Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Tutankhamun’s Tomb

Tutankhamun’s Tomb

Alan MacDonald
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 12 to and up
Scholastic Children’s Books (UK), 2003   ISBN: 978-0439982382

There is no doubt that Howard Carter was a difficult man to get along with. In fact he seems to have fought with practically everyone in his field and alienated many of the most prestigious and most powerful people who were involved in Egyptian archeology in the early 1900’s. Thankfully he was liked and respected by Lord Carnarvon, a man with a passion for finding artifacts in Egypt and who had the money to fund many excavations.

The two men began working together and though they were very unalike, and though they had their differences, they seemed to be able to get along well enough to make progress on a number of digs. They were seeking one prize however, an illusive prize which was turning out to be very hard to find indeed. More than anything Carter and his backer and patron wanted to find a king’s tomb. Carter searched the Valley of the Kings hoping that he would find clues to the whereabouts of the boy king Tutankhamun. Very little was known about this particular king and he fascinated Carter.

It was only on November 5 1922 that Carter finally found what would turn out to be the entrance to Tutankhamun’s tomb. The days that followed were first frustrating as he waited for the arrival of Carnarvon, and later full of hard labor and conflict. For as they grew closer to the tomb itself the friendship between Carter and Carnarvon began to unravel.

On November 26th 1922 the tomb was finally opened and the fabulous treasures that it contained were revealed to the world. It was a trove unlike any found before or since. The story of the discovery became an overnight sensation. This was a story which gripped the world and which would become even more sensational when Lord Carnarvon died quite suddenly in April in 1923. Many people began to say that a curse had been placed on King Tutankhamun’s tomb and that Carnarvon was one of the victims of this curse. "Tutmania" gripped the imaginations of people all over the world and it is a fascination which still lives today.

With the help of Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon’s own words, the author shows his readers what it must have been like to witness and be a part of the extraordinary discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. The author successfully portrays the very disparate natures of the two men and it is possible to see that the story of their collaboration and friendship is indeed a sad one even though such a great archeological find was made because of it.