100 books like Return to Thebes

By Allen Drury,

Here are 100 books that Return to Thebes fans have personally recommended if you like Return to Thebes. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt

Nicole Sallak Anderson Author Of Origins: Song of the King's Heart

From my list on ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 7th grade, I’ve been reading and researching about ancient civilizations like Greece, the Mayans, Incans, and of course, Egypt, yet I never thought I’d write a book, much less a trilogy set thousands of years ago. While researching rebellions for another novel, I found the Great Egyptian Revolt of 200 BCE, as well as Ankhmakis’s story. Given my lifelong love of ancient mythologies, I spent the next two years collecting books about ancient Egypt. These books are but a small sampling I collected during that time in my life, and I’m so glad to share them with you.

Nicole's book list on ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty

Nicole Sallak Anderson Why did Nicole love this book?

While I didn’t find nearly enough about the Great Egyptian Revolt of 200 BCE or Ankhmakis’s plight in this book, it was an excellent resource for creating the day-to-day life of ancient Egypt.

From house building to boat designs to farming on the river, as well as the rise and fall of the various dynasties and their idiosyncrasies, Wilkinson’s book is a must read for any Egyptophile such as myself. Without it, I don’t think I would have been able to have envisioned Ankhmakis’s world the way I have.

By Toby Wilkinson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a story studded with extraordinary achievements and historic moments, from the building of the pyramids and the conquest of Nubia, through Akhenaten's religious revolution, the power and beauty of Nefertiti, the glory of Tutankhamun's burial chamber, and the ruthlessness of Ramesses, to Alexander the Great's invasion, and Cleopatra's fatal entanglement with Rome.

As the world's first nation-state, the history of Ancient Egypt is above all the story of the attempt to unite a disparate realm and defend it against hostile forces from within and without. Combining grand narrative sweep with detailed knowledge of hieroglyphs and the iconography of…


Book cover of A God Against the Gods

Nicole Sallak Anderson Author Of Origins: Song of the King's Heart

From my list on ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 7th grade, I’ve been reading and researching about ancient civilizations like Greece, the Mayans, Incans, and of course, Egypt, yet I never thought I’d write a book, much less a trilogy set thousands of years ago. While researching rebellions for another novel, I found the Great Egyptian Revolt of 200 BCE, as well as Ankhmakis’s story. Given my lifelong love of ancient mythologies, I spent the next two years collecting books about ancient Egypt. These books are but a small sampling I collected during that time in my life, and I’m so glad to share them with you.

Nicole's book list on ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty

Nicole Sallak Anderson Why did Nicole love this book?

When I first pitched my book to my agent, he recommended I read this novel, as it was his favorite novel written about ancient Egypt.

I took his advice and was immediately drawn into Ake Akhenaten's story. I’ve long been fascinated by this particular Pharaoh for many reasons, but mostly because he dared to challenge the priestly class.

This is a novel that sweeps you right into the hot sands of his city and makes you long to have been there, in the court, as he struggled to bring his god, Aten, to his people.

By Allen Drury,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A God Against the Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The sweeping chronicle of a great and tragic pharaoh who lost his throne for the love of a God.

In the glory of ancient Egypt, an epic of a royal family divided, bloody power ploys, and religious wars that nearly tore apart one of the greatest empires in human history.

AKHENATEN: The dream-filled King of Egypt, who dared to challenge the ancient order of his people and dethrone the jealous deities of his land for the glory of one almighty God.

NEFERTITI: The most beautiful woman in the world, bred from birth to be the Pharaoh’s devoted lover—and to follow…


Book cover of Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire

Nicole Sallak Anderson Author Of Origins: Song of the King's Heart

From my list on ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 7th grade, I’ve been reading and researching about ancient civilizations like Greece, the Mayans, Incans, and of course, Egypt, yet I never thought I’d write a book, much less a trilogy set thousands of years ago. While researching rebellions for another novel, I found the Great Egyptian Revolt of 200 BCE, as well as Ankhmakis’s story. Given my lifelong love of ancient mythologies, I spent the next two years collecting books about ancient Egypt. These books are but a small sampling I collected during that time in my life, and I’m so glad to share them with you.

Nicole's book list on ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty

Nicole Sallak Anderson Why did Nicole love this book?

The forty years after Alexander the Great’s death are rarely studied in history class, yet key to understanding the Ptolemaic rule in Egypt that followed.

