I could console myself with the thought that even Agatha Christie had her failures, although she needed to run a long way off-course to do so. In 1937 she went up the Nile with her Egyptologist husband and met the immortal Howard Carter, and along the way wrote the very successful mystery Death on the Nile. But she also wrote a play called Akhenaton. Yes, that same Pharaoh. You see, Tutankhamen—he of the fabulous gold mask—was Akhenaton’s son and it was his tomb that Howard Carter opened to such momentous worldwide media attention. The play—first published 36 years later—was never produced and it is not hard to see why. Now, Aggie was no poor playwright—Witness for the Prosecution was one of hers, as was the longest running play in all history—The Mousetrap. But Akhenaton was just plain shockin’—it captured neither the importance nor the colour of the times—missed everything really. Only her worst enemy would have produced it. Plainly she was amongst friends.
The Priest stared long and thoughtfully at the moon before he answered, and then he turned to Moses and asked him searchingly. “Are you sure you want to know?”
Moses cried. “I must know! Can I live in emptiness—out of nothing, no past, no memory?”
“You have memory of Egypt.”
“No ! No longer! I want my own! Let me be the judge!”
“Very well,” the priest sighed. “But to understand it, you must understand what it meant when the holy Ahk-en-Aton proclaimed Aton as the one living god….”
Pursuing the subject quickly brought me to Moses, Prince of Egypt, a novel written by Howard Fast, whom I hardly suspected would briefly become a favourite author. But Fast, plainly, had made the same discovery, and he didn’t think himself original at all. In later years, I would learn that Sigmund Freud went one better and thought Akhenaton actually was Moses, but most enlightened people seemed to settle for the idea that he was just the originating influence. At the time my dismay was completed with the discovery that even Hollywood knew all about it. There I stood amid the ruins of my supposed genius, my first great intellectual idea crushed by monumental unoriginality.