8 Feb 2012



London, 1821. Just back from Egypt, the adventurer Giovanni Belzoni amazes Londoners with the city's first exhibition devoted to Egyptian art. As he unveils his star exhibit, a mummy so perfectly preserved it seems almost alive, there is a collective intake of breath.

The astonishing spectacle provokes an immediate scandal. A hysterical preacher demands the destruction of this pagan relic; an elderly Lord wants to feed it to his dogs; a pathologist wishes to hold on to the body in order to study this fascinating phenomenon.

But the following night, the mummy disappears - and the preacher, the Lord and the pathologist are murdered.

The case is handed to the country's foremost detective, Inspector Higgins, who is convinced that the prime suspect is none other than the mummy itself. He also suspects that the revolutionary conspiracy brewing in London's poorest districts and the mummy's disappearance are closely linked.

Assisted by the beautiful Lady Suzanna, will Inspector Higgins succeed in solving the puzzle before the mummy's inescapable judgement?
........ Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): The giant recoiled in fright.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 90): ...... "Either Inspector Higgins was mocking me and I shall laugh at my own naivety, or I shall defend this mummy. A human being, even one which is several hundred years old, must be protected from injustice."

KEEP IT OR NOT?: Because I have all of Jacq's other books and because this was a  Christmas present I will keeping this but only because I do not have the heart to give it away.

Hugely interested in all things Ancient Egypt, I adore the books of Christian Jacq ....... a shame then that this should prove the exception to the rule.

A whodunit with a supernatural element to it, The Judgement Of The Mummy, a mix of story and truth, is set in the England of the early 1820's as opposed to Ancient Egypt. Shockingly bad, I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I was, this book in no way worked for me. In fact I have so many criticisms please excuse me for using bullet points, something I rarely do in my book reviews but feel the need for on this occasion.

  • At 500+ pages this is a relatively long novel - not something that normally bothers me BUT this plodded along with no real excitement or danger to speak of.
  • For a book that was so long we never got to really know any of the characters, one dimensional at best, at times I really struggled to remember just who was who - not good at the best of times but even worse in a whodunit.
  • Seemingly not very well researched, it felt to me as if Jacq's was out of his comfort zone with this one, that his knowledge of this period was somewhat lacking causing him to make some 'school boy' errors.
  • The story telling was pretty repetitive, a large chunk of the dialogue being given over to Inspector Higgins interviewing and re-interviewing the same suspects.
  • And as for the ending, what can I say? Ludicrous, ridiculous, preposterous ...... words cannot express just how silly this was.
But surely there must have been something worthwhile?

I suppose so. The paragraphs dealing with the use of Egyptian mummies at this period in time made for interesting if somewhat gruesome reading. Oh, and there is an interesting chapter at the end of the novel which takes a look at the mystery of mummies.

Bitterly disappointed, I just hope that in the future the author sticks with ancient Egypt which is what he does best.


naida said...

That's too bad this dissapointed :( I do like anything having to do with Ancient Egypt.

GMR said...

I'm there with you on the Egyptian interest but I don't know....not quite sure this one would suit my reading fancy. Plus the hefty size with a lack of draw...think I'll pass. Thanks for the share though!

Kelly said...

I've not read any of this author's books. Mummies fascinate me and the blurb sounded pretty good on this one. A shame it didn't turn out that way.

P.N. Subramanian said...

A beautiful review. My niece is trying to locate the book from the City stores.

The Golden Eagle said...

I'm sorry to hear it was so disappointing!

carol said...

The synopsis sounded interesting. It's a shame it didn't live up to its promise.

Mamakucingbooks said...

quite some time ago I have bought one of Christian Jacq book. I think it was Ramses something something..didnt finish reading it coz I just couldn't "connect" with the book.

Maybe I'll gie it one more chance.