24 Hours In Ancient Egypt by Donald P. Ryan – A Book Review

24 Hours in Egypt


Spend 24 hours with the ancient Egyptians.

Ancient Egypt wasn’t all pyramids, sphinxes and gold sarcophagi. For your average Egyptian, life was tough, and work was hard, conducted under the burning gaze of the sun god Ra.

During the course of a day in the ancient city of Thebes (modern-day Luxor), Egypt’s religious capital, we meet 24 Egyptians from all strata of society – from the king to the bread-maker, the priestess to the fisherman, the soldier to the midwife – and get to know what the real Egypt was like by spending an hour in their company. We encounter a different one of these characters every hour and in every chapter, and through their eyes see what an average day in ancient Egypt was really like.


Author: Donal P. Ryan

Publisher: Michael O’Mara

Series: 24 Hours in Ancient … #2

Genre: Non-Fiction/Historical Non-Fiction

Pages: 273

Release Date: 18/10/2018

My Chosen Format: Kindle

My Rating of ’24 Hours in Ancient Egypt’: 3 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon UKAmazon USAudible UKAudible US



My review for the ’24 Hours in Ancient Rome’ book can be found: HERE

This was a book that, as far as loving and disliking it goes, was quite divisive. One the one hand, we have the same great format as we did in the ’24 Hours in Ancient Rome’ book. Each chapter focuses around the job/role/daily life of one individual in Ancient Egypt and, by the time the full 24 hours are up, you have a good understanding of how life may have been all those thousands of years ago.

And then, on the negative side of things, you have the combined failings of author and editor as the writing switches between past/present tense far too often. Sometimes it does this in the same paragraph and you’re just left scratching your head at how such dreadful use of the English language managed to get through into a finished copy that I have paid for. 

The tense switching didn’t totally ruin it for me, as I just put it out of my mind as best I could. I found that my love of the subject, and the good, in-depth knowledge that was being showcased was enough to keep me engaged. If you are the sort of person who would find the constant switches from past/present tense infuriating, then it could well ruin the book for you. Despite the ancient goodness on offer.

I think the final nail in the coffin of embarrassment comes during the acknowledgments where the editor is thanked … I mean, it would have just been just disappointing if the editor hadn’t been thanked, but it went from disappointing to embarrassing given the poor editing that went on.

As a whole I really enjoyed this book but did feel incredibly let down by the writing, hence why this didn’t score as highly as the Rome book did for me. I very much look forward to getting to the 24 Hours in Ancient Athens book as, Classical Greece, is perhaps my favourite time period.


11 thoughts on “24 Hours In Ancient Egypt by Donald P. Ryan – A Book Review

  1. Oooph, now that is embarrassing. With my ongoing fight with the VSI series, I had really hoped this series would be a good counter. And informationally, it sounds like it would be. However, I don’t know if I could deal with switching tenses like that. In the middle of paragraphs? Really? I’d probably go ballistic, sigh 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea … having recently read a few reviews it’s a common bug bear of this one. Fortunately the Rome book had no such issues and the next book (Athens) is written by the same guy who did the Rome one. So I’m optimistic for the rest of the series.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Switch tenses like that seem like they would take more work than just sticking to the same one throughout. I think this would be a deal-breaker for me, even if the content itself were good. It would just be way too distracting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is incredibly distracting some times and, one chapter in particular I felt was worse than others.

      Just glad this author hasn’t done any others in this series as the author who did the Rome book was very good. He also did Athens, so I’ve high hopes for the rest of the books.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait to try Athens as Classical Greece is my favourite period.

      Shame about this as the info was really good. I’ve got the Egyptian History podcast that I’m rapidly going through. Would suggest that over anything tbh. The History of Ancient Greece podcast is great as well

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have, indeed. Both great. I have always loved Ancient Greece since I was a child, and the China one was really interesting because I knew next to nothing. But I liked the narrative of the Roman one that linked the chapters together.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, was hoping a similar narrative would pass on to later books.

        I’m currently scratching my historical itch with the discovery tours on Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey. Literally a virtual ‘day in the life’ style thing of Ancient Egypt/Greece

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Unfortunately not. Even though the Greek one had the same author. Though there was more overlap than the Egyptian and Chinese ones.

        I’ve not played any Assassin’s Creed since the first one really, but that sounds cool!

        Liked by 1 person

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