The best mummy books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about mummies and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of The Mummy (or Ramses the Damned)

If you haven’t read The Mummy by Anne Rice, you’re totally missing out. Her deliciously intense prose and ability to render an environment with emotional impact always thrills me. And while I love the Vampire Lestat books, the tale of Ramses and Julie is part Beauty and the Beast, part Raiders of the Lost Ark, and all awesome. Anne Rice brings you to the early 20th century in London while Egyptian “recovery” was all the rage and I swear you can see, feel and taste that experience on every page. It’s billed as a horror, but I’ve always read it as a deeply adventurous and exciting love story.

The Mummy (or Ramses the Damned)

By Anne Rice,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mummy (or Ramses the Damned) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Ramses the Great returns in this “darkly magical” (USA Today) novel from bestselling author Anne Rice

“The reader is held captive and, ultimately, seduced.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Ramses the Great lives!

But having drunk the elixer of live, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied—for food, for wine, for women.

Reawakened in opulent Edwardian London, he becomes Dr. Ramsey, expert in Egyptology. He also becomes the close companion of voluptuous, adventurous Julie Stratford, heiress to a vast shipping fortune and the center…


Who am I?

I grew up in a hard-core reader family. Everyone always had a book in their hands, so it came naturally to me to absorb everything in the house library before the urge to write caught up with me. My first typewriter was my mother’s from college, my twelve-year-old self delighted by the opportunity to express herself at last in ways that made sense to me (especially since I was the weirdo introvert who talked to the voices in her head). Since my parents exposed me to a multitude of genres, it’s no surprise I write everything from sci-fi to post-apocalyptic, fantasy and horror, cozy mysteries, and young adult paranormal.


I wrote...

Family Magic

By Patti Larsen,

Book cover of Family Magic

What is my book about?

Her mom’s a witch, her dad’s a demon, but Sydlynn Hayle just wants to be ordinary. When an insidious evil comes for her coven, only she can save her family’s magic.

Egyptian Mummies

By Bob Brier,

Book cover of Egyptian Mummies: Unraveling the Secrets of an Ancient Art

Egyptologist Bob Brier is the foremost expert on Egyptian mummies. He is famous for actually mummifying a human body as a science experiment, with Dr. Ronn Wade in 1994. This was the first time a human was mummified in 2000 years. This is a popular book, entertaining, but accurate. He covers everything we know about ancient Egyptian mummification. 

Egyptian Mummies

By Bob Brier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Egyptian Mummies results from research done in preparation for the mummification of a human body, the first to be done in the Egyptian style in two thousand years. Through these studies, noted Egyptologist Bob Brier has unearthed the gripping stories of grave robberies and stolen mummies, the forgotten language of the pharaohs, and the tombs of the royal mummies. In an easily accesible and lively style, Brier uncovers the complete historical context of ancient Egyptian culture and offers a fascinating contemporary interpretation of it. Illuminating their mysteries, myths, sacred rituals, and heiroglyphic writing, Egyptian Mummies brings the ancients to life.


Who am I?

I have been fascinated by ancient Egypt since I was a child and dressed up to play as ancient Egyptian with her friends. I studied fine art in college, and was trained in archaeological illustration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I worked as a staff illustrator in the Department of Egyptian Art. I later worked in the Department of Egyptian Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. I have worked as the technical illustrator for a dozen archaeological digs in Egypt, Turkey, Spain, Belize, and California. 


I wrote...

The Mummy Makers of Egypt

By Tamara Bower,

Book cover of The Mummy Makers of Egypt

What is my book about?

From artist and Egypt specialist Tamara Bower comes her third, gorgeous book about Ancient Egypt. Using the classic style of Egyptian art, the book is painstakingly accurate in facts and illustrative style. Artifacts, funerary customs, kid-loving gory details of the mummification process, hieroglyphs, and details of life in ancient Egypt are told through the eyes of Ipy, whose father is embalmer to the King. Yuya, father of the Queen, has died and Ipy must help his father in the mummification process. The book features sidebars of hieroglyphs and their meanings, a map, and an afterword telling more about the life of Yuya, the burial process, and ancient Egypt in general. While there are a number of children's books on mummies, none are illustrated with the meticulous eye of Tamara Bower.

