Lord of the Silent, by Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody #13)

>> Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Together with An Affair to Remember, I read Elizabeth Peters' Lord of the Silent. This is book # 13 in the Amelia Peabody series. Since I started reading the series from the beginning, I've learnt that I need to read each book with something different and lighter, in 50 pg. intervals. Otherwise, I start turning pages like crazy, trying to read as fast as I can and I end up skimming and missing much of what's going on.

In 1915, with the world gripped by the madness of war, trouble is endemic. In an effort to prevent their son Ramses from being coerced into working for British intelligence (in the sort of endeavor that nearly got him killed a year earlier when he infiltrated a band of Egyptian nationalists and prevented a Turkish-backed uprising), Amelia and husband Emerson and the rest of their dizzyingly large entourage flee England for the reassuringly stoic splendor of their beloved Egyptian ruins.

So much for a quiet dig among the mastabas. With their usual luck, the family promptly finds itself inundated by would-be assassins and nosy journalists. Amelia quickly deduces that Ramses's undercover work is at the root of both threat and curiosity; more puzzling is the appearance of the odd corpse or two and a rash of stunningly efficient tomb robberies.

When Ramses and his wife, Nefret, travel to Luxor to check on the security of some of their old excavations, they find an all-too-familiar irritant behind the robberies. It would be telling to reveal his identity, but fans of the series will soon figure it out, with the aid of a little suspension of disbelief. With Ramses and Nefret on one hand, and Amelia and Emerson on the other, engaged in "protecting" the other side from conflict and trouble, the novel unfolds in a merry chase of misdirection and miscommunication.

This was an A. As much as I liked the last few books in the series, which concentrated on Ramses and Nefret, it was a pleasure to go back to what made the series great and read a book more similar to the first 8 or so. The spy stuff, so prominent in Thunder especially, was very much in the background here. It really was a welcome surprise that Ramses didn't end up accepting an assignment for the War Office.

It was also nice to have Ramses and Nefret pretty much settled down, and with a lovely relationship. Plus, no more of the "does she love me?" and "will he forgive me?" thing, which I liked to read but which got a bit in the way of what I expect in a comfort series like this one. There was a lot of story told from their POV. I'm in 2 minds about that. I enjoy it, but I kind of miss Amelia's voice and the humour Peters infuses in it.

There was lots of Sethos in this book, and this afforded quite a bit of humour. He was more human and fallible here, instead of the omnipotent antihero of past books.

LOTS was a very enjoyable book (oh, I shouldn't forget the cat Horus, who I love because he's so like my O'Neill![isn't he adorable??]), and I'm looking forward to The Golden One being release in paperback. Peters' voice and humour make her one of my favourite authors.

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