akhenaten, Darnell manages to keep the whole book highly readable for anyone, even without a background in ancient Egyptian history.

A fascinating history that sucks in and makes the far distant past highly relatable.

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Well researched, well written. This book gives readers a more well rounded look at the Amarna Period and it’s rulers. This actually would have been a good book to have when I was writing a paper on Nefertiti in grad school.

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Egypt has recently became my love of reading. This book took me right where I wanted to go, learning all the knowledge of Egypt.

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This is a nonfiction book about Akhenaten and Nefertiti. The authors reconstruct what is know about these two and how they became gods on Earth. Great book for those interested in Ancient Egypt and Akhenaten and the cult of Aten specifically.

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I have a long-standing interest in Egyptology. From TV documentaries, to seeing the traveling Tutankhamen exhibit when I was young, to spending hours at the Michal C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta, I have encouraged and fed my curiosity about the Ancient World.

I couldn’t wait to dive into this book. It took longer than normal for me to read it mainly because I drove from Florida to Wisconsin during this time!

I did like the vignettes at the beginning of the chapters as they introduced the subject matter in a very concrete way, such as the introduction about the ship’s captain of the boat carrying stone materials from the quarry. Instead of just jumping into the discussion about the materials and the quarry, the example set the stage so that you could apply the information more readily.

Sometimes the narrative took a deep dive into the etymology of the names of the Gods or ruler’s names. It spent a lot of time talking about the forms of the Sun God, who apparently took many different names and appearances from the traditional polytheistic worship system, over to the monotheistic system instituted by Akhenaten (wherein he was worshipped as a king-god or god-king.)

Akhenaten and Nefertiti were not the only rulers examined. Akhenaten’s parents were Amunhotep III and Tiye; Tutankhamen was the son of Akhenaten of Nefertiti. All were discussed to flesh out the motives and history of the time. A fascinating part of the Dynasty indeed.

I spent a bit of time looking up photos and other descriptions of the monuments, places, art, and individuals covered in the book. As I was reading a pre-publication eGalley, it didn’t have maps or photos. Those will really enhance the final form.

Thank you to authors Colleen Manassa Darnell and John Coleman Darnell, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a pre-publication copy of this book in exchange for my review. I didn’t receive anything in return and my opinions are my own.

I am posting on NetGalley, Goodreads, and BookBub immediately, and upon publication I will post on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Instagram.

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I found this book to be both an absorbing read and full of interesting facts ensuring the history lesson about the Amarna Period one easy to pick up. The book was well researched. Whether you are starting your Egyptian journey with this book or have much information previously acquired I think this book will significantly add to your knowledge.

Thank you for the chance to read this book. My opinions are my own.

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This is a biography or can be classified as history as it entails ancient Egypt as referred to by these two authors' who are John Coleman Darnell and Colleen Darnell. This is a meticulously researched non-fiction book that depicts Akhenaten and Nefertiti's reign in ancient Egypt who ruled during the Eighteenth Dynasty. Akhenaten is the father of King Tutankhamun , or "King Tut" whose discovery is
this November, 2022, will mark a century when Howard Carter discovered him in November, 1922. one-hundred years ago. Howard Carter who was a British archaeologist made the discovery of King Tutankhamun or Tutankhaten.

This is a very multifaceted biography or history regarding Akhenaten, Nefertiti and for most of the book discusses Akhenaten who changed his name from Amunhotep IV at approximately five years into his reign. Akhenaten's rule encompasses a lot of detailed information. This book informed me about his parents on both the paternal and his maternal genesis. I was contacted by someone that works for the publisher to read this and it is fascinating. The Darnell's made their own discovery in May of 2017 with their team. It is found in the Epilogue, so be sure to read the entire book because there is also a helpful Appendix section that cites all of the sources that are annotated with footnotes throughout this book. Nefertiti and Ankhenaten had many daughters, but Nefertiti was not King Tutankhamun's mother. King Tutankhamun died only nine years into his reign at the age of eighteen, of unknown causes. Possibilities that are speculated that might have caused his death are malaria or an injury caused from a fall from a chariot are suggestions in this book. The most magnificent of all of the treasure in his undisturbed tomb for three millennia is his twenty-two pound gold mask placed over his head. I have written more about King Tutankhamon than Akhetnaton, who this book is mostly about. Akhetnaten was the world's first monotheist and along with Nefertiti their religion and politics are the subject of many conflicting biographies. In this biography the Darnell's who are Egyptologists have their interpretations offered here derived from excavations, visiting museums, artifacts and hieroglyphic texts have recreated Akhenaten and Nefertiti culture as a scholarly narrative.

Publication Date: November 1, 2022

Thank you to Net Galley, John Coleman Darnell & Colleen Darnell and St. Martin's Press for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

#EgyptsGoldenCouple #JohnColemanDarnell #ColleenDarnell #StMartinsPress #NetGalley

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I have always had an interest in Egyptology, having had a parent who was an art historian who focused on Ancient Egypt. I remember seeing the Tutankhamun exhibition years ago. One aspect of Egyptian art history that I found completely fascinating was the Amarna period--the years of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his wife Queen Nefertiti--their new religion and family focused rule.

This book instantly grabbed my attention. It is eminently approachable. The writing style is clear and informative. Each chapter begins with a fictional vignette that relates to the chapter contents. The ensuing chapter then details the history and relevant art historical details that relate to the chapter focus. It's a very unique and engaging way of disseminating the story, similar in style to The Real Valkyrie, a book I read last year.

The contradictions and conflicts regarding this unusual period in Egyptian history were well delineated, as were the artistic creativity and unique styles that flourished during the Amarna period.

I think this is an excellent resource and entertaining book for anyone from the most erudite art historian to the most casual reader.

Highly recommended.

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Countless children have grown up with a fascination of the ancient world and I was no exception. Egypt, of course, is high on the list of people's interest, with their pyramids and incomparable leaders such as Nefertiti and Tutankhamen. But while I grew up and eventually earned degrees in history, I didn't have much of opportunity to study anything Egyptian in any depth.

In comes John Darnell's and Colleen Darnell's Egypt's Golden Couple, a highly accessible book about Akhenaten and Nefertiti, King Tut's equally famous parents. It's thoroughly researched (and includes an informative set of bibliographic essays) and readable, and is great for anyone with an interest in Egypt's history, whether amateur or professional. I absolutely enjoyed this one.

Thanks very much to St. Martin's Press for inviting me to read this ARC in exchange for a review through NetGalley.