Book cover of An Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Papyrus of Sobekmose

I remember being a kid in a museum, staring at the figurines making up a strange judgment scene. Gods weighing a man’s heart against a feather – what was that all about? If you want to understand the ancient Egyptians, you need a good Book of the Dead. This translation of the goldsmith Sobekmose’s burial copy won’t bring any cursed mummies back to life, but it gives you a road map to ancient Egyptian paradise... and some neat spells to control demons, if they happen to turn up along the way. 

An Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

By Paul F. O' Rourke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Book of the Dead of Sobekmose, in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, New York, is one of the most important surviving examples of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead genre. Such `books' - papyrus scrolls - were composed of traditional funerary texts, including magic spells, that were thought to assist a dead person on their journey into the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians believed in an underworld fraught with dangers that needed to be carefully navigated, from the familiar, such as snakes and scorpions, to the extraordinary: lakes of fire to cross, animal-headed demons to pass and, of…


Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt – a remote era of history, but so well preserved! I love reading the old documents and finding out what they ate or why the worker Tilamentu was absent from the building site one day. (Turns out he had a fight with his wife). Pop culture likes to focus on the mummies, especially the cursed kind, and I couldn’t help wondering why. Where did those ideas come from? Did the Egyptians actually believe in curses? And what would someone like Tilamentu Q. Public think of it all? I hope you enjoy learning about it as much as I did!


I wrote...

Painter of the Dead

By Catherine Butzen,

Book cover of Painter of the Dead

What is my book about?

When the Egyptology department needs funds to offset a recent spate of museum thefts, Theodora Speer trades her painting smock for an evening gown. Charming donors isn’t usually her idea of a good time—but then, she doesn't usually get to meet handsome and mysterious men like Seth Adler. Seth is desperate to get close to a specific Egyptian mummy, and attending a fundraising gala seems just the ticket. He doesn’t expect to meet Theo... and he definitely doesn't expect her to interfere with his plans.

Frantic to escape, Seth kills himself in front of Theo. Except it turns out he’s not so dead after all, and it’s up to Theo to keep him that way. Even if it means fleeing the police, practicing ancient Egyptian magic, and confronting the real thief.

The Monkey's Paw

By W.W. Jacobs,

Book cover of The Monkey's Paw

The Monkeys Paw is one of those short stories we either read or heard someone tell us about it. And so it goes overlooked. If you havent read it, do yourself a favor and read it. If you have read it, do yourself a favor and revisit it. Its short, its available, its a horror classic, and its very likely what Stephen King had in mind when he wrote Pet Sematary

The Monkey's Paw

By W.W. Jacobs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Monkey's Paw as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Outside, the night is cold and wet. Inside, the White family sits and waits. Where is their visitor? There is a knock at the door. A man is standing outside in the dark. Their visitor has arrived. The visitor waits. He has been in India for many years. What has he got? He has brought the hand of a small, dead animal - a monkey's paw. Outside, in the dark, the visitor smiles and waits for the door to open.


Who am I?

I grew up reading dark fiction, and the only two books I kept from that period were The Wicked Heart and Whisper of Death, both by Christopher Pike. Though both were categorized as horror, the first is a crime mystery that partly follows the murderer, while the latter feels like an episode out of The Twilight Zone. I never cared for pure horror, and a book doesn’t have to scare me for me to find them enjoyable. What I often wanted was a tangible sense of dread paired with insight into the human psyche, which I believe makes for a more potent reading experience. 


I wrote...

Lesath

By A.M. Kherbash,

Book cover of Lesath

What is my book about?

Amateur journalist Greg travels to a remote mountain area to investigate rumors of a sinister building only to find himself imprisoned there. As he tries to escape, he evinces symptoms of a strange affliction and struggles to remain conscious while maintaining an uncertain hold on reality.

Divine Creatures

By Salima Ikram (editor),

Book cover of Divine Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt

Egyptologist Salina Ikram is the foremost expert on Egyptian animal mummies. She has performed mummification on numerous animals in order to better understand the ancient Egyptian process of mummification. This book is by a number of egyptologists. It is academic, but not difficult to understand. It gives information on different animals that were mummified, and the context in which they were discovered.

