Book Review:

Kings of Memphis

Elvis and Tutankhamen

by Carolyn Reynolds

CreateSpace, USA, 2011, Soft cover, 275 pages, Not illustrated, ISBN-13: 978-1456591038

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, January 2016


Initially, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Carolyn Reynolds new book, Kings of Memphis Elvis and Tutankhamen, and I approached it with more than a hint of apprehension.  However, very quickly I found myself thoroughly enjoying a wonderful story inspired by a dream experienced by the author.

Without giving too much away, the book’s plot is underpinned by the theme of reincarnation and a number of similarities between the titular ‘two Boy Kings’.  For example, both married 14 year-old girls; both lived in Memphis; both toured the USA extensively; both died young and both experienced devout worship after their death.

A neat balance and interplay between the two Kings of Memphis allows the narrative to proceed seamlessly and coherently. There is a range of familiar (Elvis related) and not so familiar (Tutankhamen related) characters, and even world famous astrologist/numerologist, Cheiro, has an important role in the story (long time Elvis fans will recall that Elvis’ book library included Cheiro’s Book of Numbers). The prose includes neat doses of humor including a particularly funny incident when the life of a King can be quite ill-fated due to beetle dung!

The author has a pleasant, flowing writing style and an ability to bring her characters and situations to life with flair and color:

The animal was on its way to devour her; but not with his teeth or claws. No, the predator would take no immediate action, no swift killing for him. He would rob her of every hope she'd ever had, every dream she dreamed, rendering her trapped in a new world of misery so dark that she couldn't fathom the bleakness.

His eyes closing, he drifted off to sleep for seconds, faces and scenes passing before him. He woke with a start in conjunction with a sensation of falling.

Importantly, Ms Edwards' prose also reflects her understanding of core elements of Elvis’ personality and his impact on fans. For example:

“Charlie, let’s arrange this here ole song, goose it up.” Elvis snapped his long fingers to what sounded like the beat of Fever.  He laughed like a kid being tickled and he winked to the girls.  He rose from the sofa and rolled his hips and his eyes, poking fun at himself as he always did. He shook his limber body like an old wet dog shaking off water and sat back down on the white cushions.  The girls giggled on cue but the teens’ thoughts were somewhere else altogether. They were fully aware of their idol’s sex appeal and a slight shiver ran through most of them.

The narrative is also infused with pertinent observations and statements:

About the Colonel:

Carnival Barker, Tom Parker, was Elvis’ long time manager.  He always had one thing on his mind.  He wanted to keep his boy on a purely material plane where music and money were his only gods.  He’d done a pretty good job of it and wasn’t taking any chances.

About Priscilla:

“It’s reincarnation. How else would a grown man be drawn to a fourteen year-old girl? She was only a dress rehearsal.”

Blending the underlying theme of reincarnation and the author’s expertise in Astrology (Ms Reynolds is an internationally published author with many titles to her name), Kings of Memphis is an expressive star crossed, metaphysical account of how the lives, deaths and revival of King Tut and Elvis intertwine, the search for one’s soul mate and the worshipping gaze of an adoring world. With colourful and vivid dreamscapes of time travel in ancient Egypt, the story asks questions which individual readers will perhaps answer differently, including did King Tut come back (reincarnate) as the visually similar ‘new King of Memphis’, Elvis, and if he did, for what important purpose?

From the sand swept vista of curse ridden pyramids in ancient Egypt to the relaxing, winding roads of Perugia Way in Bel Air, California, the tale offered by Carolyn Reynolds is one which challenges the reader to consider possibilities which are quite out of the ordinary.  It is a challenge full of high drama, vibrant color and illuminating insight.

The book design is excellent. Its cover image is evocative and splendidly symbolic of its narrative contents. Tight binding is complemented by a clean page format with effective text font size, line spacing, margins and gutters. It is also a convenient size (140mm x 250mm) for reading in a variety of situations - not too small and not too big.

There is also an important relationship of the author to Elvis which I won’t give away here.  What I suggest is that you read Kings of Memphis: Elvis and Tutankhamen and enjoy a wonderful, well written and very different story about Elvis and the other King of Memphis.


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