The Shadow King: The bizarre afterlife of King Tut’s mummy
Published in June 2013
Award-winning science writer Jo Marchant traces the story of King Tutankhamun’s mummy from its first brutal autopsy in 1925 to the most recent arguments over its DNA. From the glamorous treasure hunts of the 1920s to today’s high-tech scans in volatile modern Egypt, Marchant introduces us to the brilliant and sometimes flawed people who have devoted their lives to revealing the mummy’s secrets, unravels the truth behind the hyped up TV documentaries, and explains what science can and can’t tell us about King Tutankhamun.
Hugely enjoyable…luminous and illuminating…rich in bright perception. The Guardian.
Ms. Marchant expounds Tut’s scientific aspects and mysteries with engaging clarity. Wall Street Journal
Jo Marchant lifts the golden mask…[a] rip-roaring story. Nature
[A] thoughtful account of the post-unearthing life of the famous royal. Smithsonian magazine
Science journalism at its best…intense and exciting…like a fast-paced detective novel, with cliff-hanger chapter endings and breathtaking impetus. City Book Review
An unusual, gripping spin on the familiar. New Scientist
Captivating…haunting…compelling. American Way
Remarkable…tragic…none of those previous Tutankhamun books has the sheer crackle of The Shadow King. Open Letters Monthly
A wild ride. Sacramento Bee
A rare book: journalism as lively as a mystery novel, researched as first rate science. Book News
Science journalist Jo Marchant is not prepared to accept what she is told without examining the underlying evidence…she tells a fascinating story which, quite rightly, presents us with facts and interpretations rather than certainties. Ancient Egypt magazine
Jo Marchant has chosen to do something more interesting than rehash the big moment [of the tomb’s discovery]. Instead, she has written a thrilling account of what has happened to the mummy…The Shadow King shows our human failings, most notably greed and pride. Literary Review
*** The Shadow King is published by Da Capo press. To purchase, please click here ***
Talks and interviews:
Jo Marchant talks to Nick Higham about The Shadow King
BBC Meet the Author 11 July 2013 Watch here
Jo Marchant talks to Alok Jha about the history, science, politics – and curse – of King Tut’s mummy
The Guardian Science Weekly podcast 10 June 2013 Listen here
- How Howard Carter discovered King Tut’s golden tomb
A hundred years on, the definitive story of the dig that changed the world.
Smithsonian, 3 November 2022
- Digital Egypt
How CT scans, 3D printers and virtual reality are bringing the pharaohs to life.
New Scientist, 2 November 2022
- Is this Nefertiti’s tomb?
Radar clues reignite debate over hidden chambers.
Nature, 19 February 2020
- Why does the mummy’s curse refuse to die?
Once a myth lurches into life, there’s no stopping it.
Aeon, 25 October 2013
- In the name of the king
Why everyone from the Mormons to the Muslim Brotherhood wants a piece of Tutankhamun’s DNA.
Matter, 30 July 2013
- The curious case of the mummy in the cupboard
A little old lady from Rhyl, and the murder case of the decade.
Wonders & Marvels, 19 July 2013
- 9 bizarre facts you didn’t know about King Tut’s mummy
Some of my highlights from the intriguing modern life of King Tut.
Huffington Post, 5 June 2013
- Egyptian mummies yield genetic secrets
Ancient Egyptian genomes could soon be routine.
Nature, 12 April 2013
- Spring comes to ancient Egypt
As the country struggles to refashion its government, archaeologists are looking warily towards the future.
Nature, 23 November 2011
- Curse of the Pharaoh’s DNA
How Egyptian mummies have split the field of ancient DNA.
Nature, 27 April 2011
- Pharaonic forensics
What killed Tutankhamun?
New Scientist, 19 January 2011
- The secrets of Tutankhamun
Howard Carter spent years documenting the thousands of artefacts from Tut’s tomb. Now, this remarkable archive can be viewed online.
The Observer, 18 July 2010