Divine Creatures

By Salima Ikram (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The invention of mummification enabled the ancient Egyptians to preserve the bodies not only of humans but also of animals, so that they could live forever. Mummified animals are of four different types: food offerings, pets, sacred animals, and votive offerings. For the first time, a series of studies on the different types of animal mummies, the methods of mummification, and the animal cemeteries located at sites throughout Egypt are drawn together in a definitive volume on ancient Egyptian animal mummies. Studies of these animals provide information not only about the fauna of the country, and indirectly, its climate, but…


Who am I?

I have been fascinated by ancient Egypt since I was a child and dressed up to play as ancient Egyptian with her friends. I studied fine art in college, and was trained in archaeological illustration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I worked as a staff illustrator in the Department of Egyptian Art. I later worked in the Department of Egyptian Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. I have worked as the technical illustrator for a dozen archaeological digs in Egypt, Turkey, Spain, Belize, and California. 


I wrote...

The Mummy Makers of Egypt

By Tamara Bower,

Book cover of The Mummy Makers of Egypt

What is my book about?

From artist and Egypt specialist Tamara Bower comes her third, gorgeous book about Ancient Egypt. Using the classic style of Egyptian art, the book is painstakingly accurate in facts and illustrative style. Artifacts, funerary customs, kid-loving gory details of the mummification process, hieroglyphs, and details of life in ancient Egypt are told through the eyes of Ipy, whose father is embalmer to the King. Yuya, father of the Queen, has died and Ipy must help his father in the mummification process. The book features sidebars of hieroglyphs and their meanings, a map, and an afterword telling more about the life of Yuya, the burial process, and ancient Egypt in general. While there are a number of children's books on mummies, none are illustrated with the meticulous eye of Tamara Bower.

Mummy's Little Soldier

By Rikon Gaites,

Book cover of Mummy's Little Soldier

In her first crime novel, Gaites portrays a psychopathic monster in Ivan Smallbone, and a relentless race against time by police to stop him. Populated by flawed characters, Gaites explores the human psyche to great effect in driving her novel to its inevitable and tragic conclusion. Not for the squeamish.

Mummy's Little Soldier

By Rikon Gaites,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mummy's Little Soldier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mummy’s Little Soldier

1960 – Late in life Marjorie Smallbone gave birth to her only child. Relieved he was perfect, she named him Ivan. As the years went by, she discovered perfection is only skin-deep.

1983 – Sentenced to serve eight years in prison for the manslaughter of many young school children, upon her release in 1991 June Saunders’ appearance had changed. Shortly after, so did her name.

1994 – New Year’s Eve. DI Leo Thorne has identified similarities between two vicious rapes, but with no evidence to go on, his investigation’s stalled before it’s begun. Then, a sadistic rapist…


Who am I?

I was fascinated by American True Crime magazines from an early age. I used to buy them with my pocket money from a second-hand bookstore near my home. I graduated to reading novels by the age of ten, sneaking my father’s book collection into my bedroom one at a time to read after lights out. His books covered everything from The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins to The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley. By seventeen, I promised myself I’d write a novel one day. Most of my books are crime themed with a supernatural flavour. My debut, The Sister was published in 2013 and since then I’ve completed three more novels and several short stories.


I wrote...

The Night of The Mosquito

By Max China,

Book cover of The Night of The Mosquito

What is my book about?

An apocalyptic event strikes without warning, wiping out power and communications throughout the world. Against this backdrop, a psychiatric patient with links to Jack the Ripper escapes custody. Leaving a trail of murder in his wake, he heads into the hills above the village of Churchend. 

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the village, retired hypnotherapist Michael Anderson suffers an extreme reaction to a mosquito bite. The resulting delirium and soul-searching convince him his life is about to change – and then, from high on the hill, he hears the bells of a disused local church ring for the first time in years…

Red Land, Black Land

By Barbara Mertz,

Book cover of Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt

When my father and I were getting ready to visit Egypt for the first time, he asked me for a book to introduce him to Egyptology. I gave him Red Land, Black Land. It brings you right into the distant yet familiar world of ancient Egypt: we see families fighting in letters, bored kids falling asleep in school, and scribes gloating over how amazing they are compared to everyone else. The past can seem so strange, but this book brings it to life.

