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.
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 Ameliain wit and daringby 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.
...intelligent plotting, engaging characters and stylish writing, and we can hardly ask for anything moreexcept another entry in the series.
Hard to put down....Picking up the latest Elizabeth Peters mystery is like hearing from old friends and learning of their latest adventures.
Amelia has really pitched a tent in our hearts.
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 Ameliain wit and daringby a landslide.
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.|
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.\
Read an Excerpt
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.