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The Golden One (Amelia Peabody Series #14)

The Golden One (Amelia Peabody Series #14)

4.5 32
by Elizabeth Peters

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A richly woven tale of greed, 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.


A richly woven tale of greed, 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. . . .

Editorial Reviews

The Guardian (London)
“Unputdownable...the wily charm isn’t flagging.”
The Guardian(London)
"Unputdownable...the wily charm isn’t flagging."
Egyptologist Amelia Peabody and her husband, Radcliffe Emerson, long for just one season of excavation uninterrupted by homicide, but happily for mystery fans, they never seem to achieve it. It's New Year's Eve, 1917, and once again the Emerson brood is off to sift through ancient Egyptian fields. But derailment occurs almost as soon as Radcliffe can brandish his trowel and whiskbroom: The dead body inside the looted tomb is decidedly not a royal mummy. Amelia and her spouse begin poking around for solutions to the murder(s), while their son Ramses undertakes another dangerous assignment and daughter Nefret attempts to keep a secret.
Publishers Weekly
The legions of Amelia Peabody Emerson fans will be overjoyed with this 14th in the series (after 2001's Lord of the Silent), for they're getting two books in one. First, MWA Grandmaster Peters offers another amusing if wordy Egyptian archeology mystery, set in 1917 and replete with grave robbers, a murder, the discovery of a richly furnished tomb and a cast of thousands. Halfway through the book, this plot is annoyingly left dangling when the British recall the Emerson's brilliant son, Ramses, for an espionage assignment in Gaza, where he must determine if a newly powerful figure, Ismail Pasha, is really the Emerson family black sheep, Sethos, master criminal and secret agent. The redoubtable Amelia; her eccentric husband, Radcliffe; Ramses's adventurous wife, Nefret; and their faithful foreman, Selim, follow him in disguise. Captured by Sahin Pasha, head of the Turkish secret service, Ramses later escapes, fulfilling his mission with his family's help. Then it's back to Egypt, where the Emersons and their friends the Vandergelts solve the murder and subdue the villains. Radcliffe even ejects intrusive tourists from fragile archeological sites. Peters's books divide the mystery-reading public. With a Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago, she provides an authentic historical backdrop. However, her long-winded explanations and preposterous plots frustrate many. Those who enjoy romance and find the hubbub of the Emersons and their devoted entourage entertaining will forgive the faults. Agent, Dominick Abel. (One-day laydown Apr. 2) Forecast: Increased wordiness won't daunt the author's faithful followers, who will lift this Mystery Guild Main Selection onto bestseller lists. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Amelia Peabody Series , #14
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

When I am in one of my philosophical moods, I am inclined to wonder whether all families are as difÞcult as mine.

I was in such a mood as I dressed for dinner on the penultimate evening of our voyage. We would dock at Alexandria in two days, unless, of course, the ship was sunk by a German torpedo. A winter voyage from England to Egypt is never comfortable; but in that fateful December of 1916, after more than two years of war, the possibility of submarine attack had been added to the perils of rough seas and stormy weather.

I was not thinking of that danger -- for I make it a habit never to worry about matters that are beyond my control -- nor of the difÞculty of trying to keep my footing while the þoor of the cabin rose and fell and the oil lamps swung wildly on their brackets -- for mine is the sort of mind that rises above such things -- but perhaps these considerations did affect me more than I realized, giving a pessimistic cast to my normally cheerful reþections.

Mind you, I had no legitimate grounds for complaint about my immediate family. My husband, Radcliffe Emerson, is the most distinguished Egyptologist of this or any other era. His sapphirine-blue eyes, the cleft, or dimple, in his strong chin, his thick sable hair, and muscular but symmetrical frame are additional attractions to me and, I regret to say, to innumerable other females.

He has a few minor eccentricities: his command of invective, which has earned him the Egyptian sobriquet of Father of Curses, his explosive temper, his autocratic, arbitrary method of dealing with theauthorities of the Service des Antiquités, which had led in the past to our being barred from most of the interesting sites in Egypt...

Well, but no proud mother could have asked for a better son than mine. Ramses had been named for his Uncle Walter, but everyone called him by the nickname given him by his father in infancy. He was as handsome and intellectually gifted as his father, idealistic, kind, and courageous...A little too courageous, perhaps? He had been one of the most infuriating children I have ever had the misfortune to encounter, and his reckless disregard for danger, when he believed the cause he supported to be morally right, was one trait that I had been unable to eradicate. The most terrifying of his adventures had occurred during the winter of 1914-15, when he had taken on a secret assignment for the War OfÞce. He and his best friend, David, had completed their mission successfully, but both had been seriously injured, and Ramses's true identity had been exposed to agents of the Central Powers. I had hoped his marriage would sober him, but although he was as passionately attached to his beautiful wife as Emerson was to my humble self, Nefret had not been the calming inþuence for which I had hoped. She would have thrown herself in front of a charging lion if Ramses were its destined prey, but what I wanted was someone who would prevent him from provoking lions in the Þrst place.

