Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Egyptian by Mika Waltari

The Egyptian (1983)

by Mika Waltari

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,547294,746 (4.25)66
Recently added byDunaganagain, catdevrandom, private library, asurbanipal, AlbertoR, irvikita, Kirjastohiiri
Legacy LibrariesGeorge C. Marshall
  1. 20
    The Journeyer by Gary Jennings (caimanjosh)
    caimanjosh: Both of these books are epic voyages through (at the time) largely unknown lands, with a great deal of historical detail thrown in.
  2. 10
    Creation by Gore Vidal (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Historical fiction journeys
  3. 10
    I, Claudius by Robert Graves (mcenroeucsb)
  4. 10
    Akhenaten: Dweller in Truth by Naguib Mahfouz (mcenroeucsb)
  5. 00
    Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Historical fiction journey
  6. 01
    The Examination (Sunburst Book) by Malcolm Bosse (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Historical fiction journeys

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 66 mentions

English (16)  Spanish (7)  Finnish (4)  Czech (1)  French (1)  All (29)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Abandoned about halfway through...I usually love books about Egypt but this bored me senseless. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |

Published in 1945, this was apparently a huge classic in the middle of last century, described as the best known book written in Finnish (Tove Jansson wrote in Swedish), the only Finnish book ever adapted to become a Hollywood movie, and the best-selling translated novel in America until The Name of the Rose.

It's about an ancient Egyptian doctor, Sinuhe, who spends most of the first half of the story travelling through Egypt's neighbours, as far as Crete, Smyrna and Babylon, and then in the second half returns home to participate in the intrigues at the courts of Akhenaton and his successors Tutankhamun and Horemheb (an old friend of the narrator). It was hailed for its "realistic" portrayal of ancient life, which to me tends to signal that it buttressed existing popular conceptions; I definitely felt that the scenes of ideologically driven internal conflict and brutal military suppression of popular uprisings might be drawn from more local experience of mid-century Europe than from any study of ancient Egypt.

It is a solid book of its kind, which would have appealed to the prejudices of mid-century readers while at the same time making them think that the author was informing and enlightening them. Of course, it has a comic slave character, almost all the women are seductresses, and none of the many "Negroes" are named. But there is a decent sense of scale in both space and time, and the reflections of the politics of the day are sufficiently oblique to remain interesting. ( )
  nwhyte | May 30, 2015 |
First published in the United States in 1949 and widely condemned as obscene, The Egyptian outsold every other novel published that year, and remains a classic; readers worldwide have testified to its life-changing power. It is a full-bodied re-creation of a largely forgotten era in the world’s history: the Egypt of the 14th century B.C.E., when pharaohs and gods contended with the near-collapse of history’s greatest empire. This epic tale encompasses ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  Tutter | Mar 2, 2015 |
This just misses five stars--because it took me a long time to warm up to the Sinuhe, the protagonist and narrator, and it's just a little bit too much of a downer. So no, I wouldn't call this a happy tale--but it is a rich epic and great historical fiction of Ancient Egypt under Akhenaton, its heretic pharaoh. Had I not known going in, I wouldn't have guessed this novel was written in 1945. Although that might explain some of its bleakness--I've read that when it was published, it resonated with people who had seen humanistic ideals collapse in the face of Stalin, Hitler, the Holocaust.

This is set in Ancient Egypt over 1,300 years before the birth of Christ. Akhenation is thought to be the first monotheist, so he holds some fascination for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Before this I had read Naguib Mahfouz's Akhenaten, Dweller in Truth. Mahfouz is a Muslim and I thought I could detect that coloring his novel. Waltari, for his part, was supposedly a believing Christian. His novel doesn't come across as Christian fiction though--at all. As I said, it doesn't come across as written in 1945. I didn't feel as if there was a overlay of a worldview alien to the time in which this was set--and for me that's the mark of great historical fiction, that you feel transported to another place and time, rather than reading modern people in historical costumes. In fact, I think Waltari did almost too well--as I said it took a long time for me to warm to Sinuhe. Especially in his youth he was arrogant, misogynist, and too-stupid-to-live. But there are positive, strong female characters in this novel--they're just not very apparent early on.

And Waltari set this not just in Egypt--this is like a grand tour of the Bronze Age world--Egypt, Canaan, Syria, Babylon, Hatti, Crete. There are allusions to both Biblical stories and Greek myth. Sinuhe was found as a baby floating in the river on a reed boat and Minea, one of the positive female characters, is a bull-leaper from Minoan Crete--and there is a minotaur and a labyrinth. According to what I gather from online, Waltari did extensive research for this book and garnered praise even from Egyptologists. So truly, this novel is a great ride I'd recommend to anyone looking for great historical fiction--even if I found it a rather melancholy read. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Sep 18, 2013 |
I read this years ago - about 46 or so (when I was 15 and should have been studying for my exams ...)

I still remember it today as one of my favorite books. Can still remember the opening paragraph and just recently re-bought it to read it again.

A great book for anyone interested in historical fiction and Ancient Egypt ( )
  moonfish | Jul 23, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Waltari, Mikaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bendow, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landström, BjörnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walford, NaomiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
I, Sinuhe, the son of Senmut and of his wife Kipa, write this.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
"The Egyptian" (1945) is actually an abridged translation of the original work "Sinuhe, egyptiläinen".
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
The only Finnish novel adopted into a Hollywood film

Mika Waltari's 1945 novel The Egyptian was turned into a DeLuxe Color epic film by 20th Century Fox in 1954 and was nominated for an academy award a year later.

A 1940s #1 Bestseller and a Historic Novel All-Time Favorite
A historic novel all-time favorite, after its translation in English from Swedish, The Egyptian topped the bestseller charts in 1949 and the years following. 

The protagonist of the novel is the fictional character Sinuhe, the royal physician, who tells the story in exile after Akhenaten's fall and death. Apart from incidents in Egypt, the novel charts Sinuhe's travels in then Egyptian-dominated Syria, in Mitanni, Babylon, Minoan Crete, Mitanni, and among the Hittites.

The main character of the novel is named after a character in an ancient Egyptian text commonly known as The Story of Sinuhe. The original story dates to a time long before that of Akhenaten: texts are known from as early as the 12th Dynasty.

Much concerned about the historical accuracy of his detailed description of ancient Egyptian life forced the author to carry out considerable research into the subject. The result has been praised not only by readers but also by Egyptologists.

Waltari had long been interested in Akhenaten and wrote a play about him which was staged in Helsinki in 1938. World War II provided the final impulse for exploring the subject in a novel which, although depicting events that took place over 3,300 years ago


Tired of Reading an Old, Yellow, Dog Eared Copy of The Egyptian?
Re-reading The Egyptian every now and then has been a favorite past time for many of us.  Our passion for Sinuhe's adventures stays the same, but our old copy does not get better with age.  

Own a Copy of the Egyptian that Stays New Forever!
Finally we can own a copy of the classic forever that stays new forever.  The addition of The Egyptian to Kindle has finally granted the book Kindle eternity.

Want to Dive Into Sinuhe's Mysterious World of Ancient Egypt?
Click on Add to Cart and in a few short clicks you will own a copy of The Egyptian
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

A man of mysterious origins rises from poverty to become.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
53 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.25)
1 5
2 11
2.5 1
3 36
3.5 14
4 123
4.5 38
5 158

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,157,664 books! | Top bar: Always visible