Review by Pat Regel She was almost certainly of the class of the wealthy Egyptian elite, believed to have been petite and slender with brown eyes, light-brown skin, and wavy brown or black hair. But her name, literally a beautiful woman has come, hardly prepares visitors of the Berlin Museum for their first glimpse of her. From the moment her painted bust was first viewed in 1912, those who have seen it have been captivated by her image, acknowledging it as the hallmark of ageless feminine beauty.

The ancients universally regarded Egypt's 18th Dynastic Period as a focal point of the civilized world. Its royal court was acclaimed as the epitome of sophisticated luxury, and the empire under Amenhotep IV (1353-1336 BC) stretched unchallenged from Nubia to Syria. Even women enjoyed unique legal freedoms, owning property and working outside the home. Into this enlightened climate, Joyce Tyldesley's Nefertiti retraces the footsteps of the lovely wife of the heretic pharaoh Amenhotep IV, who has come to be known as the world's first monotheist. Little is known of her parents or early life until she unexpectedly bursts upon the scene and is hailed by her infatuated husband as Fair of Face, Mistress of Joy, Endowed with Charm, Great of Love. Her story, set against the backdrop of privilege, prestige, and power, reads like a detective novel. Taking her place at her husband's side, Nefertiti aids him in systematically erasing the image and worship of the supreme god of the Egyptians, Amen. In his place, the royal duo install the Aten, the One true god, as the only deity worthy of worship. Then, all too suddenly, she vanishes from Egyptian court records, never to be heard of again. Was she banished by her husband or raised to rule as his equal? Did she reign, in her own right, under another name? Could she have been the real power behind the throne of the young pharaoh Tutankhamen, her son-in-law? Join Tyldesley as she ferrets out clues, illuminates the past, and takes the reader further along in the quest to discover more about the ancient world's most fascinating queen.

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