Nefret had been our ward, dear as a daughter, before she married our son. As a Þrm believer in the equality of the female gender, I could only approve the determination with which she had achieved against considerable odds her goal of qualifying as a surgeon. As a person of high moral principles I could only commend her for spending part of her large fortune in establishing in Cairo a hospital for women that served even the lowest and most despised members ofthat sex. If only she would consent to settle down -- devote her ardent energies to medicine and to archaeology, and to Ramses -- and perhaps...

The boat gave a great lurch and I dropped the earring I was endeavoring to insert. With a muttered “Curse it” I lowered myself to hands and knees and began feeling about on the þoor -- without, I hardly need say, losing the track of my mental musing.

Honesty compels me to admit that the propensity of my son and daughter to become engaged with individuals who desired to wreak grave bodily harm upon them was not entirely their fault. Emerson and I tended to attract such individuals too. Over the years we had dealt -- effectively, I hardly need add -- with murderers, forgers, tomb robbers, and criminals of various sorts. Several of them had been related to us.

As I crawled under the dressing table in pursuit of the elusive earring, I remembered something Emerson had said about my side of the family, to the effect that not one of them had any redeeming qualities whatever. This was rude, but undeniably correct. One of my nephews had been -- I am happy to employ the past tense -- a thoroughly repellent human being. Sennia, his little daughter by a Cairo prostitute, who had been callously abandoned by her father, was now part of our family.

The boat bounced again and the top of my head came into painful contact with the underside of the dressing table. Since I was alone, with no one to overhear, I permitted myself a few expletives. I do not approve of bad language, but everybody else in the family employs it freely. It is Emerson's fault. He cannot or will not restrain himself and of course the children emulate him. There are times when Nefret's language...

The cursed earring continued to elude me, but I endeavored, as is my habit, to look on the bright side. Emerson's kin were exemplary human beings: his brother Walter, a true scholar and gentleman; Walter's wife, my close friend Evelyn; and their Þne brood of children, in which category I must include the husband of their daughter Lia. David, a talented artist and trained Egyptologist, and Ramses's best friend, was the grandson of our dear departed reis Abdullah. We...

The Golden One. Copyright © by Elizabeth Peters. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. She was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.

Brief Biography

A farm in rural Maryland
Date of Birth:
September 29, 1927
Place of Birth:
Canton, Illinois
M.A., Ph.D. in Egyptology, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1952

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Golden One 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peters goes herself one better in the historical (and hysterical) settings of this one. She's spot-on with the WWI facts as well as the local flavor. The espionage sub-plot was my particular favorite, especially the descriptions of the disguises assumed by the family. I'm waiting with bated breath to see how she works T.E. Lawrence (subject of my dissertation) and Howard Carter's world-shaking find into the series! I read this one in one sitting - finishing at 5am.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader of Elizabeth Peter's books, and in particular the Amelia Peabody series, I must say this has been one of her best. The Emersons are up to their usual adventures, and followers of the series will be thrilled to see more of Sethos, the romantic exchanges, and the incomparable wit of these novels. I have no intention of giving away the plot, but I must say I found it hard to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Few tales are as eagerly awaited as another in the addictive Amelia Peabody mystery series. After all, what other heroine is intrepid, tastefully dressed, and secretes a sword in her parasol - just in case. When first introduced in the 1975 'Crocodile On The Sandbank,' Amelia Peabody was a stalwart spinster who determined to use her hefty inheritance in pursuit of her overriding interest - Egyptology. It was 1884, yet she set out for Egypt where she was to be confronted with a number of perplexing circumstances. With 'The Golden One' it is 1917, and Amelia is married to Radcliffe, the most famous archeologist in Egypt. Ramses, their son is a chip off the old blocks; he is an investigator wed to Nefret, who is, of course, beautiful. Choosing to overlook German submarines lurking in the waters, this encourage sets out for Egypt. Their plans for an anticipated excavation are interrupted with the appearance of Sethos, Radcliffe's ne'er-do-well brother. Matters are further complicated when they hear that royal tombs have been robbed, and a body is found. Those who have read the Amelia Peabody series in the past will be thrilled with this latest adventure. Those who have not have a treat in store.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book! I liked all the twist and turns, which kept it a very interesting read.
justmarsha More than 1 year ago
I have really enjoyed this series from Elizabeth Peters. Now, watching Downton Abbey I am seeing some of the period costumes Amelia mentions. Both from the same time period, very fun.
Love2ReadMW More than 1 year ago
I've read most of the Amelia Peabody novels and enjoyed them all. Elizabeth Peters combines a little history with mystery and humor from the characters. A fun read.
AnneAR More than 1 year ago
If you like mysteries, if you like archaeology, if you like well developed characters, this is the series for you. Every time I finish one, I'm eager to start the next. I dread the day in the next few weeks when I finish the series. I will feel as though I have lost an entire family. Love this entire series!
JFD-7 More than 1 year ago
If you enjoyed the previous Amelia Peabody books, you will love this one. There all the drama of rescues, misunderstandings, disguises, etc. I really enjoyed this book.
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