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IN BRIEF

January 20, 1991|Kenneth Turan

THE COMPLETE TUTANKHAMUN: The King, the Tomb, the Royal Treasure by Nicholas Reeves (Thames & Hudson: $24.95; 224 pp.) Maybe it was that timeless face, with serene quartz and obsidian eyes set in a mask of solid gold. Maybe it was the nickname, so short and snappy. Maybe it was the dread curse, which allegedly laid many of his discoverers low. But whatever the cause, when archeologist Howard Carter stuck his head into a stifling tomb on a November afternoon in 1922 and saw "everywhere the glint of gold," he began a craze for King Tut, a monarch "unwanted by his subjects, ignored by his successors and forgotten for more than 30 centuries," that continues to this day. Written by a British Egyptologist, this purports to be the fullest account ever published of how Tut became Tut, including a list of what the young sir took with him to the next world that includes an annotated copy of his wine list. Fascinating, authoritative and enlivened with more than 500 illustrations, many of them in brilliant color.

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