"One of the most compelling and controversial figures in history, Akhenaten has captured the imagination like no other Egyptian pharaoh. Much has been written about this strange, persecuted figure, whose freakish appearance - elongated and effete - is totally at odds with that of the traditional Egyptian ruler-hero. Scholars and laymen have speculated that he was perhaps a eunuch, or a sufferer from a genetic disorder - or even a woman. Known today as a heretic, Akhenaten sought to impose upon Egypt and its people the worship of a single god, and changed the country in every way, from art to the written language." "In this re-evaluation, Nicholas Reeves takes issue with existing views of Akhenaten, presenting an entirely new perspective on the turbulent events of his seventeen-year reign. Reeves argues that, far from being the idealistic founder of a new faith, Akhenaten cynically used religion for purely political ends in a calculated attempt to reassert the authority of the king - to concentrate all power in his own hands. Thebes, Egypt's premier city, would prove unreceptive to the king's ideas, and a new city was founded - at el-Amarna. Soon after, in an attempt to suppress continuing opposition from Amun's priesthood, he unleashed a terror which reverberated down the centuries, Ultimately, however, Akhenaten's revolution failed: political, financial and moral corruption gradually overwhelmed the regime - and his traditionalist successors showed little mercy. With a ruthless determination not seen in Egypt before or since, all trace of pharaoh's existence was systematically expunged." "Nicholas Reeves presents these arguments in a closely written narrative, backed up by abundant archaeological and documentary evidence. In the process he provides new insights into questions which have baffled scholars for generations - the puzzle of the body from Tomb 55 in the Valley of the Kings; the fate of Nefertiti, Akhenaten's beautiful wife, and the identity of the mysterious successor, Smenkhkare; and the theory that Tutankhamun, Akhenaten's son and true heir, was murdered."--Jacket.