Red Land, Black Land

By Barbara Mertz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Red Land, Black Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating, erudite, and witty glimpse of the human side of ancient Egypt—this acclaimed classic work is now revised and updated for a new generation

Displaying the unparalleled descriptive power, unerring eye for fascinating detail, keen insight, and trenchant wit that have made the novels she writes (as Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels) perennial New York Times bestsellers, internationally renowned Egyptologist Barbara Mertz brings a long-buried civilization to vivid life. In Red Land, Black Land, she transports us back thousands of years and immerses us in the sights, aromas, and sounds of day-to-day living in the legendary desert realm that…


Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt – a remote era of history, but so well preserved! I love reading the old documents and finding out what they ate or why the worker Tilamentu was absent from the building site one day. (Turns out he had a fight with his wife). Pop culture likes to focus on the mummies, especially the cursed kind, and I couldn’t help wondering why. Where did those ideas come from? Did the Egyptians actually believe in curses? And what would someone like Tilamentu Q. Public think of it all? I hope you enjoy learning about it as much as I did!


I wrote...

Painter of the Dead

By Catherine Butzen,

Book cover of Painter of the Dead

What is my book about?

When the Egyptology department needs funds to offset a recent spate of museum thefts, Theodora Speer trades her painting smock for an evening gown. Charming donors isn’t usually her idea of a good time—but then, she doesn't usually get to meet handsome and mysterious men like Seth Adler. Seth is desperate to get close to a specific Egyptian mummy, and attending a fundraising gala seems just the ticket. He doesn’t expect to meet Theo... and he definitely doesn't expect her to interfere with his plans.

Frantic to escape, Seth kills himself in front of Theo. Except it turns out he’s not so dead after all, and it’s up to Theo to keep him that way. Even if it means fleeing the police, practicing ancient Egyptian magic, and confronting the real thief.

The Mummy's Curse

By Roger Luckhurst,

Book cover of The Mummy's Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy

The Victorians loved mummies and mummy stories... and before I read The Mummy’s Curse, I’d never heard of any of them! The nineteenth century’s obsession with Egypt and curses doesn’t get talked about much today. This book opened me up to a whole new world of stories, including some strange curse tales that never got quite as big as King Tut. (Which is a shame, because some of them are wonderfully creepy!)

The Mummy's Curse

By Roger Luckhurst,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mummy's Curse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the winter of 1922-23 archaeologist Howard Carter and his wealthy patron George Herbert, the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon, sensationally opened the tomb of Tutenkhamen. Six weeks later Herbert, the sponsor of the expedition, died in Egypt. The popular press went wild with rumours of a curse on those who disturbed the Pharaoh's rest and for years followed every twist and turn of the fate of the men who had been involved in the historic discovery. Long dismissed by
Egyptologists, the mummy's curse remains a part of popular supernatural belief. Roger Luckhurst explores why the myth has captured the British…


Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt – a remote era of history, but so well preserved! I love reading the old documents and finding out what they ate or why the worker Tilamentu was absent from the building site one day. (Turns out he had a fight with his wife). Pop culture likes to focus on the mummies, especially the cursed kind, and I couldn’t help wondering why. Where did those ideas come from? Did the Egyptians actually believe in curses? And what would someone like Tilamentu Q. Public think of it all? I hope you enjoy learning about it as much as I did!


I wrote...

Painter of the Dead

By Catherine Butzen,

Book cover of Painter of the Dead

What is my book about?

When the Egyptology department needs funds to offset a recent spate of museum thefts, Theodora Speer trades her painting smock for an evening gown. Charming donors isn’t usually her idea of a good time—but then, she doesn't usually get to meet handsome and mysterious men like Seth Adler. Seth is desperate to get close to a specific Egyptian mummy, and attending a fundraising gala seems just the ticket. He doesn’t expect to meet Theo... and he definitely doesn't expect her to interfere with his plans.

Frantic to escape, Seth kills himself in front of Theo. Except it turns out he’s not so dead after all, and it’s up to Theo to keep him that way. Even if it means fleeing the police, practicing ancient Egyptian magic, and confronting the real thief.

Crocodile on the Sandbank

By Elizabeth Peters,

Book cover of Crocodile on the Sandbank

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for archaeologists, but Amelia Peabody is one of a kind. Armed with her tool belt (she calls it her “chatelaine”), her pistol and parasol, and her courage, she is a force to be reckoned with on the late 19th-century Egyptian archaeology scene. A firm believer in equality, Peabody (as her husband calls her) doesn't hesitate when action is required, facing down everyone from site looters to bureaucrats. Written by noted Egyptologist Barbara Mertz (as Elizabeth Peters), the books get the history and archaeology right, and the mysteries have more than a dash of humor and a nod to the thrillers of H. Rider Haggard—without the same imperialist overtones.

