The Last Camel Died at Noon, by Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody #6)

>> Sunday, October 06, 2002

I read a little of Sophie's World, but I've also started book number 6 of the Amelia Peabody series, by Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels, aka MPM). It's The Last Camel Died at Noon, and it's a reread, but since I last read it years ago, I don't remember much, just that it involves the discovery of a secret civilization in the desert, or something like that.

"The last camel is dead, and Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, her dashing husband Emerson, and precocious son, Ramses, are in dire straits on the sun-scorched desert sands. Months before, back in cool, green England, Viscount Blacktower had approached them to find his son and his son's new bride, who have been missing in war-torn Sudan for over a decade. An enigmatic message scrawled on papyrus and a cryptic map had been delivered to Blacktower, awakening his hope that the couple was still alive. Neither Amelia nor Emerson believe the message is authentic, but the treasure map proves irresistible temptation. Now, deep in Nubia's vast wasteland, they discover too late how much treachery is afoot (and on camelback)... and survival depends on Amelia's solving a mystery as old as ancient Egypt and as timeless as greed and revenge. "
Apart from this one, I'd already read a couple of the other books, completely out of order and missing quite a few in the middle. It's strange, actually, since MPM has long been one of my favourite authors and I had and had read all of her other books. So earlier this year I bought the Amelias I was missing and started reading the whole series in order. I'm progressing very slowly, since I don't want to read them all back to back for fear of getting burnt out.

Posted later...

Now The Last Camel Died at Noon: I loved it, an A-. It was one of the best in the series so far. I might actually go looking for my copy of "She" to read after this!

What made it so good? First, of course, the reason why most of us read this series, just seeing Peabody, Emerson and Ramses interact. And Amelia's voice keeps getting better and better. Funny and witty, and at the same time, Peters gently makes fun of her (in a good way). She's one of the few authors that can always make me LOL. Also, I liked that Peabody and Emerson seemed to listen to Ramses a bit more this time. Not much, but a bit.

So, the relationships were as good as ever here, but also, the plot was outstanding. Very elaborate but not confusing, and absolutely fascinating. And the descriptions! I felt like I was right there, in the City of the Holy Mountain. The supporting cast was excellently drawn, too: Tarek, Prince "Nasty", the Handmaidens, the guards, Murtek and Pesaker, just everyone. It was just fun, fun, fun.

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