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Egypt's Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Became Gods on Earth is a fantastic well-researched nonfiction book that tells the story of the rulers of Egypt during the Amarna Period. The book remains fascinating while containing tons of facts and information on Nefertiti and Akhenaten. The author does an excellent job at setting the stage for what he'll be delving into. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of Egypt!

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A vivid and exhaustive telling of historical characters that I did not know much about.
I highly recommend this book.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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In fourth grade, I knew I wanted to be an archaeologist. I was obsessed with Egyptian history and culture. I wish this book would have been around then.

Exploring these two powerful rulers and all they accomplished was a pleasure. The research that went into this is astounding. There is so much mythology and misinformation out there about this time in our history. This cleared up a lot of things for me.

If you are at all a history buff, this is a book you should read. I loved reading it.

NetGalley/ St. Martin’s Press November 01, 2022

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Egypt's Golden Couple: How Akhenaten and Nefertiti Became Gods on Earth is a well-researched and extremely in-depth look at the couple. If you have any interest in Akhenaten and Nerfertiti, this book covers everything from what archeology says to the past contradictory representations of Akhenaten. I didn't know much about the topic when I opened the book, but found the chapters easy to follow despite that.

My favorite part of this book was the short fiction excerpts included at the start of each chapter that cover some of the events. Those excerpts were perfect for people like me who sometimes get overwhelmed by the amount of information in a non-fiction book. Those fiction excerpts helped me digest the book and picture the information presented.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Part historical imagination, part travelogue, and part historical analysis, considering Akhenaten, Nefertiti, the prelude, and the consequences.

The authors begin with Amenhotep III's conception, well beyond what might be imagined. Much is made of Amenhotep III and the development of many of the features of the kingship and Aten cult which would become more prominent under Akhenaten. Akhenaten's youth, growth, adulthood, religious ideology, development and move to Akhetaten, and behavior are detailed. And then...the postlude, with speculation about Nefertiti as Neferneferuaten, Meritaten as Smenkhkare, and a bit about Tutankhamun.

The authors still believe Nefertiti is the mother of Tutankhamun; whether they think she is the Younger Lady who has been confirmed as Tut's mother by DNA is not stated. The authors are conversant with recent scholarship on Akhenaten and Nefertiti and their politico-religious ideology.

A good read for those interested.

*--galley received as part of early review program

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The Darnells, a husband and wife team of Egyptologists, combine scholarship, detective suspense, and adventure in Egypt's Golden Couple. I have always been fascinated by Egyptology, so I particularly enjoyed this book. Like The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women, Egypt's Golden Couple is part history, part archeology, and part fiction. Each chapter opens with a scenario that is fictional derived from known facts about the subjects, and even the backdrops of the scene are based on actual paintings and bas-reliefs on the walls.

Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti have been portrayed in widely differing accounts and depicted as an incestuous tyrant or an innovator who affected nearly every aspect of Egyptian life. He established the world’s first monotheist religion. The images, the gold funerary mask of his son Tutankhamun (King Tut) and the painted bust of his wife Nefertiti, are among the most recognizable in the world, right up there with Vincent Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.”
Akhenaten and Nefertiti transformed Egyptian solar worship from polytheism to monotheism. While doing so, they changed the face of Egyptian art and architecture. The Darnells weave a delightful story about these two rulers. I enjoyed the in-depth view of Egyptian life, but some readers may find it slow going, particularly in parts that talk about the difficulty of reading and translating heiroglyphs: The verb is written with three phonetic signs. The first sign is a chisel … which we can approximately pronounce as ‘ab’ …

Overall, this is a great read, but be prepared to learn more about ancient Egypt that you might wish to.

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Cleverly written to draw us into what life would have been like in the time of the gods. The writing seamlessly weaves in information and details, as if they were part of the story, and goes back and forth between the present-day historical perspective and the ancient imagined tale. It’s engaging and informative.

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Thank you to NetGalley, the authors, and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book.
This was a very interesting collection of the Darnell's vast research. I have read about ancient Egypt and its dynasties, but this was far more in depth than anything I had seen before. The only thing I would have changed (and maybe it's this way in the final version) would be to add illustrations. I spent a lot of time Googling things I read about.

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A great dive into Egypt’s most extraordinary and iconic power couples.

This one took me a while to trek through, but I appreciated all of the narrative-like openings to the chapters, giving you glimpses of life in Ancient Egypt. I admit I was totally lost trying to keep track of the names and who was who. I feel like I needed a physical family tree in my lap anytime I opened the arc of this on my phone 😂 I will definitely be referring back to this for writing research when the physical copy comes out. It was very research-heavy, which is to be expected, but I always like history books that appeal to the historical figures humanity. Grant it, everyone mentioned in this book died thousands of years ago, but still. Other than that, it was an interesting read.

Writing Quality: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Plot: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Pacing: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Enjoyment Level: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

「 Overall: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 」

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This was definitely an enjoyable read, both for amateur history buffs and people who consider themselves more of a lay expert. It was well written and well researched as well as I could tell, Once again, not a huge fan of the fact that there were zero illustrations which for me are key for any history book. Definitely a good place to start for anyone who is interested in the most current research on Akhenaten.

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A deeply fascinating account of one of Ancient Egypt’s power couples. I found this book to be fascinating both in narrative and scholarship. The authors did an amazing job of crafting a strong story for the general reader while also utilizing the primary source material to drive this narrative as well. This book would be a great fit for general readers as well as Egyptologists.

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As we reach the century-mark of the discovery, I found myself turning back to my younger self. I was obsessed with ancient Egypt as a kid, and this book kept everything I loved as a kid and took it to a more in depth, adult level deep dive.

I will be buying a physical copy, if only so I can highlight passages.

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I very much enjoyed reading this book. I previously only had a passing knowledge of Akhenaten and Nefertiti but after reading this I almost feel like we have met.

My only disappointment is with the lack of pictures, illustrations, and maps that might have made it easier for an amateur like myself to follow the content.

I looking forward to a follow up book on the author's latest discoveries!

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Egypt's Golden Couple by John and Colleen Darnell is an interesting look at Akhenaten and Nefertiti the parents of Tutankhamun.
By examining various records, information and art the authors try to bring to life the past. At several points in the book the others comment that the Egyptian considered the remembrance of the dead is a sort of immortality that the ancient Egyptians would have appreciated.
The authors also attempt to give a more rounded version of Akhenaten who as they say "has been the subject of radically different, even contradictory, biographies. The king has achieved fame as the world's first individual and the first monotheist, but others have seen him as an incestuous tyrant who nearly ruined the kingdom he ruled."
The biggest drawback for me with the book was the time jumps in the narrative were sometimes jarring and could have been distinguished a little better in the text.
Thank you #NetGalley, #StMartinsPress and the authors for the ARC of #Egypt'sGoldenCouple.

