Cover image for The mask of Ra
The mask of Ra
Doherty, P. C.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Physical Description:
244 pages : map ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
820 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 5.5 14 Quiz: 19261 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


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His great battles against the sea raiders in the Nile Delta have left Pharaoh Tuthmosis II weak and frail, but he finds solace in victory and the welcome he is sure to receive on his return to Thebes. Across the river from the Egyptian capital, however, not all take pleasure in his homecoming.

Reunited with his wife, Hatusu, and his people, Tuthmosis stands before the statue of Amun-Ra, the roar of the crowd and the fanfare of the trumpets ringing in his ears. But within an hour the Pharaoh is dead, and his unfinished tomb ritually polluted by a witch.

The people of Thebes cannot forget the murder and the desecration any more easily than they can forget the frightful omen of wounded doves flying overhead. Rumor runs rife, speculation sweeps the royal city, and Hatusu vows to uncover the truth. With the aid of Amerotke, a respected judge of Thebes, she embarks on a path destined to reveal the great secrets of Egypt.

The Mask of Ra is a compelling and dramatic novel set against the background of Egypt's eighteenth dynasty--a time of great change, as warlike Pharaohs fought to control not only the tribes on their western and southern borders, but to bring their subjects firmly under their rule.

Author Notes

Paul C. Doherty was born on September 21, 1946. He is an award winning British author, educator, and historian. He is also the Headmaster of Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green, Essex, in the United Kingdom. He went to Liverpool University where he gained a First Class Honours Degree in History and at Exeter College, Oxford, where he received a doctorate for his thesis on Edward II. Dr. Doherty is a historian who lectures for a number of organisations, particularly on historical mysteries.

Dr. Doherty was awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to education in 2011. His other career is that of Headmaster at Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green, Essex for 30 years. In 1999, the school was given Beacon status which rates it as outstanding among other schools in it's category.

Dr. Doherty has published a series of historical mysteries set in the Middle Ages, Classical, Greek, and Ancient Egypt. He writes both fiction and non-fiction under his own name, both as P.C. Doherty and Paul C. Doherty, as well as the pennames: Anna Apostolou, Michael Clynes, and Ann Dukthas. Doherty is the author of several mystery series, including The Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan, the Hugh Corbett medieval mysteries, and the Canterbury Tales of mystery. He has written 100 published books which have been printed in several languages and distributed in several different countries including the UK, United States, Spain, and Germany. He was also awarded the Herodotus, for lifelong achievement for excellence in the writing of historical mysteries by the Historical Mystery Appreciation Society.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Acclaimed medieval mystery writer Doherty turns his attention to an entirely new venue. Reaching back further in time, Doherty meticulously reconstructs the exotic milieu of ancient Egypt, fashioning an appropriately intriguing backdrop for a promising new series. Returning to Thebes after a glorious victory in battle, Pharaoh Tuthmosis II is anxious to share a mystical secret with his young wife; before he can reveal this startling information, however, he apparently succumbs to the bite of a poisonous snake. Since the gods demand retribution, it is the duty of Amerotke, chief judge of Thebes, to decide who was responsible for the death of the pharaoh. While Amerotke investigates, a vicious power struggle between Queen Hatusu and Grand Vizier Rahimerre ensues, and Amerotke finds himself in grave danger as political passions threaten the stability of the legal system. An intelligently crafted thriller steeped in authentic historical detail; perfect for fans of Linda S. Thompson's Lord Meren series. --Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1479 B.C., Pharaoh Tuthmosis II returns in triumph to the city of Thebes after a series of victorious battles in the Nile Delta. But soon after his homecoming, he dies in the arms of his wife, at the foot of a statue of his patron god, Amun-Ra. Tuthmosis's untimely death, apparently caused by a snake bite, results in political chaos as the forces surrounding the throne coalesce into two camps: one supports the ascension of the pharaoh's illegitimate young son; the other, that of his widow and half-sister, Hatusu. Meanwhile, the chief judge of Thebes, Amerotke, must try the captain of the guard for the pharaoh's death, since he failed to remove the deadly snake from the royal barge. When Hatusu tries to claim his loyalty, Amerotke is forced into the conflict surrounding the succession. Several murders ensue, raising questions about the true nature of Tuthmosis's demise. Doherty (Ghostly Murders, etc.) excels at historical detail, bringing ancient Egypt to life in his descriptions of daily life and characters drawn from every caste. This novel launches a seriesÄand that's good news. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Into the power vacuum created by the sudden death of Pharoah Tuthmosis II in Thebes step the greedy grand vizier, several ambitious generals, and the pharaoh's stunning young widow Hatusu (a.k.a. Hatshepsut). Chief judge Amerotke, investigating the death, suspects that an accused guard is merely a political scapegoat and that the pharaoh's death has some connection to a series of tomb desecrations, robberies, and related murders. This new series marks a sharp departure from Doherty's usual medieval milieus (e.g., The Devil's Hunt, LJ 2/1/98), but he covers Egypt's ancient pageantry, splendor, and corruption with equal authenticity. Certain to capture historical fans. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.