In a huge, ambitious tale, Beauman transports readers to the Valley of the Kings and the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. She recreates the atmosphere, tension, suspense and drama as seen through a child’s eyes. Though the story is well known, Beauman’s fresh approach delves into myriad possibilities and rumors. Her epic, fascinating novel is a vivid and gripping portrait of the expedition, but mostly of those who witnessed the discovery.
Eleven-year-old Lucy Payne arrives in Egypt with her American governess and befriends Frances Winlock, daughter of an American archaeologist. The girls travel with the team to the Valley of the Kings. Lucy is there for the monumental opening of the tomb and the beginning of the curse. The girls form a lifelong bond that becomes stronger when they witness a murder. Years later, a documentarian approaches Lucy for help with his film. The old woman takes delight in tormenting him with what she knows, yet keeping the secrets that affected Frances the most. (HARPER, Jul., 544 pp., $27.99)