Few books have ever covered the warfare waged among his generals as they fought one another for his empire, each one hoping to be the next Alexander, and each falling short. Instead of creating an empire, Alexander’s generals created a world of war, using the native populations of Syria, Indo-Kush, Egypt, and more as fodder in their quest to become Emperor.

Dividing the Spoils is an action-packed read, even if it is nonfiction. I couldn’t put it down.

By Robin Waterfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dividing the Spoils as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alexander the Great conquered an enormous empire--stretching from Greece to the Indian subcontinent--and his death triggered forty bloody years of world-changing events. These were years filled with high adventure, intrigue, passion, assassinations, dynastic marriages, treachery, shifting alliances, and mass slaughter on battlefield after battlefield. And while the men fought on the field, the women, such as Alexander's mother Olympias, schemed from their palaces and pavilions.

Dividing the Spoils serves up a fast-paced narrative that captures this turbulent time as it revives the memory of the Successors of Alexander and their great contest for his empire. The Successors, Robin Waterfield shows,…


Book cover of The Quest For Hermes Trismegistus: From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World

Nicole Sallak Anderson Author Of Origins: Song of the King's Heart

From my list on ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 7th grade, I’ve been reading and researching about ancient civilizations like Greece, the Mayans, Incans, and of course, Egypt, yet I never thought I’d write a book, much less a trilogy set thousands of years ago. While researching rebellions for another novel, I found the Great Egyptian Revolt of 200 BCE, as well as Ankhmakis’s story. Given my lifelong love of ancient mythologies, I spent the next two years collecting books about ancient Egypt. These books are but a small sampling I collected during that time in my life, and I’m so glad to share them with you.

Nicole's book list on ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty

Nicole Sallak Anderson Why did Nicole love this book?

I truly love most of what Gary Lachman writes. The former bassist for Blondie turned esoteric writer has covered all of the occult sciences across the ages.

In order to create a believable world in my novel, I had to bring the religious life, customs, and rituals not only of the regular people, but also for the royals and the priestly class.

In the end, my book is about their magic and The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus did not disappoint. It set my imagination within the temple, taught me of Thoth, one of their eldest cults, and from there, writing about their world became possible.

By Gary Lachman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Quest For Hermes Trismegistus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the sands of Alexandria via the Renaissance palaces of the Medicis, to our own times, this spiritual adventure story traces the profound influence of Hermes Trismegistus -- the 'thrice-great one', as he was often called -- on the western mind. For centuries his name ranked among the most illustrious of the ancient world.

Considered by some a contemporary of Moses and a forerunner of Christ, this almost mythical figure arose in fourth century BC Alexandria, from a fusion of the Egyptian god Thoth and the Greek god Hermes. Master of magic, writing, science, and philosophy, Hermes was thought to…


Book cover of Cleopatra and Egypt

Prudence J. Jones Author Of Cleopatra: A Sourcebook

From my list on Cleopatra for non-academics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by Cleopatra ever since I learned that she used science to outwit one of Rome's most powerful men by inventing the world's most expensive cocktail (a pearl disintegrated in vinegar). As a professor of Classics at Montclair State University, I have the opportunity to study ancient historical and literary texts about Cleopatra, as well as monuments, inscriptions, and papyri. I use these primary sources in teaching an advanced ancient history course on Cleopatra to undergraduate students.

Prudence's book list on Cleopatra for non-academics

Prudence J. Jones Why did Prudence love this book?

Ashton's Cleopatra and Egypt considers Cleopatra from an Egyptian perspective.

Her detailed examination of the Egyptian sources for Cleopatra's life and reign distinguishes her work from most other books, which tend to place Cleopatra into a framework of Greek and Roman history. A large number of images center the Egyptian monuments and works of art associated with Cleopatra.

The text provides ample background on the Egyptian political and religious traditions onto which the Ptolemies imposed their rule.

