Tomb of the Golden Bird (Amelia Peabody Series #18)

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Overview

In New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Peters's most eagerly anticipated Amelia Peabody adventure to date, the incomparable Emerson clan is a hairbreadth away from unearthing the legendary site they've been searching for: the tomb of the little-known king Tutankhamon. But a sinister plot and a dark family secret stand in the way of their ultimate ambition and threaten to change things forever. . . .

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Tomb of the Golden Bird (Amelia Peabody Series #18)

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Overview

In New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Peters's most eagerly anticipated Amelia Peabody adventure to date, the incomparable Emerson clan is a hairbreadth away from unearthing the legendary site they've been searching for: the tomb of the little-known king Tutankhamon. But a sinister plot and a dark family secret stand in the way of their ultimate ambition and threaten to change things forever. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The 1922 Egyptian archaeology season starts on a very bad note. Radcliffe Emerson's attempt to trick his rivals into handing over digging rights in the Valley of the Kings backfires, raising the worst suspicions of Howard Carter and Lord Carnavon. Just when Emerson is beginning to fret over the probable loss of King Tut and his riches, villains pose a question that lands him, Ramses, and Amelia in even worse trouble. Another exciting Peabody tale of death in the desert.
Publishers Weekly
Safer and probably a lot more fun than an actual trip to present-day Egypt, MWA Grand Master Peters's 18th entry in her bestselling Amelia Peabody historical mystery series is given solid and ironic life by veteran reader Rosenblat. With an upper-class British edge that might remind some listeners of current PBS Mystery series host, Diana Rigg, Rosenblat is best at making Peabody the combination of wisdom, strength and occasional familial frustration that has endeared her to so many readers and listeners. But she is also adept at capturing the men in the family (Amelia's husband, the pompous Radcliffe Emerson; his not-to-be-trusted half-brother, Sethos; and the Emersons' smart and hunky son and heir, Ramses) and various other high-level Brits who propel the plot about the search for Tutankhamen's tomb. Rosenblat also does the Egyptians in grand style, rarely slipping into ethnic vocal clich s. Escapist adventure, to be sure-but the quality is as high as ever. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 13). (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
By 1922, almost every Egyptologist despairs of finding another royal tomb-except for Radcliffe Emerson, who doesn't have the rights to dig where he suspects Tutankhamen lies. It's Howard Carter, subsidized by Lord Carnarvon, who gets the first glimpse of the royal burial chamber. The tomb's curse seems to be dogging the Emerson household, maybe because Emerson, his parasol-wielding wife Amelia Peabody, son Ramses, daughter-in-law Nefret, grandkiddies and assorted hangers-on have stealthily entered the tomb at night for a quick peek. Or maybe the Emerson woes have been caused by his brother Sethos, late of the British Secret Service, who attracts trouble the way the Nile attracts flies. Soon Sethos's estranged wife Margaret is kidnapped, an aged retainer is waylaid, the family is followed in and out of the souks and Carter and Carnarvon cut them dead at every opportunity. Is the mummy's curse active? Are nationalists rising against the Brits? Whatever the cause, Christmas must be celebrated, tea must be enjoyed on the veranda, whiskey and soda must be imbibed, several romances must be stage-managed by Amelia and all Tutankhamen's treasures must be oohed and aahed over as they are removed from his tomb. The political machinations are less interesting than the competition between the archaeologists and the Emerson family. As usual, though, Peters (The Serpent on the Crown, 2005, etc.) has great fun dressing her characters up in Victorian finery and outpost-of-the-empire attitudes.
Toronto Sun
“[A] grand adventure.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060591816
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/27/2007
  • Series: Amelia Peabody Series , #18
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 285,795
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 1.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Peters

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.

Biography

Neither the Great Depression nor the lack of a public library in her small hometown of Canton, Illinois, deterred Barbara Mertz (the future Elizabeth Peters) from becoming an avid reader. Yet, when her family moved to a suburb of Chicago, she was elated to discover the riches contained in the town's local library and proceeded to devour every book she could get her hands on. She began writing in high school; but by that time she had already decided to become an archaeologist.

