The Amarna Period: an ongoing fictional historiography

Like most anyone who asked themselves why King Tut was only ever a boy-king, I have had a fascination with the Amarna Period of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty since small times.  I’ve decided to seek out novels, films, or other literature dealing with the crisis of the Amarna Period – that is, the late reign of Pharaoh Amunhotep III, his son Akhenaten the religious reformer, and his succession – and review them.
There are a great deal of books, many of them bad, some of them merely outdated, and I dare say I will never get tired of them.  Personally, I think there should be more films.  Why don’t we see nearly as many screen depictions of the Amarna Period as we do, say, the Tudors?  I should think it offers as much, if not a great deal more, to appeal.  Instead of poorly-bathed white people in badly heated castles, all backstabbing each other for the attentions of fat, rotten old Harry, you can have bright sun and golden palaces and characters in various states of bejeweled shirtlessness.  You can even examine the same disputes over the power of Church in State.  Is Akhenaten a mystic visionary or a tyrant, a Mad King Ludwig or a Kim Il-sung?  Is Nefertiti a politician or an opportunist – an Evita or an Imelda?  Is Ankhesenamun a pawn, a traitor, or in control of her own destiny?
All these things, we are in no position to know, and barring further discoveries, we never will.  That is why they will be endlessly examined in fiction, and why I will endlessly read about them.  What draws me to read and to write historical fiction is that, where we do not faithfully tell the stories of the past, we are telling instead stories about ourselves; and those, though inadvertent, are no less of interest to me.

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