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The hardcover will be nearly 400 pgs so there’s a lot here. I’ve had a long fascination with ancient Egypt, so I very much enjoyed visiting the past with these guides.

The Darnells’ research shines throughout this book. It’s obvious they are intimately familiar with hieroglyphics, the geography, Egyptian customs and much more, so the imagined lives portions that began each chapter didn’t bother me because they were clearly built on a solid foundation of knowledge. The way they wrote about the daily lives were taken from many sources and woven together in an interesting way.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for this review.

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There are many pharaohs that come to mind before the heretic, Akhenaten: Rameses II, Hatchepsut, Khafre of the Great Pyramid of Giza, and even a few of the heretic's direct descendants: Tutmose and Amenhotep III. But when it comes to royal couples, Akhenaten and his beautiful queen, Nefertiti, reign supremem.

There is a lot of literature on the couple and their time ruling Egypt. To summarize, the pharaoh (who was crowned Amenhotep IV before changing his name to acknowlege the one god) consolidated the worship of gods into the worship of Aten, the sun with warm hands at the end of its rays, and went so far as to move the kingdom's capital from Luxor/Thebes to a site now known as Al Amarna then known as "Akhetaten."

What the Darnells bring to the story is a bit of new evidence. Subsequent pharaohs dismantled the heretic's capital city, and removed many references to the royal couple during the subsequent, short reign of their son, Tutankhamum, and thereafter. What archaeologists have found in recent years is the remains of those temples were used as filler material for the pylons and buildings of later dynasties. This has opened a host of new clues about the couple and their grandiose intentions, as well as a peek into life in Akhetaten.

The second element cleverly spun into this book is the Darnells' structure. Each chapter begins with a detailed dramatisation from the lives of Akhetaten and Nefertiti: a chariot ride through the city, a coronation, even the workshop where the famous bust of Nefertiti was created. These scenes put the reader front and center into the world and the worldview of the subjects. The second part in each chapter goes into the archaeological evidence that underpins the descriptions.

What I think the Darnells (the galley I read from NetGalley identified John AND Colleen Darnell as the authors, not just the latter) achieved for me was an insight into the mind of Akhenaten. His heresy wasn't necessarily a rejection of Egyptian theology as it was a revelation of it. Akhenaten really did see himself as the embodiment of god--and in many respects, even conjugal relations, he and Nefertiti acted out the work of god.

I also "saw" the city of Akhetaten for the first time through their rich descriptions and detailed analysis.

Egypt's Golden Couple isn't just a look AT the lifetime of a fascinating royal marriage, it is a look INTO the minds that turned a great civilization on edge and created a new city, and a new ideology that fascinates still today.

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Thorough and entertaining look at King Tut’s parents - considered gods and goddesses and the journey the authors took to uncover their information.

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This book is a deep dive into the lives of Akhenaten and Nefertiti who were the parents of Tutankhamun (King Tut). My interest in reading this book was that I knew Akhenaten and Nefertiti radically changed the worship of the gods during their rule, something that I find quite interesting.
There is a lot to be absorbed by reading this book. Basic knowledge of the history of the time is helpful but not completely necessary, this book provided enough background information to get the reader through.
A few things that I appreciated about the book were the chapter layout, the discussion of scholarly debates and research of this time period, and the bibliography. Each chapter started with an imagined scene based on research evidence. The rest of the chapter expands on the research. Of particular interest to me was the explanation of hieroglyphics, how they are translated, and where translation can be difficult. The bibliography sets out the sources and makes clear the depth of research that went into writing this book.
It took me slightly longer than average to read this book, but it was time well spent.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with an ARC copy of this book. This review is my honest opinion.

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Whether the reader is new to the study of ancient Egypt and its rulers or holds a degree in ancient civilizations, Egyptologists John and Colleen Darnell offer numerous opportunities to absorb facts along with speculation and debate featuring the reign of Egypt's Golden Couple, Akhenaten and Nefertiti, parents of King Tut. Emphasis is placed on the relationship between the couple and the "one true god" Aten as a kind of triumvirate that rules Egypt. Into the mix is cast the builders of palaces, rulers of other lands, modern archeologists, enemies in war, hieroglyphs, songs and poetry of the time. With Western exposure focused mainly on Tutankhamun, this book
lays the groundwork for eyeing similarities to the world of today.

Especially noteworthy is the inclusion of the Hymn to Aten that reads as a tribute or ode to the great god of the sun..

Readers may find it distracting that some chapters feature differing time frames which may impact the overall flow of this important body of work.

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This book was very informative and well researched. A bit long, but, none the less, wonderful. I love anything Egyptian and loved this book.

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I learned so much from this book! It was well-researched and so insightful. Thank you netgalley & the publisher for the ARC!

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Egypt's Golden Couple such an interesting read. Especially for a lover of Egypt history. Getting to know Akhenaten and Nefertiti on a personal level after years of study. Their way of life and the choices they made every day. This is a must read for any fan of Ancient Egypt history.

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Special thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for allowing me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

I have always been interested in ancient Egypt and when I was offered to read this book I knew IMMEDIATELY I was going to love it. I am also huge fans of the authors, specifically Colleen because she is so fun, stylish, and incredibly interesting. Not to say that John isn't, but I thoroughly enjoy watching their adventures via Instagram. So when I also saw this book was written by them, I knew I was HOOKED.

The story here follows exactly what the title says...the lives of a specific Pharaoh and his Queen. It gives some before and after history so the reader can understand the history within its contemporary events but mainly focuses on the time Akhenaten is alive and ruling.

I absolutely adored reading this. History books sometimes can get boring or text book-ey...this is NOT that book!! Everything spoken about is written in a way that anyone would understand. It does not matter if you know nothing about ancient Egypt, John and Colleen do a fabulous job explaining everything in a fun and interesting way.

I personally have always been intrigued by Akhenaten's rule and the changes he made to his country while Pharaoh and this book definitely scratched an itch I have had for awhile! I also enjoyed the little vignettes of what life would have been like back then, or how they as people would have reacted to certain really brings the reader closer to the people who were actually alive and not just thinking of them all as statues from ancient times.

