For the first time since its original one-off publication in 1973, a replica edition of Agatha Christie’s rarest book, the drama of King Akhnaton’s doomed attempt to subvert the old religion of ancient Egypt, based on Christie’s researches in Luxor.
Set in 1350 BC, the legend of Akhnaton tells of the Pharoah’s attempt to convince his nation to abandon their old ‘pagan’ god Amon and to turn to the worship of a new deity, the monotheistic sun god, Aton.
Introduced to the legend by Howard Carter, discoverer of Tutankhamun’s tomb, when she met him in Luxor in 1931, Agatha Christie became fascinated by both the story and the society in which it took place. Her painstaking researches led to this retelling of the story in the form of a highly readable and dramatic two-hour play.
Akhnaton was written by Agatha Christie in 1937, when her interest in Egyptology from her travels with her archaeologist husband was at its height. Probably her most serious play, it was deemed too ambitious to be performed, and it went unknown and unpublished until Collins released a hardback edition in 1973. Never paperbacked or published subsequently, this rare edition has become the Holy Grail for Agatha Christie collectors, keen to learn more about this unique drama and to discover its relevance alongside her other Egyptian books such as Death Comes As the End, Death on the Nile, Appointment With Death and Come, Tell Me How You Live. Now this facsimile edition of the original hardback at last gives Christie fans the chance to discover for themselves one of Agatha Christie’s most highly sought after and exotic creations.
About the author
Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890 and became, quite simply, the best-selling novelist in history. Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, written towards the end of the First World War, introduced us to Hercule Poirot, who was to become the most popular detective in crime fiction since Sherlock Holmes. She is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in 100 foreign countries. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, 20 plays, and six novels under the name of Mary Westmacott.
- ‘Agatha’s most beautiful and profound play, brilliant in its delineation of character, tense with drama. The treatment comes as near to historical plausibility as any play about the past can be. The Egyptian court life and the vagaries of Egyptian religion come alive. The characters themselves are here submitted to exceptionally penetrating analytical treatment, because they are not merely subservient to the dénouement of a murder plot, but each one is a prime agent in the development of a real historical drama.’ MAX MALLOWAN
- ‘Akhnaton is a drama of ruthless logic and theatrical power. It deals in a complex way with a number of issues: the difference between superstition and reverence, the danger of rash iconoclasm, the value of the arts, the nature of love, the conflicts set up by the concept of loyalty, and the tragedy apparently inherent in the inevitability of change. A fascinating play.’ CHARLES OSBORNE