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A Secret Voyage by Zahi Hawass: Egypt’s Most Expensive Book Yet?

A Secret Voyage by Zahi Hawass: Egypt’s Most Expensive Book Yet?
    written by
    Soraya Morayef

    One often wonders how exactly a book earns its value: is it due to its
    famous author, valuable information, cover design or perhaps the quality of its
    paper? In the case of
    A Secret Voyage, a limited-edition release by
    famed archaeologist Zahi Hawass, the book should perhaps contain gold-leaf or
    diamond-encrusted pages for its whopping 22000LE price tag.

    Published this March, the 400-page book has silver- (not gold) gilded
    pages and a silk book cover. The book itself contains highly valuable photographs, and
    all copies are personally signed by Hawass. Again, 22000LE?

    UK publishing company Heritage World Press has published only 750
    copies of the book, 50 of which are being distributed by AUC Press in Egypt. A
    Secret Voyage
    chronicles Hawass’ years of experience as an Egyptologist and
    the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

    The book
    covers his many archaeological discoveries, such as the Valley of the Golden
    Mummies and the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut. Most recently, Hawass made
    international headlines when he announced his team’s discovery of the cause for
    Tutankhamen’s mysterious death (spoiler alert: it was malaria) and embarked on
    a mission to bring back the most famous pharaonic antiquities to Egypt, such as
    the Rosetta stone from the British Museum and a bust of Queen Nefertiti at
    Berlin’s Egyptian Museum.

    According to the AUC Press release, Hawass’ anecdotes
    promise to be entertaining, which we don’t doubt: having watched several of his
    TV interviews and documentaries; we believe that Hawass is charismatic in that
    Mofeed Fawzy way.

    Italian photographer Sandro Vannini supplies the 166 photographs
    accompanying Hawass’ book. Using cutting-edge digital techniques and special
    lighting, he captures stunning high-resolution images of many of Hawass’
    discoveries, including the intricate details of a tomb painting, a gold shrine
    engraving and many other treasures.

    One of Time
    magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2006, Hawass will surely have
    insightful tales on the most fascinating Egyptology discoveries in the past
    century. As valuable as his tales may be, we still can’t quite fathom the
    22000LE price tag. Surely this book belongs in a museum like the antiquities
    themselves.

    Egyptology students and fans of the white-fedora-wearing Egyptologist
    may appreciate browsing through A Secret Voyage, allegedly available at all AUC
    bookstores. We would have loved to review this book for you, but sadly we can’t
    afford the price tag since we have mouths to feed; namely our own. Whether the silver-leaf pages, the high-resolution images or even the book’s clamshell case justify the down-payment-for-a-car price tag remains to be seen.

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