Luxor: Book of Past Lives by Julie Bettendorf is a new work of historical fiction that transports the reader into Egyptian past. The simple, understated cover gives little hint of the fast paced action and dialogue contained. The author inserts enough authentic details to satisfy the scrutiny of any ancient scholar, yet delivers enough action packed detail to keep the reader glued to the page.
With the opening scene, I felt as if I was transported back into time, witnessing the sacred rite of embalming. Unlike a text on Egypt filled with detail and historical analysis- the scene came to life with lively dialog and three dimensional characters- just as real as any great work of fiction. As Bettendorf states in her author's note, the purpose of this book is to allow the reader a " 'window' into the past", (Bittendorf, 2015). She succeeds in this, making this not only a realistic work of historical fiction, but an entertaining work of fiction as well. It is not a dry documentary of ancient Eygpt. This novel represents years of painstaking research, and it shows in her ability to deliver this true to history story. Having had earned my BS in history almost 20 years ago, sometimes the only opportunity to get behind the scenes of a particular time period is to do your own research. Egypt is a fascinating time period- with more to it than popular media would let you believe. It is more than mummies and pyramids. Not too many writers have the patience and the skill to put together an authentic story such as this. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Outskirts press, for the purpose of writing this review.