If you love ancient Egyptian history, or want to start learning about it, this is a great book to read! John and Colleen are excellent writers who can easily write "lay people" books along with their academic papers. Definitely a great read!

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Very well researched and a worthwhile read for those interested in Egyptian history and delving more specifically into certain eras. The balance between imagined scenes and historical facts helped to bring the story and world to life.

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This is a really good book. The writing is quite enjoyable. The afterword is wonderful. There are no pictures or maps, but I read a pre-publishing proof. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read it.

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Egypt's Golden Couple by John Darnell and Colleen Darnell is a great nonfiction. Super interesting and love the way it was written.

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I was provided an advanced copy from NetGalley and St. Martin’s press. Thank you!

As someone who has been fascinated by Ancient Egypt since childhood, I have began to read up on Ancient Egyptian history in the past few months. I wanted to expand my learning beyond what I learned in brief lessons I had in high school. Before reading this book, I took a couple courses learning the overall history of Ancient Egypt. I tried to take courses that took into account recent developments of findings in Ancient Egypt. I have also been reading articles from perspectives of Egyptians as they learn about their ancestors history. While the overall history of Ancient Egypt is a lot to take in, I enjoyed these courses immensely. However, I wanted to start reading books and literature that examined specific points in Ancient Egyptian history. When I came across this upcoming book providing a history on Akhenaten and Nefertiti, I was very excited to read this. I was lucky enough to be provided the advanced copy by NetGalley and I dived right in to discover the lives of these fascinating rulers.

The book starts each chapter with a narrative that looks into the lives of how Ancient Egyptians lived based in many historical articles. This openings allowed for me to get a glimpse into how the Ancient Egyptians lived. Past books I have read on Ancient Egypt have been hard for me to read as they are filled with facts and dates that start to get confusing for me. As someone who is just reading about Ancient Egypt, this is a great book to start with as it is easy to read and it provides readers with translated writings from the Ancient Egyptians. The authors provide a lot of context and explanations on some of the complex matters they discuss. This helps the reader understand the social and political impacts of phrases used in the book. When talking about the lives of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, the authors show us every aspect of these two historical figures reign and their impacts on Ancient Egyptian history. In the past courses I have taken, the names of these two have come up in various lectures but it was so amazing to find a book that brought together recents findings and discoveries of these figures. I enjoyed this book immensely and it allowed me to learn so many new facts about Ancient Egypt that I never knew before.

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I love reading about archaeology and hope those in the middle of the research try to solve the mysteries of the past. This book has a lot of solid research but also some interesting conjecture. I learned a lot and it got me thinking outside the history I thought I knew.

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I read this as an ARC from

Egypt's Golden Couple by John Darnell and Colleen Darnell took a hard look at a dynasty who ruled about three thousand years ago that tried to change the beliefs of a nation and, ultimately, failed. Amunhotep IV (later known as Akhenaten) and his wife, Nefertiti were stuck from the historical record by their son, King Tut, for their and Akhenaten's parents' efforts to create an Egyptian monotheism that only worships one aspects of the sun god, Aten.

While this book is very interesting, especially as the authors sought to mesh facts with imagined anecdotes about the lives of both the rulers and common people of Egypt, I found it to still be a little too technical for a layperson. The authors go into detail with hieroglyphics, measurements, and geography. Skimming these sections allow you to understand the basics without having to go into too much detail.

All in all I found this to be a pleasant read and I enjoyed the speculation of authors made as to what the royal couple may have been thinking, since there are no existing records that would allow for any certainty.

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This a very well researched book depicting the life and reign of Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti and how it influenced the future of Egypt. There is very little information generally in the public domain although everyone has heard of their son – Tutankhamun.

The Darnells manage to keep the information contained in these pages fairly simple so that it would be accessible to anyone whether or not they have a background in Ancient Egyptology.

Slow pacing but very informative.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for a free ARC of Egypt's Golden Couple When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth in return for an honest review.

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I loved learning so much about the golden couple. Ancient Egypt has always been a history that I feel I’ve never read enough about. This book gave me a huge jump on my reading and knowledge journey! Great read for anyone wanting to learn more about the golden couple and very easy read!

Enjoy this book I hope as much as I did!

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I have long been obsessed with ancient Egypt and so I was thrilled to be able to read this latest nonfiction work about Akhenaten and his wife Nerfertiti.

Egypt’s Golden Couple is a refreshing and concise look at the family that eventually ended with Tutankhamun. Due to the intentional destruction of Akhenaten’s legacy, up until recently very little has been known about his decision to completely upend Egyptian religious tradition from a polytheistic/cult following society to one that solely worshipped a single deity and Akhenaten and his family as living avatars.

Using actual heiroglyphic texts and first hand evidence left behind in tombs and temples, the Darnells breathe life back into the reign of this forgotten pharoah. Descriptive scenes that imagine what jubilees and processions would have looked like do not detract from the very real archaeological science in the text, but instead work in favor of teaching this time in history to the masses.

Easy to read and follow, Egypt’s Golden Couple is a fascinating history book for anyone who is interested in Ancient Egypt. My only complaint is that my advanced copy did not have any photographic inserts, so I found myself googling images within every chapter, although this just further increased my interest in the subject.

Thank you to Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press, and John and Colleen Darnell for this advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

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This book was so good! Akhenaten ad Nefertiti have always fascinated me. And I was so happy to get a chance to read this book.
There is so much detail,and information about this Golden couple. They ruled for 17 years,built a whole new city,and God. So fantastically written! Highly recommend.

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I have always loved reading about Ancient Egypt, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought it was well researched and well written. Definitely a great non fiction for those that are interested in Egypt.

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EGYPT'S GOLDEN COUPLE is a richly researched, enthralling look at two of history's most intriguing figures: Akhenatin and Nefertiti--iconoclastic rulers and rule-breakers. John and Colleen Darnell have crafted a volume brimming with splendid detail--easily accessible and fascinating.

Thanks to St Martins and to Netgalley for the opportunity and pleasure of an early read.

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I'm perennially a fan of all things Egyptian and this nonfiction book fulfilled my obsession. Thankfully, I learned from painstaking, extensively researched work, which was one of the reasons for reading it. I had no idea how drastically Akhenaten/Amenhotep IV shook things up, and it was fascinating having the ways in which he did revealed. The book has an interesting layout/approach/storytelling. However, it could very much benefit from including images. And hey, maybe the final project will? I hope so, because it was tedious trying to Google everything and more than half of those searches coming up empty or, erm, complicated. It wasn't always *smooth* storytelling, though, making it difficult to follow at times, even after re-reading 2+ times. And then some things were repeated in later chapters that I didn't think needed to be, so I'm not sure why the Darnells chose to do so.