Mertz received a scholarship to the University of Chicago, which boasted a world-famous Egyptology department. Her mother, an eminently practical soul, encouraged her daughter to become a teacher; but after taking only two education courses, Mertz knew a career in the classroom was not for her. Determined to follow her dream, she moved over to the university's Oriental Institute, and received her Ph.D. in Egyptology at the age of 23.

The post-WWII job market wasn't kind to women in general, much less to women seeking careers in archaeology. Mertz married and began a family, but never lost sight of her life's ambition. While she was raising her two children, she decided to try her hand at writing. Her first few attempts were never published, but they did land her an agent; and in 1964 she published her first book, Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt.

Mertz authored two additional works on archaeology before foraying into fiction in 1966. The Master of Blacktower is the first of several gothic suspense novels written under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels. (In her biography, she explains that the use of pseudonyms helps readers to distinguish various types of books written by a single author.) The supernatural elements in the thrillers penned under the Michaels name have kept readers on the edge of their seats for decades.

In the 1970s, Mertz began writing under her second, more famous pseudonym, Elizabeth Peters. As Peters, she has authored books in three different series. Beginning in 1972 with The Seventh Sinner (1972), the first series features a glamorous librarian-turned-romance novelist named Jacqueline Kirby (the final Jacqueline Kirby mystery, Naked Once More, won a coveted Agatha Award in 1989). The second series, starring American art historian Vicky Bliss, debuted in 1973 with Borrower of the Night (Vicky's last outing was 2008's Laughter of Dead Kings). Then, in 1975, Peters introduced her most famous protagonist, archeologist/sleuth Amelia Peabody, in a dandy adventure entitled Crocodile on the Sandbank.

From the first, readers loved Amelia, a plucky Victorian feminist who—together with her husband, the distinguished Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerston—has gone on to solve countless mysteries in the Middle East. Peabody fans received an extra treat in 2003 with Amelia Peabody's Egypt: A Compendium to Her Journals, a nonfiction stroll through ancient Egypt that included nearly 600 photographs and illustrations, plus expert academic articles.

In addition to her three series, Mertz has written several standalone suspense novels as Elizabeth Peters. She has this to say about her successful, prolific career: "The craft of writing delights me. It is impossible to attain perfection; there is always something more to be learned—figuring out new techniques of plotting or characterization, struggling with recalcitrant sentences until I force them to approximate my meaning. And nothing is ever wasted. Everything one sees and hears, everything one learns, can be used."

Good To Know

The pseudonym Elizabeth Peters is taken from her two children, Elizabeth and Peter. She uses three pseudonyms so readers can tell the difference between the three types of books she writes: nonfiction archaeology as Barbara Mertz, supernatural thrillers as Barbara Michaels and historical mysteries as Peters. For the record, Mertz has called the pseudonyms "a horrible nuisance."
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    1. Also Known As:
      Barbara Mertz, Barbara Michaels
    2. Hometown:
      A farm in rural Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 29, 1927
    2. Place of Birth:
      Canton, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      August 8, 2013

Read an Excerpt

Tomb of the Golden Bird


By Elizabeth Peters

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Elizabeth Peters
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060591803

Chapter One

"Ramses!"

Seated on the terrace of Shepheard's Hotel, I watched with interest as a tall young man stopped and turned, as if in response to the calling of his name. Yet this was not the fourteenth century b.c., but the year of our Lord 1922; and the tall man was no ancient pharaoh. Though his bronzed skin and black hair resembled those of an Egyptian, his height and bearing proclaimed him for what he was -- an English gentleman of the finest quality. He was also my son, "Ramses" Walter Peabody Emerson, who was better known in Egypt by his sobriquet.

He raised his hand to his brow, and realized that (as usual) he was not wearing a hat. In lieu of removing that which was not present he inclined his head in greeting, and one of his rare, attractive smiles warmed his thin face. I craned my neck and half rose from my chair in order to see the individual who had occasioned this response, but the crowds that filled the street blocked my view. Cairo traffic had grown worse since my early days in Egypt; motorcars now mingled with donkeys and camels, carts and carriages, and the disgusting effluvions their engines emitted offended the nostrils more than the odors of the above-mentioned beasts -- to which, admittedly, I had become accustomed.

