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He Shall Thunder in the Sky (Amelia Peabody Series #12)

He Shall Thunder in the Sky (Amelia Peabody Series #12)

4.8 50
by Elizabeth Peters

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“Passion among the pyramids. Forged antiquities. A country at war. A camel in the garden. A cameo by Lawrence of Arabia. Add in Peters’s trademark intelligent plotting, engaging characters, and stylish writing and we can hardly ask for anything more.”

Cincinnati Enquirer


One of the most beloved characters in


“Passion among the pyramids. Forged antiquities. A country at war. A camel in the garden. A cameo by Lawrence of Arabia. Add in Peters’s trademark intelligent plotting, engaging characters, and stylish writing and we can hardly ask for anything more.”

Cincinnati Enquirer


One of the most beloved characters in mystery/suspense fiction, archeologist and Egyptologist Amelia Peabody bravely faces gravest peril in Cairo on the eve of World War One in New York Times bestselling Grandmaster Elizabeth Peters’s magnificent Egyptian adventure, He Shall Thunder in the Sky. The San Francisco Examiner calls these heart-racing exploits of Amelia and her courageous family, the Emersons, “pure delight.” But perhaps the New York Times Book Review states it best: “Between Amelia Peabody and Indiana Jones, it’s Amelia—in wit and daring—by a landslide.”

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
You've got your romance. You've got your archaeology. You've got your mystery and myth. You've even got your basic world war. And most of all you've got your great Elizabeth Peters gift for gab.

Translate to: While America is on the brink of war in 1914-1915, Amelia Peabody and her husband are working merrily away at their Egyptian archeological site, pressed into acknowledging the war only because of their son's machinations. Ramses not only has time for political brinksmanship -- he also has time to finally do something about his love life (i.e., Nefret).

This is all well and good. Nobody ever accused Elizabeth Peters of constructing a faulty or dull plot. But what you read her for is the writing. God blessed her with that rarest of gifts, charm, and it can be found in virtually every line. Her tongue is sardonic but rarely tart; amiable but never silly; satiric but never mean. She sees us for what we are, I think, and forgives us nonetheless. And she manages to do all this with a storyline that H. Rider Haggard would have envied for complexity, and G. K. Chesterton for social pith.

If you like stories about Egypt; if you like spunky romance; if you like the derring-do of turn-of-the-century espionage; and most important of all, if you like to laugh a lot, HE SHALL THUNDER IN THE SKY is the book for you.

This is certainly one of the two or three best Amelia Peabody's I've read; maybe the best.

--Ed Gorman

Washington Post
Amelia Peabody is Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes, and Miss Marple all in one.
NY Times Book Review
Between Amelia Peabody and Indiana Jones, it's Amelia—in wit and daring—by a landslide.
San Francisco Examiner
Her characters are delights...[Ramses] could put Indiana Jones out of business in a few years.
Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
Pacifist Amelia Peabody, in Egypt on an excavation project on the eve of World War I, finds herself in hot water with the British ex-pat community when her nemesis, the Master Criminal Sethos, reappears.
Orlando Sentinel
...intelligent plotting, engaging characters and stylish writing, and we can hardly ask for anything more—except another entry in the series.
Chicago Tribune
Hard to put down....Picking up the latest Elizabeth Peters mystery is like hearing from old friends and learning of their latest adventures.
Philadelphia Inquirer
Amelia has really pitched a tent in our hearts.
USA Today
A new Amelia Peabody mystery is like visiting old friends.
Kicks up a desert storm....[Peters] mixes hilarity with the history lesson.
San Francisco Chronicle
Peters's wily cast of characters keeps the reader coming back for more.
New York Times Book Review
Between Amelia Peabody and Indiana Jones, it's Amelia—in wit and daring—by a landslide.
Baltimore Sun
Amelia fans generally chorus that every new adventure is the most enjoyable one yet. No impulse here to change the tune.
New York Post
Breathtaking....so much fun.
Washington Post Book World
Filled with intrigue and nail-biting suspense...rich with detail and realism...ripe with tension and peril...Peters is surely the grande dame of historical mystery.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The latest superb installment in this renowned series is one of Peters's best. Amelia Peabody Emerson and her husband are the sort of dauntless archeologists who would never let a minor event like a world war distract them from their work. After all, they've been digging in the mild Egyptian winters for years. Now the younger members of the family--son Ramses and foster son and daughter David and Nefret--join their intrepid elders in their adventures, and the saga is all the richer for the new blood. As the Middle Eastern front of World War I develops during the excavation season of 1914-1915, the British are determined to hold Egypt and the Suez Canal against the Turks, who are allies of Germany. Ramses is loudly proclaiming pacifist sentiments, even as elderly ladies are handing him white feathers as a symbol of cowardice. Amelia and husband Emerson are doggedly trying to continue their usual work schedule in the face of the growing horrors of the war and the machinations of villains as evil as they have ever encountered. Even Lawrence of Arabia has a minor part to play. Despite having produced 11 previous tales of Egyptological mystery and detection, Peters still writes a deeply satisfying story that combines elements of espionage, mystery and romance. Some big surprises are in store for readers while Peters deftly ties her subplots together, but a few threads are left dangling enticingly at the end, leaving fans to expect another installment in this extraordinary series. Dual Selection of the Mystery Guild. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Excavating in Egypt on the eve of World War I, Amelia Peabody is in trouble with the British ex-pat community for her pacifist beliefs even as her nemesis--Sethos, the Master Criminal--reappears. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Amelia Peabody Series , #12
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I found it lying on the floor of the corridor that led to our sleeping chambers. I was standing there, holding it between my fingertips, when Ramses came out of his room. When he saw what I had in my hand his heavy dark eyebrows lifted, but he waited for me to speak first.