A fitting example of how different things were during the reign of Akhenaten (and Nefertiti): "For those buried in the large rock-cut tombs in Akhet-Aten’s eastern mountain , conformity to the king’s political theology and sole reliance upon Aten seem to have been the prerequisites of eternal life. From hymns that the elite carved in their tombs to shrines they erected in their homes, we know that their only gods were the new trinity: Aten, Akhenaten, and Nefertiti."

If archeology, history, or Egypt is your cup of tea, then so too will this book be. John and Colleen , in the very least, deserve an award or multiple somethings for how much time and effort was blatantly put into it.

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There seems to be a resurgence of quality literature on Ancient Egypt, and this book is an excellent example. Taking readers back a generation from the 'boy king' that almost everyone seems to have heard of, this book instead focuses on the power dynamics involved in the reigns of King Tut's parents. Nefertiti is presented as a powerful figurer in her own right, which a refreshing change from the previous trend of sidelining all except the Pharaoh himself. Akhenaten is shown as the Pharaoh who was arguably ahead of his time; flawed, but not the 'bad guy' he is often presented as. Overall, a refreshing update to older histories, and I look forward to seeing what books the Darnells write next.

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I sometimes wish I could go back in time and observe history as it happened, especially really ancient history shrouded in mystery. As an archaeologist, John Darnell makes it feel like I was able to actually spend time during the reign of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, a Pharaoh that is often overlooked, and as the story unfolds, can see was quite purposely eradicated from Egyptian history.

I loved the snippets at the beginning of each chapter that felt so authentic. This is the kind of history that captivates me and makes me want to read more and more.

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I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, so I was drawn to this book. While their son Tutankhamun is probably more famous, Akhenaten and Nefertiti are known for remaking traditional Egyptian religion at the time to focus on one god. Then his successors destroyed his name and monuments to put things back the way they were.

Nefertiti is also famous for her great beauty, thanks to a bust of her that has survived thousands of years. When talking about Egyptian history, the massive timescales are astonishing. The pyramids at Giza were already over 1,000 years old when Akhenaten and Nefertiti reigned. They were also very young. We’re talking about people in their early 20s who ruled an empire and transformed their society.

Each chapter of the book starts with a vignette of life at the time. It was an interesting way to begin, putting the reader right in the time period. The text is very detailed, and I learned a lot. Since I was reading an advance e-copy, it didn’t have the photos that will be included with the final copy. I was googling a lot!

Overall, if you have an interest in this time period, I think you’ll like this book. I did! Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for my copy.

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If you know only one Egyptian Pharaoh, it’s probably “King Tut” (thanks either to the treasures of his fabulous un-plundered tomb or the musical stylings of Steve Martin). This book offers an opportunity to meet his father, the enigmatic “heretic king” Akhenaten as well as Akhenaten’s principal wife, Nefertiti. The book opens with two radically different portraits of Akhenaten: enlightened sun-worshiping monotheist vs. incompetent, nation-destroying pedophile. The authors attempt to sift through these sorts of dramatic claims and produce a believable portrait of this couple, grounded in primary sources.

One big thing that I took away from this book is just how much of Egyptology is painstaking comparison that fuels semi-speculative interpretation of fragmentary, ambiguous writing/art. The portrait that emerges from the authors’ research and interpretation seems balanced and genuinely based on evidence rather than driven by an agenda to present a specific portrait.

As far as writing style, I could have done without the “TV docudrama” style chapter intros and random insertions of “now let us describe one of our field expeditions,” but those may add interest for some people. Overall, Akhenaten’s odd artwork and henotheistic religious reforms are a fascinating part of Egyptian history, and this is a nice balanced take on them. Highly recommended for those interested in Egyptology!

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This is the right amount of background of Egypt necessary for me to enjoy it. The authors do a good job of not talking down to their readers, while also being clearly enthusiastic about the subject material. It can be a bit confusing at times; however, it is worth the payoff.

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An amazing resource that looks I to the history of ancient Egypt 's golden couple. As a former history teacher, I would have loved to have this immersive and engaging resource on my shelf. Fascinating!

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Two celebrated Egyptologists bring to vivid life the intriguing and controversial reign of King Tut's parents. Egypt's Golden Couple by John Coleman Darnell and Colleen Manassa Darnell is an insightful look into the lives of Akhenaten and Nefertiti through excavations, museums, hieroglyphic texts, and stunning artifacts. The book is filled with drawings and photographs. If you love ancient Egyptian history or want to start learning about it, this is a great book to read!

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I'll confess that I have not been that great about reading a lot of nonfiction this year. I keep making grand promises to myself, only for them to fall through. However! I did get around to reading Egypt's Golden Couple, written by John Coleman Darnell and Colleen Manassa Darnell.

As the title suggests, Egypt's Golden Couple is a deep dive into the lives of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. I've heard lots of snippets about their history over the years. Some of it is true, others wild speculation. This made me curious to sit down and read a comprehensive look at their story.

Even if you know next to nothing about Egyptian history, you can likely cite three names: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun (King Tut), and Akhenaten. But if you want to learn more about this couple, you will want to pick up this book (or another of similar depth).

There is a veritable ton of information crammed into these pages. So it took me a little longer than normal to get through it – but I'm still so happy I did so! I feel like I learned so much about their history.

My only problem is that I feel like Egypt's Golden Couple blurs the lines slightly between fact and fiction. I've seen this done before in historical novels, and I'm not the biggest fan of the practice. Essentially, this novel contains chapters that envision how their story unfolded, fleshing out the details and portraying (potentially real?) scenes.

While that may sound more interesting, it does make things more confusing. Where does the embellishing end? How much truth went into those chapters? I certainly don't know – and I doubt I'll be the only reader confused about where that line is.

On the bright side, I did enjoy the more informative chapters. There's real depth here, with lots of interesting facts. Those chapters alone made Egypt's Golden Couple worth reading, as far as I'm concerned.

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This was a really interesting book. Everybody knows about King Tut, but the rest of the names kind of get jumbled up, based on what we might remember from school and what we see in movies and read on social media. It all seems larger than life, almost unbelievable. But the authors, celebrated Egyptologists John Darnell and Colleen Darnell, take what could have been either too fantastic with an action movie vibe or a dry, confusing, stultifying recitation of historical facts and instead turn it into a readable, fascinating, can’t-put-down story. It’s still larger than life, because what about Ancient Egypt isn’t, but Akhenaten and Nefertiti become more than just a footnote and King Tut’s parents. We see their ambition, cunning, and ruthlessness as well as their fear, affection and desire to be remembered in a positive light. They transformed Egypt in ways never seen before. The authors take us through their lives, describing possible feelings, motives and relationships, and document their spectacular successes and monumental failures.

