Fast-paced, highly entertaining ... Olson’s narrative gathers steam in the tense days before the Nazis invaded Poland ... The highlight of Olson’s book is her thrilling account of the rescue of the giant statues of Rameses II and the Abu Simbel temples from inundation by the Aswan High Dam ... Meticulous detail ... Empress of the Nile's momentum falters after the Abu Simbel rescue ... Some later chapters take on an episodic feeling without adding much insight to Desroches-Noblecourt’s formidable personality.
Excellent ... It was quite a life. Certainly Empress of the Nile tells her story well, embedding it in the history of modern Egyptian archaeology, though at times it does approach the hagiographic. This lack of shading can grow tiresome ... A welcome and needed work of both rescue and reclamation.
While we know she succeeds (it's in the title), Olson writes what at times reads like a suspenseful political thriller, with feuds and setbacks and promises of money rescinded ... Desroches-Noblecourt is such a compelling figure that the book's side tangents... occasionally take away from her narrative.
Olson’s depiction of her is not without flaws. We are presented with an almost perfect individual, an over-adulation that grates after a while ... The book has other strengths. Desroches-Noblecourt drops out of sight for much of Olson’s narrative and we are instead treated to various deftly written backdrop stories ... A vivid reminder of a remarkable individual and an intriguing recreation of the strange times in which she lived.
A delightful account of the career of an intelligent woman in early-20th-century France ... Olson’s conclusion digresses into other archaeological controversies and Jackie Kennedy’s life, but readers will not complain. The author provides a fine account of Desroches-Noblecourt’s long, distinguished career ... An expert biography of the most prestigious Egyptologist of her time.
Scintillating ... Enriched by fascinating digressions into Egyptian history, museum rivalries, the plundering of archaeological sites, the 1956 Suez Crisis, and more, this is a captivating portrait of a pathbreaking woman. Readers will be enthralled.