Crocodile on the Sandbank

By Elizabeth Peters,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Crocodile on the Sandbank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amelia Peabody is Elizabeth Peters' most brilliant and best-loved creation, a thoroughly Victorian feminist who takes the stuffy world of archaeology by storm with her shocking men's pants and no-nonsense attitude!

In this first adventure, our headstrong heroine decides to use her substantial inheritance to see the world. On her travels, she rescues a gentlewoman in distress - Evelyn Barton-Forbes - and the two become friends. The two companions continue to Egypt where they face mysteries, mummies and the redoubtable Radcliffe Emerson, an outspoken archaeologist, who doesn't need women to help him solve mysteries -- at least that's what he…


Who am I?

My first career in archaeology fed my love of history and cultures, giving me insight into human motivations. As a writer, I also love a good action scene, and I began taking mixed martial arts when I was writing the Emma Fielding archaeology mysteries and then the “Fangborn” urban fantasy novels. I soon realized I wanted to write a thriller with female characters who were badass—tough and smart—women I’d want to have at my back in a fight. I found them when I wrote Exit Interview. I love a book where a woman takes charge to change things, whether it's in her community or more globally.


I wrote...

Exit Interview

By Dana Cameron,

Book cover of Exit Interview

What is my book about?

Reporter Amy Lindstrom has just witnessed the sudden, suspicious death of the powerful arms dealer she's been investigating. Jayne Rogers, the deadly covert operative assigned to work with the arms' dealer, has been accused by her boss of killing him, as well as turning traitor and picking off her former colleagues one by one. The only one who believes Jayne is being framed is Nicole Bradley, whose technical skills are as stealthy and lethal as Jayne's abilities with her fists and weapons. All three must work together to prevent a hidden arms cache from falling into the wrong hands.

Wise Blood

By Flannery O'Connor,

Book cover of Wise Blood

William Faulkner might have been the father of Southern Gothic, but Flannery O’Connor was the master. This is one of those books that makes you thankful for genius. Because everything about this book is genius. The story is about a young man named Hazel Motes who struggles to avoid his relentless fate. O’Connor’s writing is filled with religious extremism, grotesqueness, and mental illness—all the things that make America great. If I could have written a single book—this would be it.  

Wise Blood

By Flannery O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor's first novel, is the story of Hazel Motes who, released from the armed services, returns to the evangelical Deep South. There he begins a private battle against the religiosity of the community and in particular against Asa Hawkes, the 'blind' preacher, and his degenerate fifteen-year-old daughter. In desperation Hazel founds his own religion, 'The Church without Christ', and this extraordinary narrative moves towards its savage and macabre resolution.

'A literary talent that has about it the uniqueness of greatness.' Sunday Telegraph

'No other major American writer of our century has constructed a fictional world so energetically…


Who am I?

When I completed one of my early novels, a really demented one called Factory Town, a fellow author emailed me with great concern for my mental health. He was convinced I was heading down a dark cave that I couldn’t be rescued from. But it wasn’t true. Writing and reading these dark novels doesn’t make me depressed. It makes me feel creatively revitalized. Dark literature reminds us that being alive is painful—but it’s also wonderful. I hope to never spend any real time with people as terrifying as the ones I’ve found on these pages. But I’m incredibly thankful they were a part of my imagined world for a time. 


I wrote...

Beneath Cruel Waters

By Jon Bassoff,

Book cover of Beneath Cruel Waters

What is my book about?

When Holt Davidson learns that his estranged mother has taken her own life, he returns to his hometown for the funeral, hoping to make peace with the past. He spends the night at his childhood home, but instead of nostalgic souvenirs, he discovers a gun, a love letter, and a Polaroid photograph of a man lying in his own blood.

Who is the dead man? Was his mother the one who killed him, and, if so, why? Who sent the love letter? And what role did his sister, institutionalized since she was a teenager, play in this act of violence? As his own traumatic memories begin to resurface, Holt begins an investigation into his mother’s and sister’s pasts—as well as his own.

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