"Another white feather," I said. "Yours, I presume?"

"Yes, thank you." He plucked it from my fingers. "It must have fallen from my pocket when I took out my handkerchief. I will put it with the others."

Except for his impeccably accented English and a certain indefinable air about his bearing (I always say no one slouches quite as elegantly as an Englishman), an observer might have taken my son for one of the Egyptians among whom he had spent most of his life. He had the same wavy black hair and thick lashes, the same bronzed skin. In other ways he bore a strong resemblance to his father, who had emerged from our room in time to hear the foregoing exchange. Like Ramses, he had changed to his working costume of wrinkled flannels and collarless shirt, and as they stood side by side they looked more like elder and younger brother than father and son. Emerson's tall, broad-shouldered frame was as trim as that of Ramses, and the streak of white hair at each temple emphasized the gleam of his raven locks.

At the moment the resemblance between them was obscured by the difference in their expressions. Emerson's sapphire-blue orbs blazed; his son's black eyes were half-veiled by lowered lids. Emerson's brows were drawn together, Ramses's were raised; Ramses's lips were tightly compressed, while Emerson's had drawn back to display his large squareteeth.

"Curse it," he shouted. "Who had the confounded audacity to accuse you of cowardice? I hope you punched him on the jaw!"

"I could hardly have done that, since the kind donor was a lady," Ramses replied, tucking the white feather carefully into his shirt pocket.

"Who?" I demanded.

"What does it matter? It is not the first I have received, nor will it be the last."

Since the outbreak of war in August, a good many fowl had been denuded of their plumage by patriotic ladies who presented these symbols of cowardice to young men not in uniform. Patriotism is not a quality I despise, but in my humble opinion it is despicable to shame someone into facing dangers from which one is exempt by reason of gender, age, or physical disability. Two of my nephews and the sons of many of our friends were on their way to France. I would not have held them back, but neither would I have had it on my conscience that I had urged them to go.

I had not been obliged to face that painful choice with my son.

We had sailed for Egypt in October, since my dear Emerson (the greatest Egyptologist of this or any other age) would not have allowed anyone, much less the Kaiser, to interfere with his annual excavations. It was not a retreat from peril; in fact, we might soon be in greater danger than those who remained in England. That the Ottoman Empire would eventually enter the war on the side of Germany and Austro-Hungary no one of intelligence doubted. For years the Kaiser had courted the Sultan, lending him vast amounts of money and building railroads and bridges through Syria and Palestine. Even the German-financed archaeological expeditions in the area were believed to have an ulterior motive. Archaeology offers excellent cover for spying and subversion, and moralists were fond of pointing out that the flag of imperial Germany flew over the site of Megiddo, the biblical Armageddon.

