One of the most compelling and controversial figures in ancient Egyptian history, Akhenaten has captured the imagination like no other Egyptian pharaoh. Much has been written about this strange, persecuted figure, whose depiction in effigies is totally at odds with the traditional depiction of the Egyptian ruler-hero. Akhenaten sought to impose upon Egypt and its people the worship of a single god—the sun god—and in so doing changed the country in every way.
In Akhenaten, Nicholas Reeves presents an entirely new perspective on the turbulent events of Akhenaten’s seventeen-year reign. Reeves argues that, far from being the idealistic founder of a new faith, the Egyptian ruler cynically used religion for political gain in a calculated attempt to reassert the authority of the king and concentrate all power in his hands. Backed by abundant archaeological and documentary evidence, Reeves’s narrative also provides many new insights into questions that have baffled scholars for generations—the puzzle of the body in Tomb 55 in the Valley of the Kings; the fate of Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s beautiful wife; the identity of his mysterious successor, Smenkhkare; and the theory that Tutankhamun, Akhenaten’s son and heir to the throne, was murdered.
Nicholas Reeves is an Egyptologist specializing in the history and material culture of the Amarna period and its immediate aftermath. He has held curatorial positions at the British Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and worked extensively as an archaeologist both in and around the tomb of Tutankhamun. He is the author of several books, including Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet and The Complete Valley of the Kings, both published by Thames & Hudson.