Monday, 19 July 2010

The Lost Sarcophagus of Menkaure: a novel approach to the mystery

I have just discovered there is a fictional account of the search for the lost sarcophagus of Menkaure written by the historian and author Jean-Jacques Fiechter (pictured left).

The novel - "A la recherche du sarcophage perdu de Mykérinos" (which translates as "In search of the lost sarcophagus of Menkaure" - was published by Maisonneuve and Larose, Paris, in 2005.

The French synopsis of the book reads:  "Octobre 1838. La 'Béatrice', un brick marchand anglais, s'abîme en mer, alors qu'il ramenait à Londres le sarcophage du pharaon Menkauré, le bâtisseur de la troisième pyramide de Gizeh. Mis au courant de son existence par une lettre de sa mère, décédée dans d'étranges conditions, un jeune universitaire part à la recherche du sarcophage englouti."

In English, this roughly translates (I think ) as: "October 1838. The 'Beatrice', an English merchant brig, is wrecked at sea, while it was returning to London with the sarcophagus of the Pharaoh Menkaure, the builder of the third pyramid of Giza. Upon learning of its existence in a letter from his mother, who died under mysterious circumstances, a young scholar goes in search of sunken sarcophagus."

Jean-Jacques Fiechter is also the author of "Egyptian Fakes: Masterpieces that Duped the Art World and the Experts Who Refuted Them". He is also the author of "Death By Publication", which was awarded France's Grand Prize for Detective Fiction, the equivalent of the Edgar Award. Fiechter was formerly head of a famous Swiss watch company and lives outside Geneva.

It will be interesting to see how much of the book is based on the known historical facts about the missing artifact.

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