He Shall Thunder in the Sky, by Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody #12)

>> Tuesday, December 03, 2002

I couldn't resist, and as soon as I finished Falcon I grabbed the next one in Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series: He Shall Thunder in the Sky.

Plot summary:

The winter of 1914-15 finds the Peabody-Emerson family back in Cairo--now under British martial law, with the Suez Canal under constant threat of attack from the Ottoman Empire. The city's young Englishmen are rushing to enlist, except for Ramses, who is widely scorned for his pacifism. Yet Amelia and Emerson soon find out that Ramses is (literally) playing a mysterious and potentially explosive part in the conflict between Egyptian nationalists and the British authorities, for reasons both political and familial.

Nefret, for her part, is still running a health clinic for the city's fallen women and trying to avoid the attentions of Percy, Amelia's odious nephew. In the meantime, the Emersons' excavations at Giza reveal an unexpected treasure so remarkable that the uneasy Amelia immediately senses the fine hand of Sethos, the Master Criminal (who through many previous books has alternately plagued her and protested his boundless affection for her), at work.

Posted later...

I finished Thunder last night. It was one of the best books I've read lately, an A+.

Since I started rereading this series (I had read a couple of the books already, out of order), I tried to wait a couple of weeks between books, so as not to burn out on them. After reading Falcon, however, with its cliff-hanger-ish ending, I just couldn't wait and started reading the following one.

This one brings lots of stuff to a close, in fact, Peters herself has said its the conclusion of the internal quartet that develops the relationship between Ramses and Nefret. This was great for the book itself, but I kinda worry for the series. No more Sethos (though I've heard some speculation that he's still alive... who knows? I guess I'll find out in the next books), plus we know his identity, no more Percy, no more "will they or won't they" with Ramses and Nefret. We'll just be going back to tomb robbers and archeological adventures, which were good enough for me before this quartet started anyway.

I just hope Peters gets rid of the spy stuff. It was a very strong element in Thunder, and excellently done, but it's not really my cup of tea. It's a tribute to Peters that she had me liking a book with such strong spy elements in it.

Apart from that, this book was perfect. It had all my favourite elements, plus a very interesting development of the relationship between Ramses and his parents. Amelia does have some maternal instincts after all, and when they come to light, they are very, very sweet. I think my favourite scenes are those in which she finds out, first from Ramses, and then from Nefret, what's going on between the two of them. And the ending.. oh, that ending! So many great scenes... Ramses kissing Nefret in the garden, Ramses finding out the exact circumstances of her marriage to Geoffrey, Ramses seriously telling Seshet the cat (paraphrasing) "Much appreciated. I'm just going down for breakfast, however. If it could just keep for a while..." when she presents him with a dead mouse...

To summarize, this was a book that made me LOL, cry, sigh and dance with joy. The definition of a keeper.

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