The Golden One, by Elizabeth Peters

>> Monday, October 13, 2003

I've been waiting since February to read The Golden One, by Elizabeth Peters, book number 14 in the Amelia Peabody series.

A richly woven tale of romance, treachery, intrigue, and murder in a breathtaking realm of ancient wonders and crumbling splendor.

A new year, 1917, is dawning, and the Great War that ravages the world shows no sign of abating. In these perilous times, archaeologist Amelia Peabody and her extended family must confront shocking dangers. But it is son Ramses who faces the most dire threat, answering a call that will carry him to the fabled seaport of Gaza on a mission as personal as it is perilous--where death will be the certain consequence of exposure. While far away, Ramses's beautiful wife, Nefret, guards a secret of her own ...
I enjoyed it, though the pacing and structure were a bit problematic. A B+.

My main problem with Lord of the Silent is that halfway through, the book undergoes a personality change. We were having a nice mystery, with hidden tombs and grave robbers and all the elements that made me love this series, when wham! the book turns into a spy story. Shit, I thought we'd left that behing after He Shall Thunder in the Sky, but apparently not. Don't get me wrong, I loved Thunder, but the abrupt change didn't feel right. It's as if Peters didn't know if she wanted the mystery or the spy story, so she decided to have both, one after the other.

And then, the final almost 100 pages were completely bereft of suspense. The spy plot is over, the villain in the tomb-robbing mystery is dead, and the Emersons just go about their business in their excavation (with very amusing distractions). I must guiltily confess that I actually loved reading this. The danger had finished, so all I had left to read was the resolution of the "archeological" part of the book, find the secret tomb, etc., simply because what has me coming back to this series again and again are the characters and their interactions, not their adventures in themselves. After all the excitement of the first parts, the slow pace was relaxing, even though I recognize it as a flaw in the book's pacing.

Still, I was expecting some kind of twist in the end, which is what Peters has me used to. I don't know, that so and so is actually Sethos in disguise, or that other character is in cahoots with the villain... something of the sort. Maybe the fact that there wasn't a twist constitutes a twist in itself, I don't know.

The paperback of the next book, Children of the Storm won't be coming out until next April, so I probably won't be able to get it until a few months later. I'm considering starting a reread of the whole series...

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