I deduced that the person my son addressed was of short stature, and most probably female (basing this latter assumption on Ramses's attempt to remove his hat and the affability of his smile). A portly person wearing a very large turban and mounted on a very small donkey passed in front of my son, and by the time he had gone by Ramses was wending his way toward the steps of the hotel and the table where I sat awaiting him.

"Who was that?" I demanded.

"Good afternoon to you too, Mother." Ramses bent to kiss my cheek.

"Good afternoon. Who was that?"

"Who was whom?"

"Ramses," I said warningly.

My son abandoned his teasing. "I believe you are not acquainted with her, Mother. Her name is Suzanne Malraux, and she studied with Mr. Petrie."

"Ah yes," I said. "You are mistaken, Ramses, I heard of her last year from Professor Petrie. He described her work as adequate."

"That sounds like Petrie." Ramses sat down and adjusted his long legs under the table. "But you must give him credit; he has always been willing to train women in archaeology."

"I have never denied Petrie any of the acclaim that is his due, Ramses."

Ramses's smile acknowledged the ambiguity of the statement. "Training is one thing, employment another. She has been unable to find a position."

I wondered if Ramses was implying that we take the young woman on to our staff. She might have approached him rather than his father or me. He was, I admit, more approachable, particularly by young ladies. Let me hasten to add that he did not invite the approaches. He was devoted to his beautiful wife Nefret, but it might be asking too much of a lady who is approaching a certain time of life to allow her husband close association with a younger female. Miss Malraux was half French. And she was bound to be attracted to Ramses. Women were. His gentle manners (my contribution) and athletic frame (his father's), his somewhat exotic good looks, and a certain je ne sais quoi (in fact I knew perfectly well what it was, but refused to employ the vulgar terms currently in use . . .).

No, despite our need for additional staff, it might not be advisable.

"Have you had any interesting encounters?" Ramses asked, looking over the people taking tea on the terrace. They were the usual sort -- well dressed, well groomed, and almost all white -- if that word can be used to describe complexions that ranged from pimply pale to sunburned crimson.

"Lord and Lady Allenby stopped to say hello," I replied. "He was most agreeable, but I understand why people refer to him as the Bull. He has that set to his jaw."

"He has to be forceful. As high commissioner he is under fire from the imperialists in the British government and the Nationalists in Egypt. On the whole, I can only commend his efforts."

I did not want to talk politics. The subject was too depressing.

"There is your father," I said. "Late as usual."

Ramses looked over his shoulder at the street. There was no mistaking Emerson. He is one of the finest-looking men I have ever beheld: raven locks and eyes of a penetrating sapphirine blue, a form as impressive as it had been when I first met him, he stood a head taller than those around him and his booming voice was audible some distance away. He was employing it freely, greeting acquaintances in a mixture of English and Arabic, the latter liberally salted with the expletives that have given him the Egyptian sobriquet of Father of Curses. Egyptians had become accustomed to this habit and replied with broad grins to remarks such as "How are you, Ibrahim, you old son of an incontinent camel?" My distinguished husband, the finest Egyptologist of this or any era, had earned the respect of the Egyptians with whom he had lived for so many years because he treated them as he did his fellow archaeologists. That is to say, he cursed all of them impartially when they did something that vexed him. It was not difficult to vex Emerson. Few people lived up to his rigid professional standards, and time had not mellowed his quick temper.

"He's got someone with him," said Ramses.

"Well, well," I said. "What a surprise."

The individual who followed in Emerson's mighty wake was none other than Howard Carter.

Perhaps I should explain the reason for my sarcasm, for such it was. Howard was one of our oldest friends, an archaeologist whose career had undergone several reversals and recoveries. He was presently employed . . .

Continues...