Egypt's Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth is skillfully written and holds your attention from beginning to end. It stops short of being dry and textbook like but contains enough detail and depth to feel like more than a sensationalized book of highlights. The lives of Akhenaten and Nefertiti have always been controversial. Egypt’s Golden Couple presents what they tried to accomplish, what aided them and what stood in their way, and how they were ultimately remembered. They are not always presented in a positive light but they are always spellbinding.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing an advance copy of Egypt's Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth via NetGalley for my reading pleasure and honest review. I admit the book seemed a little daunting at first, but the authors established an easy rhythm, transitioning smoothly from facts to anecdotes to supposition and back around to keep you engaged throughout. I highly recommend this book. All opinions are my own.

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I would love to have the knowledge and experience of this Egyptologist team. But the closest I can come is reading their books and watching them on various documentaries. Their work is outstanding, and the knowledge gained from their discoveries is monumental.
In this thoroughly researched book, the famous couple brings to life the history of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Almost to a day-to-day routine, we understand who they were, how they lived, and how they transformed Egypt under their reign. Being the proud parents of Tutankhamun (King Tut) is one of their greater known feats, but there is so much more than that to this historical pair. And the preservation of their history is amazing. For a generation of people who lived over 3,350 years ago, the writings and paintings that have survived have shed light on so much detail.
This book reads almost like a history textbook but is written in a manner that breathes life into its characters. You don’t have to be a student of Egyptian history to enjoy this, but reading it will certainly pique your interest.
Sincere thanks to St. Martin’s Press for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The publishing date is November 1, 2022.

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While likely not a breeze for the casual reader, anyone who is ravenous for a glimpse into the daily lives of the dynastic rulers of the Nile will eat this up like candy. Alternating between anecdotal imaginings of interactions between the rulers and their subjects, relying heavily on historical record and a grasp of the foibles of those still all too human, we also are treated to the incredibly detailed narrator-as-docent lecture on monuments, hieroglyphics, pottery and all the other ennui of life in this incredible time period.

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This was a well written, well researched, informative book. It didn’t feel like non fiction in some of the passages in the book and was written more in story form in those areas. I like that aspect because it keeps the book from feeling too text bookish. I love that they went to great lengths to breakdown and explain everything in such great detail. At the very beginning of the book, they even include a cast of characters. It explains who everyone was and helped me to see how they were tied together. I have recommended this book to several friends who are interested in ancient Egypt. Great read!

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Fascinating and best of all, approachably well written. This reads as much like a novel as it does a terrifically researched look at two of the icons (for want of a better word) of their age. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A must read for fans of Egyptology.

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One hundred years ago the tomb of Tutankhamen was discovered. The history and culture of Egypt and its’ pyramids has always drawn my attention and I was excited to read Egypt’s Golden Couple. Each chapter opens with a vignette depicting the life of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, Tutankhamen’s parents.. Based on ancient texts, artifacts, monuments and statuary, these scenes serve as an opening to the information that follows. John and Colleen Darnell present a well-researched and presented history set in the Eighteenth Dynasty. From Amunhotep III, Akhenaten inherited an extensive empire and ruled it as a god with Nefertiti by his side. This is a fascinating look at their achievements and the changes that they made in the religious beliefs of their time and is highly recommended. I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing this book for my review.

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Egypt’s Golden Couple; When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth by John and Colleen Darnell from Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press to read and give an honest review.

"…Definitely a labor of love, the authors’ passion for the subject evident in every sentence…"

I’ve always been interested in Egyptology and always strive to learn more. Authors John and Colleen Darnell well established in the field, have crafted this well written and extensively researched book about Akhenaten and Nefertiti who reigned in Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty from 1352-1336 BCE .

Every chapter contains vignettes recreating dramatic scenes gleaned from artifacts from the time of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, offering the Darnell’s interpretations of translations in the form of fiction-like vignettes on Akhenaten’s unique place in Ancient Egyptian history. The book seems somewhat chronological, starting with the reign of Amenhotep III, Akhenaten’s father, and ends with the death of his son Tutankhamun.

All encompassing, the Darnell’s discus various aspects of Egyptian life including culture, death, rituals, religion, art and family. Akhenaten boldly changed the polytheistic Egyptian religion to a monotheistic one that making an indelible mark in Egyptian society.

I enjoyed this book and will definitely be rereading it as it was such an intensive dive into Akhenaten and Nefertiti ‘s reign. Definitely a labor of love, the authors’ passion for the subject evident in every sentence. My main issue with Egypt’s Golden Couple was that I often found the fiction like narrative a bit distracting from the archaeological evidence.

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Egypt's Golden Couple goes more into the life of Akhenanten and Nefertiti and when they were Gods on Earth.

This book gives more history on the before and after of both the Pharaoh and the Queen. For this to be about history it wasn't one of those boring history books as it kept the audience engaged and wanting to know more about everything that was going on.

Anything that has to do with ancient Egypt I am reading it so I was glad to get a fun Egyptian read to learn more.

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What is known of Akhenaten, the pharaoh who promoted Re as the primary god of Egypt, and his wife, Nefertiti, known for the beautiful bust found in Amarna? Where is the knowledge found and what does it mean? Those are the questions the Darnells set out to answer in this book. It is probably not a book for everyone as I suspect some readers will find it dry and slow going. The authors are Egyptologists and they stick to the evidence which comes from inscriptions, letters, and the odd note or label. They explain how the meanings of hieroglyphics are teased out and how interpretations can be quite different among scholars. (And, yes, naturally the book is in support of their interpretations.) The authors describe the evolution of Akhenaten's rule and it's foundation on past beliefs The public relations aspect of monumental inscriptions and sculpture also needs to be taken into account. This is very interesting and well documented. Each chapter begins with a scenario imagined, but based on evidence, involving the main characters. This added nothing from my point of view. The meat of the book is the reason to read it.

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I took this and another biography of a historical person for reading on a cross-country journey, which is perfect for this sort of leisurely reading.

Though I am ignorant of Egyptian history, even I am familiar with Nefertiti, copies of whose graceful head bust were popular when I was a kid, and also with Akhenaten, whose strange depictions sometimes put him out there as a slouching dweeb--even as a woman--as well as the usual extravagantly male carvings we usually see.