By Sally-Ann Ashton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cleopatra and Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This beautifully illustrated new biography of Cleopatra draws on literary, archaeological, and art historical evidence to paint an intimate and compelling portrait of the most famous Queen of Egypt. * Deconstructs the image of Cleopatra to uncover the complex historical figure behind the myth * Examines Greek, Roman, and Egyptian representations of Cleopatra * Considers how she was viewed by her contemporaries and how she presented herself * Incorporates the author's recent field work at a temple of Cleopatra in Alexandria * Beautifully illustrated with over 40 images


Book cover of Life and Death in Ancient Egypt: Scenes from Private Tombs in New Kingdom Thebes

Melinda Hartwig Author Of The Tomb Chapel of Menna (Tt 69): The Art, Culture, and Science of Painting in an Egyptian Tomb

From my list on ancient Egyptian tombs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by ancient Egypt since I was ten. I started my first project in Luxor, Egypt, when I was 21, and for the last 35+ years, these projects have uncovered the stories of Theban tomb owners and the times in which they lived. For this reason, I’ve chosen some of the most accessible books on ancient Egyptian tombs and their decoration. I hope that these books will excite you about the humanity of those who lived thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt.

Melinda's book list on ancient Egyptian tombs

Melinda Hartwig Why did Melinda love this book?

Books that examine the multiple meanings of ancient Egyptian tomb decoration in a number of tombs are depressingly rare. Hodel-Hoenes takes us on a tour of some of the most significant private tombs in the ancient necropolis of Thebes and discusses the content and symbolism of their colored reliefs and paintings in this profusely illustrated book. These tombs belong to high officials that served the king and many are not open to the public, which makes this book invaluable.

By Sigrid Hodel-Hoenes, David Warburton (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life and Death in Ancient Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This stunning volume is a rarity among Ancient Egyptian art books in being devoted not to remains of royalty but to the tombs of private people-it is the first book in English on this subject.Sigrid Hodel-Hoenes leads us on an expedition to the cemetery used by the officials of New Kingdom Egypt on the eastern flanks of the Western mountain across from Thebes, between the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. She examines the contents of eleven tombs belonging to civil servants, the private people of this ancient city. (All of these tombs are currently accessible…


Book cover of River God

Mark Knowles Author Of Argo

From my list on realistic historical fiction set in ancient Greece, Rome or Egypt.

Why am I passionate about this?

We all read (or write) fiction for a bit of escapism, don’t we? To come face-to-face with the good, the bad, and the ugly of bygone days… The ancient Mediterranean is the place I would most love to visit in a time machine (albeit fully armed and in a hazmat suit), and these writers are – for me – the best at transporting readers there from the comfort of a sofa. I’ve tried plenty of historical fiction set in other times and places - much of it very good, but the smell of olive groves, the chirruping of cicadas, and the Aegean sun always call me back!

Mark's book list on realistic historical fiction set in ancient Greece, Rome or Egypt

Mark Knowles Why did Mark love this book?

Though I have always been an unashamed ancient history nerd, ancient Egypt never quite grabbed me as strongly as Greece and Rome. However, I read this book as a callow 17-year-old traveling to Poros to row as part of the crew of a reconstructed ancient Greek trireme. The story utterly captivated me: it is packed full of action, tragedy, historical detail, and heroism, and I could feel the heat of the Egyptian sun on my skin as I read it.

I recently bought a first edition in honour of this memory, and I want to choose the right moment to revisit it. There is an odd footnote, though. The author bizarrely claimed that his book is based upon a set of scrolls discovered in an 18th-century BC Egyptian tomb and that the lead archaeologist passed the translations onto him to transcribe into a novel. Smith discarded this claim in the…

By Wilbur Smith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked River God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BOOK 1 IN THE BESTSELLING ANCIENT EGYPTIAN SERIES, FROM THE MASTER OF ADVENTURE, WILBUR SMITH

'Best historical novelist' - Stephen King

'A master storyteller' - Sunday Times

'Wilbur Smith is one of those benchmarks against whom others are compared' - The Times

'No one does adventure quite like Smith' - Daily Mirror

IN THE LAND OF GOLD
WHERE THE WEAK PHARAOH RULES
A NEW CIVILISATION WILL BE BORN

Taita is a humble slave; an expert in art, poetry, medicine and engineering, as well as the keeper of important secrets. He is the most treasured possession of Lord Intef. Yet when…


Book cover of The Tutankhamun Prophecies: The Sacred Secret of the Maya, Egyptians, and Freemasons

Harry Whitewolf Author Of The Road to Purification: Hustlers, Hassles & Hash

From my list on rethinking ancient Egypt.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in ancient Egypt ever since I read Asterix and Cleopatra when I was a boy. The hilarious moment of Obelix accidentally knocking off the Sphinx’s nose has always stayed with me in particular. By my early twenties, I was reading authors like Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, and Colin Wilson, who showed me that what we think we know about ancient Egypt is not wholly correct. For instance, there’s little evidence that the Great Pyramid’s purpose was to be a tomb and the Sphinx seems to be much older than Egyptologists believe. In 2010, at thirty-four years old, I finally got to visit the wonders of Egypt myself.