Turkey's entry into the war came on November 5, and it was followed by the formal annexation of Egypt by Britain; the Veiled Protectorate had become a protectorate in reality. The Turks controlled Palestine, and between Palestine and Egypt lay the Sinai and the Suez Canal, Britain's lifeline to the east. The capture of the Canal would deal Britain a mortal blow. An invasion of Egypt would surely follow, for the Ottoman Empire had never forgiven or forgotten the loss of its former province. And to the west of Egypt the warlike Senussi tribesmen, armed and trained by Turkey, presented a growing threat to British-occupied Egypt.

By December Cairo was under martial law, the press censored, public assemblages (of Egyptians) forbidden, the Khedive deposed in favor of his more compliant uncle, the nascent nationalist movement suppressed and its leaders sent into exile or prison. These regrettable measures were justified, at least in the eyes of those who enforced them, by the increasing probability of an attack on the Canal. I could understand why nerves in Cairo were somewhat strained, but that was no excuse, in my opinion, for rude behavior to my son.

"It is not fair," I exclaimed. "I have not seen the young English officials in Cairo rushing off to volunteer. Why has public opinion concentrated on you?"

Ramses shrugged. His foster sister had once compared his countenance to that of a pharaonic statue because of the regularity of his features and their habitual impassivity. At this moment they looked even stonier than usual.

"I have been rather too prone to express in public what I feel about this senseless, wasteful war. It's probably because I was not properly brought up," he added seriously. "You never taught me that the young should defer to their elders."

"I tried," I assured him.

Emerson fingered the dimple (or cleft, as he prefers to call it) in his chin, as was his habit when deep in thought or somewhat perturbed. "I understand your reluctance to shoot at poor fellows whose only crime is that they have been conscripted by their leaders; but-er-is it true that you refused to join the staff of the new Military Intelligence Department?"

"Ah," said Ramses thoughtfully. "So that bit of information is now public property? No wonder so many charming ladies have recently added to my collection of feathers. Yes, sir, I did refuse. Would you like me to justify my decision?"

"No," Emerson muttered.


"Er-no, it is not necessary."

"I am greatly obliged to you," said Ramses...

He Shall Thunder in the Sky. 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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He Shall Thunder in the Sky (Amelia Peabody Series #12) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have watched the character from a baby to age 20 and everything that has happened in his life. His parents have aged marvelously. Elizabeth Peters is truly a gifted writer as she takes us through all these wonderful adventures with this family, both in England and in Egypt. It makes me want to travel to Egypt someday to see these sights. I love the way she mixes the romance and the adventure. Just can't stop reading!!!
Peabody More than 1 year ago
I have read this book countless times, and it is still just as good as the first time. Elizabeth Peters is phenomenal, her writing style is smart, witty, and clever. He Shall Thunder in the Sky is an exciting read. I totally recommend the Amelia Peabody series for anyone. Peters has a way of including romance in her books without being explicit which is refreshing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I must admit that in THE FALCON IN THE PORTAL, after Nefret and Ramses have that wonderful romantic interlude, then she runs off with the chappy (Unfortunately I can't remember how one spells his name) I was terribly disappointed, I think that I even threw the book down and cursed Ms. Peters for destroying Ramses and Nefret. But However when i read HE SHALL THUNDER IN THE SKY, and in the end one just knows that they'll get married, I was So excited!! i jumped up and down. I couldn't wait to hear more about them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody books are wonderful. Each one better than the last. They make me want to go to Egypt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This storyline was a bit different from Ms. Peters' usual stories. It dealt more with the Emerson family's involvement during World War One in that part of the world. It would be unfair to give away most of the story here -- one must savor the expense and drama firsthand. To those persons, I wish happy reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
StylinSixty More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of series books and by the time the twelfth one comes along, more often than not the author has run out of steam; "jumped the shark" as they say. Not so with Elizabeth Peters. Her characters continue to mature and grow and are people with whom I enjoy spending time. They have their faults and I admit that I became so mad at Nefret in this one, that I had to remind myself that this is fiction to get to sleep! There is never a dirth of dire circumstances that Amelia and her family find themselves involved in, but my credulity is never stretched beyond endurance. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys an author who respects her readers and seasons adventure with humor and warmth.
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Knitting-Nana More than 1 year ago
Ramses' relationship with Nefret works itself out in this installment. And this is one of the better plots.
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