I found myself impressed by the breadth of knowledge on display here, as the Darnells slowly develop their theory about why Akhenaten did what he did--resulting in his being erased from history, along with his gorgeous wife and family, for nearly three thousand years.

The key is a total revamping of Egypt's religious expression, which appears after the king's death to have disturbed his successors enough for that erasure: Akhenaten seems to have transformed the pantheon of gods into worship of a single sun god, embodied in the king himself.

The proof is what makes the story come alive, rather than the little bits of fiction that precede each chapter. I applaud the authors' attempt to try to breathe life into these remote figures, but they succeed only in proving that scholars are not necessarily novelists--compare these awkward bits to the children's historical novel Mara Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvid McGraw, who was not an Egyptologist, but whose tale utterly absorbed me when I was in grade school.

These bits of scene offered here are less convincing than the precise descriptions of art, tombs, hieroglyphics, and other evidence from the period. But those bits are the real meat of the book, full of rich imagery, and fascinating tidbits like how rock was quarried and brought to the enormous monuments to the eternity of the gods, how human figures in that easily recognizable style were measured, etc. Equally fascinating are the authors' explications for why kings and queens were sometimes depicted with gender transformation--everything was symbolism.

What emerges is a sense of a long-lived culture in which the sacred lived and breathed through every aspect of everyday life. So of course a magnificent effort must be made to express that sense of awe, gratitude, caution, and reverence in art.

I really enjoyed the sheer nerddom here, and the picture it builds.

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To anyone who watches modern politics, the prologue of this book is very familiar. Modern leaders’ marriages are constantly either upheld as models of solid political and personal commitment or rumoured to be extremely dysfunctional. Either on the verge of falling apart or secretly already separated. Their every public glance or gesture is picked apart by bloggers, newspaper opinion pieces and the Twitterverse.

So when you read that Akhenaten is either the perfect father or an incestuous pedophile, either a prophet of monotheism or a totalitarian ruler who cast off all checks to his power, the public parallels are obvious: Akhenaten and his Chief Wife Nefertiti were Egypt's celebrity power couple.

Seemingly everyone from Freud to modern philosophers has had a crack at the royal relationship and its impact on the society, economics, and development of Egypt. What is known for sure is that they were so hated by the powers that came after - revivals of the priestly cults they had deposed - that their new Royal city was flattened, and his name defaced on monuments across Egypt.

Did they succeed in changing Egypt forever? Does it matter? The fact that we're still talking about them 3500 years later means their detractors ultimately failed to, in current parlance, cancel them.

The book is eminently readable for anyone interested in armchair archaeology, making the topic accessible without bogging down in much scholarly detail.

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I don't envy any authors trying to give a biography of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: so little is known (they were systematically erased from history shortly after their deaths) and the records are never clear even when intact. What the authors have done is use actual factual historical information to give a personal, insightful, and relatable view of the couple and their life/the lives around them.

The book is fairly chronological and really, most biographies of the 18th dynasty spend most of the first chapters saying, "we really don't know but guess..." The authors here instead just stick to what is known - be it inscriptions in tombs, fragments of pottery dating, stele heralds, or even correspondence found from other countries to the rulers.

I am not really one who likes dramatizations - of which each chapter has a short one in the beginning. But I also have to appreciate and respect that the authors drew each dramatization from an actual piece of historical evidence - whether it was officials going in and chiseling out all mentions and faces of the royal couple after their deaths (which is why we know so little about them) or scribes talking to each other about the hymm of Aten (which appears on a tomb wall).

The authors really want to humanize the couple and ancient Egyptians; I feel they did a very good job at both without speculating too much. There is also a LOT of great information here - about the religion, how art is so often misinterpreted, and about the vagaries of the Egyptian language itself. I was surprised at how much insight I gleaned about Egyptian life and why there is still so much unknown and even confusion about what we do have.

They do have their own guesses/suppositions about things that some who have studied the couple may not necessarily agree with - in this way, they do interject their own theories often. It's something to keep in mind when reading.

In all, the dramatizations are short but they don't feel too 'made up' and so they didn't bother me as much as they could have. I learned a lot and the writing was easy to follow and very informative. It's definitely a less scholarly side of Egypt and a perspective that humanizes but also educates. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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The history and art of Egypt has long been one of my favorite areas of study. With the anniversary of the discovery of King Tut this was the perfect nonfiction read. Written in a way that should appeal to both those who have a background in the field as well as those who are looking for a starting point. I enjoyed it even without the maps and photos. Between having studied art history and the internet, I had no trouble filling in the visuals.
History has done a serious job of erasing Akhenaten and this well written volume sets out to fill in as much information as possible. From the reign of his parents Amunhotep III and Tiye through his reign with Nefertiti, the Amarna period comes alive. The research is extensive and the presentation is in no way dry and tedious.
My thanks to the publisher St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Interesting look at King Tut's parents, the way they lived, life around them, and the consequences of their decisions. I would have liked illustrations of some of the things described because I'm a visual person, but overall, a satisfying read if a bit dry.

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Ancient Egypt’s Experiment with Monotheism

The pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty have always fascinated me. Akhenaten and Nefertiti are particularly interesting. The reasons for Akhenaten’s withdrawal from the polytheistic worship of Amun, creation a single god in Aten, and his removal of the capital to a new city in the desert has been explored many times with varying degrees of scholarship. I found this book particularly well done.

The authors are archaeologists. They rely heavily on the evidence from art, tomb inscriptions, and the meager history of Akhenaten’s reign, He and Nefertiti were essentially erased from history by the priests of Amun after his death. The book is very scholarly, but relatively easy to read. Some of the descriptions of how to decipher hieroglyphics are slow going, but contain a lot of information that I had not come across before.

I liked that the book started with his father’s reign. It gave a more comprehensive picture of the Egyptian people and particularly the religious issues. The authors give detailed descriptions of the festivals based in large part on the tomb paintings. Each section starts with a fictionalized description of Egyptian life. At first I was put off by them, but gradually I appreciated that they added to the understanding of that period of Egyptian history.

If you’re interested in the 18th dynasty, I highly recommend this book.

I received this book from Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for this review.

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Egypt's Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth
by John Coleman Darnell Colleen Manassa Darnell

I have always been interested in this time period of Egyptian history and have read plenty of articles and books about this duo but this book was by far the easiest to understand and enjoy. Since this November celebrates the 100 year anniversary of finding King Tut's tomb and this book will be published. I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this informative and amazing book!

