If you're looking for an absolute treat in terms of ancient Egyptian history, then look no further than Temples, Tombs & Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt by Barbara Mertz. I got my version off Audible and it's narrated by the absolutely delightful Lorna Raver, who conveys Mertz's almost puckish humour so brilliantly.
Mertz takes us on a journey from Egypt's ancient past, looking at everything from the people and their customs, to the mythology and the land's rulers. You'd think that so much history packed into one volume might end up dry and tiresome, but Mertz has a way with words to make old bones spring to life.
She's quite clear that much of what she shares is her interpretation of events – and she does bring in discussion of where her points of view differ from others, which I appreciated. But there is a liveliness to her account that I've so far found lacking in other tomes, so if you're not all that academically minded yet have an interest, then this is a good place to start. And I think even if you are an academic, you may well enjoy Mertz's writing for the sheer exuberance that she brings into her words.
There's a little bit of everything here, and although my general knowledge of ancient Egyptian history is pretty solid, I still discovered new stories and insights that further emphasised why I love this particular civilisation so much. Granted, the downside of the audiobook is that there's no access to the graphics that one would encounter in a physical book, but overall, the narration more than makes up for this lack. And if I do ever come across a copy in a bookshop, I know for a fact it will be an insta-buy for me.
I'm so glad that I've had my introduction to Barbara Mertz's writing, and I will most certainly be hunting down more copies of her work.