The Keys of Egypt by Lesley Adkins
The Obsession to Decipher Egyptian Hieroglyphs

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

When Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, his troops and scientists were astonished to discover ancient temples, tombs, and statues, all covered with strange markings-the last remnants of a language lost in time.  After the Rosetta Stone was uncovered, hope was raised that the mystery of this ancient writing could be solved.  Egyptomania spread throughout Europe, and the quest to decipher the hieroglyphs began in earnest, for it was understood that fame and fortune awaited the scholar who succeeded.

In rural France, Jean-Francois Champollion, the brilliant son of an impoverished bookseller, was obsessed with breaking the code of the ancient Egyptians texts.  At sixteen years of age he decided that he would dedicate his life to the decipherment of hieroglyphs.

Suffering from hardships of poverty, but with devoted support from his older brother, Champollion made slow but significant progress in decipherment.  After the Revolution, however, France was a dangerous place; an unguarded word could mean ruin, exile, or even death.  Always possessed of strong political beliefs, Champollion often found himself in grave personnel danger.  Yet he continued to strive for the key to the ancient texts, and he persevered despite ill health and the knowledge that he was at the mercy of vicious political enemies. Even more troubling to him was the threat of failure-his closest competitor, the English physician Thomas Young, also working to solve the puzzle of the hieroglyphs, and he was rapidly gaining ground.  In 1812,  Champollion made the decisive breakthrough, beating Young to the prize and becoming the first person to be able to read the ancient Egyptian language in well over a thousand years.

The Keys of Egypt is the fascinating true story of the race to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs and of the rediscovery of the world of ancient Egypt- a world that had been closed to the West for centuries.

 

About Lesley Adkins

See more books from this Author
Lesley Adkins, an archaeologist and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, is the author of several reference books as well as "The Keys of Egypt: The Race to Read the Hieroglyphs", the account of the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. She lives in Devon, England, and is married to Roy Adkins, also an archaeologist and writer. Roy Adkins is a photographer specializing in fine art and portraiture, with recent work appearing in "Time" magazine, "Jackson Free Press, " and "Portico Jackson" magazine.
 
Published January 1, 2000 by London : HarperCollins. 352 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Keys of Egypt

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Applying these talents to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, which had not been used for a millennium-and-a-half, he spent the better part of two decades puzzling over textual and epigraphic evidence, sorting out syllables and phonemes and breaking much new ground—an achievement that infuriated his ...

| Read Full Review of The Keys of Egypt: The Obsess...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Set against a background of academic intrigue and international rivalry, with colorful personalities vying to be the first to unveil the meaning behind ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the story of the d

Oct 02 2000 | Read Full Review of The Keys of Egypt: The Obsess...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Set against a background of academic intrigue and international rivalry, with colorful personalities vying to be the first to unveil the meaning behind ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the story of the decipherment of the Rosetta Stone has all the ingredients of a dramatic scientific quest.

| Read Full Review of The Keys of Egypt: The Obsess...

Reader Rating for The Keys of Egypt
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 12 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review