The book begins with their parents and then later how our young couple probably met or matched. How extremely beautiful Nefertiti was and a good description of Akhenaten too, not so beautiful. For many of the ceremonies, instead of just telling the reader what would happen, the authors made it more fictional. Describing it as if the couple was getting united/married, or a Holy ceremony, and etc. It made the scenes more realistic and helped it stick in my mind.

There was a lot of accomplishments back then. Fascinating life style. Intriguing religious beliefs. Even everyday life was very interesting. Lots of details and all richly satisfying!
I lingered reading this book. I really didn't want it to end. I usually zip through a book but I want to savor living in the Egyptian past for just a bit longer.

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Akhenaten is a controversial figure in Egyptian history. He outlawed the worship of all Gods in Egypt except the Sun God. Some see him as the person who ruined Egypt. It was left to his son Tutankhamun to put the kingdom back together and back to a place of prosperity. This book shows the winding path that is Egyptian history and how new discoveries in archeology change the way we look at all of the pieces that we see.

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A huge thank you to St Martin's Press and NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

<i>Egypt's Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth </i> describes the life of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, how their beliefs altered ancient Egyptian religion and politics, and the impact they had on society at the time.

I really had to take my time reading this, as there is just so much information. I really enjoy the format of storytelling (truly placing you back in time) then transitioning into the explanation and background information for each chapter. However, for roughly the first 30% of the book, I had trouble absorbing the immense amount of information (and <i>names</i>!) that I found it to be slow going. I have always been interested in ancient Egypt and have enjoyed watching several documentaries where John and Colleen Darnell feature, so it was a little discouraging at first.

My favorite parts are the detail on the ancient artifacts and architecture that have been found and studied, but I also enjoyed seeing how Akhenaten and Nefertiti nearly forced a monotheistic religion while proclaiming themselves gods on earth.

This descriptive study into the life of Akhenaten and Nefertiti was incredibly informative- it's amazing that Egyptologists can determine and deduce so much about this period in ancient Egypt, and the authors stick to giving facts while including multiple theories where something isn't proven. Overall, I found this to be a low 4 stars- with the cons being the beginning was slow and over-informative while difficult for me to adjust to. The pros being that I really enjoyed the information provided, the transparency where the Darnell's do not have solid facts, and the enjoyable experience that reading about this topic gave me. I will definitely be picking up a copy.

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Akhenaten and Nefertiti are two names that are synonymous with Egyptian history. While Tutankhamen and his treasures have eclipsed the couple, the heretical pharaoh and his wife have remained, in large, untouched for years. What we know, or thought we knew, is challenged in part through this book.
John and Colleen Darnell dive into the lives of the couple, from before Akhenaten changed his name and moved his capital city, to their treatment of the major gods and goddesses of Egyptian religion. The fundamental shift that occurred during his reign was massive. For decades, it has been the common assumption that Akhenaten did nothing with his military, letting Egypt crumble as he focused on his religious shift. But evidence presented in this book shows otherwise.

The Darnell's take us through Akhenaten's father briefly, and the lineage of Nefertiti (although still somewhat uncertain), and through their reign, into that of their daughter, and eventually that of Tutankhamen.

This was a really interesting read, and I enjoyed it. While I don't agree with all of the theories put forward in this book, I found that the majority of them do make sense, and deserve some deeper dives into study and research. As someone who has loved Egyptian history for many, many years, this book brought some interesting new information forward, changing the way we think about the reign of Akhenaten, and the eventual demise of the religion of the Aten itself.

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This book is a wealth of knowledge, painstakingly laid out in an easy-to-understand manner. Authors John and Colleen Darnell primarily focused on one royal couple, Amunhotep IV (later Akhenaten) and Nefertiti, thus reducing what could have been a glut of Egyptian names for readers to sort through. The lineage of the royal couple is explored, and I was able to walk away with a firm grasp of this Egyltian Dynasty

The authors’ presentation was interesting. Based on their knowledge of Egyptian life, short sketches depicting Egyptian life and customs are inserted at various points in the book as an introduction to a new topic. Detailed explanations follow these short pieces of historical fiction. Thus readers are treated to seeing the interaction of the people who lived long ago along with what has been gleaned over the years from detailed study.

My previous knowledge of Egyptian royalty and their customs has been limited to a few names and pictures of the pyramids. This book opened a whole new world of a culture as well as introducing some of the people who lived long ago. Five stars.

My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a complimentary electronic copy of this book.

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As a child I was FASCINATED with all things Egypt. King Tut, the pyramids, the desert and the culture- it was all so intriguing. It was fun to read this as an adult and uncover a little more history. This book was full of knowledge and very well researched. It did read a bit textbook-y to me at times but overall, I think this is a great read if you would like to learn more history about ancient Egypt.

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Although steeped in historical facts and details, I found the structure of this book and the style of the writing to be enjoyable reading. The heretic pharaoh has long been of interest to me (in my own personal 'study' of ancient Egypt) and this book added to my knowledge, giving lots of context and background to his life - and his wife's.

Interesting, informative and enjoyable!

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In this nonfiction book, the authors explore the 14th century BCE reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti, the parents of Tutankhamun. Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s establishment of a monotheistic solar-based religion, support for architectural and artistic innovations, and strategic vision changed the course of Egyptian history. Early in his 17-year reign during Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty, Akhenaten changed his name from Amunhotep IV to Akhenaten, rejecting his father’s religious beliefs in favor of a new solar cult with the god Aten as its focus. Along with Queen Nefertiti, Akhenaten elevated Aten above all other deities, drastically altering Egypt’s religious infrastructure. The city of Akhet-Aten served as a sacred place, reflecting the trinity of the god Aten, Akhenaten, and Nefertiti as god, high priest, and high priestess. Drawing on historical records, artwork, and archaeological discoveries to provide colorful vignettes of daily life during the era was an interesting time in Egypt.

The authors wrote an accessible study of a period of Egypt’s history which I enjoyed reading. At times, I found this book suspenseful and very detailed. It is a compelling book for this time in Egypt. There are rumors that seem to contradict what the Pharaoh did. For me it was a journey through excavations, museums, hieroglyphic texts, and artifacts.


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A clear, novel, and entertaining look at Nefertiti and The Heretic King with new evidence, narrative, and a glimpse into the lives of modern archaeologists. This book includes an extensive look at the art that shapes our understanding of this endlessly fascinating and probably one of the best known periods of Egyptian history.

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