Harry's book list on rethinking ancient Egypt

Harry Whitewolf Why did Harry love this book?

What has ancient Egypt got to do with Freemasonry? Quite a lot as it turns out. The author of The Tutankhamun Prophecies, scientist and mathematician Maurice Cotterell, weaves together the esoteric knowledge of modern secret societies with Egyptian religion and the ancient Mayan people. I’m chuffed to have a signed hardback copy of this book, which I seem to recall I found in a charity shop. Actually, now I come to think of it, the bloke that sold it to me gave me a rather funny handshake… Hm…

By Maurice Cotterell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tutankhamun Prophecies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This text reveals the remarkable similarities between Tutankhamun and Lord Pacal of the Maya. Re-examining the life, times and tomb of Tutankhamun, Maurice Cotterell explains many of the mysteries that have puzzled scholars.


Book cover of The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, the Tomb, the Royal Treasure (King Tut)

Ann R. Williams Author Of Treasures of Egypt: A Legacy in Photographs From the Pyramids to Cleopatra

From my list on King Tut and his treasures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied the ancient world in college, but Egypt really got my attention when I covered the CT scanning of King Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings on January 5, 2005, for National Geographic magazine, where I was a staff writer for many years. Ancient Egypt has become one of my great passions, especially the royal successions of the 18th dynasty and the saga of King Tut. I’m currently president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt, and I host a lecture about ancient Egypt every month for that group. I’m also studying hieroglyphs—and appreciating how the landscape comes alive now that I can read the signs.

Ann's book list on King Tut and his treasures

Ann R. Williams Why did Ann love this book?

This is one of my go-to books. There is simply no other book that rounds up all the aspects of the search for Tut’s tomb, the eventual discovery and the stunning contents for the general reader. It’s a good read and a very helpful reference that I return to again and again. It’s most especially useful in how it organizes the artifacts from the tomb, with chapters on everything from the golden sarcophagus and mask to the ritual couches, jewelry, clothing, games and musical instruments, chairs and thrones, and much more. It’s got lists. It’s got photos. It’s an indispensable reference.

By Nicholas Reeves,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Complete Tutankhamun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Tomb of Tutankhamun, with its breathtaking treasures, has exerted a unique hold on the popular imagination ever since its discovery by Howard Carter in 1922. It remains the greatest tomb find ever made. This is the fullest account yet published of the world's greatest archaeological discovery.

Contents include:
* the story of Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon's long quest for the tomb in the Valley of the Kings
* double-page features on each stage of the discovery, each chamber of the tomb, and all the main treasures
* extracts from Carter's notes and diaries and first-time publication of many…


Book cover of The Egyptian Museum Cairo: Official Catalogue

Ann R. Williams Author Of Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: 100 Discoveries That Changed the World

From my list on ancient Egypt’s pharaohs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an archaeologist by training and a journalist by profession. During my long career as a staff writer at National Geographic magazine, and now as a freelance Nat Geo book editor and author, I have often written about the ancient world and cultural heritage preservation. I was very lucky to be sent to Egypt on a number of occasions to write stories about sites and discoveries, and I have now come to specialize in Egyptology. I recently took an online course that taught me how to read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. I’m still in glyph kindergarten, but every new sign I learn is allowing me to better understand—and interpret—the culture of the pharaohs.

Ann's book list on ancient Egypt’s pharaohs

Ann R. Williams Why did Ann love this book?

I bought this catalogue many years ago in the crowded, chaotic store that used to sell books just inside the front door of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

It remains one of the best sources for descriptions of artifacts displayed in the museum for many decades—everything from King Tut’s gold mask to lifelike statues of scribes, detailed models of boats, and illustrated passages from the Book of the Dead on sheets of papyrus.

Many of these artifacts have recently been transferred to the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) and other state-of-the-art facilities. I’m going to have to start noting in this book where my favorite things have ended up.

By Mohamed Saleh, Hourig Sourouzian, Jurgen Liepe (photographer)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Egyptian Museum Cairo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Mohamed Saleh, Hourig Sourouzian


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Egypt, ancient Egypt, and Tutankhamun?

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