Excerpted from Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters Copyright © 2006 by Elizabeth Peters. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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( 43 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Peabody mystery

    In 1922 in Egypt, Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerson begs Lord Carnavon and Howard Carter to let him excavate in the Valley of the Kings where the duo have exclusive digging rights. Because he is well known for his findings, Radcliffe¿s action leads to a feeding frenzy from some of his rivals who assume something of value awaits those who dig in the Valley of Kings. They are proven right when Carter uncovers the tomb of King Tutankhamen. --- The incredibly preserved burial chamber contains a wealth of artifacts that attract a global invasion of curators, collectors, amateurs, the media, government and grave robbers. Among the last group arriving at the sight is Emerson's shifty half-brother, severely ailing Sethos, who carries a secret document that if it gets into the wrong hands could cause unbelievable hostilities in the Middle East. Though he wants nothing to do with a sibling he does not trust, Radcliffe tries to help Sethos, which leads to increasingly dangerous attacks on his family. Not one to wait for an assault, Radcliffe¿s wife Amelia Peabody begins to look into who wants them dead and whether the motive is Sethos and his document or something to do with Tut. --- The eighteenth historical Peabody mystery is a refreshing superb tale that uses the Tut dig of 1922 as a backdrop to the action-packed story line. Radcliffe plays the prime role more so than Amelia, which adds to the feel of briskness in spite of the desert climate. The mystery comes a little later than usual, but is well worth the wait as the early plot provides insight into the renowned Carter excavation. TOMB OF THE GOLDEN BIRD is must reading experience for Elizabeth Peters¿ fans while newcomers will fully appreciate a strong early twentieth century mystery with a powerful historical foundation. --- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Odd writing style

    This is my first Elizabeth Peters book. In my opinion her writing is hard to read, the descriptions of characters are long, drawn out, and quite frankly, just boring. I barely got through the first chapter of this book before putting it aside and deciding not to go any further. And I read ANYTHING! So for me not to forge ahead on this says something.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2006

    Lackluster Novel

    As an novice 'wanna be' Egyptololgist but having studied Breasted's History of Egypt and Howard Carters autobiography of the tomb, I'm very upset about the charges of Lord Carnarvons and Howard Carter's robbery of artifacts from the tomb with no evidence

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters This the 18th i

    The Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters

    This the 18th in a series of historical mystery novels, written by Elizabeth Peters and featuring fictional sleuth and archaeologist Amelia Peabody and her husband, Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerson.

    The Emerson-Peabodys have been banished from the East Valley, Egypt where they are convinced the tomb of Tutankhamen lies.

    Powerless to intervene, but determined to stay close to the site, the family returns to Luxor and starts digging in the West Valley, where they uncover Tutankhamen's tomb.

    Before the dig can commence, Emerson and his son, Ramses, find themselves lured into a trap by some villains who are in pursuit of "he." This drives the Emerson-Peabodys - guided by Amelia's curiosity - on a quest to uncover who is "he" and why "he" must be found.

    Using the heroine, Amelia, the writer narrates a way to protect the family from sinister forces that will stop at nothing to succeed in the sinister plot that threatens not only Amelia's family, but also the entire region.

    Narrated from Amelia's first person point of view, the work is commercial literature that follows a pattern, much like in the preceding books. I read the book in a few days, but was not too impressed with the work. Even though it was entertaining and mindless, I got the copy from a friend and would not have paid money for it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    This is one of the worst books I have ever encountered. At 70 y

    This is one of the worst books I have ever encountered. At 70 years of age with a Ph.D., and 3 Masters in different fields, I have accomplished some reading. This is a pompous read, over blown, and a complete waste of time. It might have been a worthwhile novel with 225 pages or so edited out, but that wasn't the case. I fail to see how the author had it published.. Overall boring, and inaccurate and silly data, particularly with reference to the historical figures, Carter and his patron, for example.

    A great waste of time!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014

    Must-read!!

    Peters' (and one presumes, Amelia Peabody Emerson's) perspective on one of the greatest moments in archaeological history. Oh, and " every year, another body" ! This book is Elizabeth Peters at her best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Go Peabody!

    Another great story

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2012

    awesome

    I've read the series three times and would read it again in another year or so.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    Great book and series

    The Amelia Peabody series are great. I love the archeology background.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2007

    A reviewer

    Ever since I started reading Peabody/Emerson adventures, I'd been waiting for the Carter find and how Ms. Peters would handle it. When we were kids living in Egypt and the Sudan, we were introduced to Howard Carter just before he died. He was memorable to small children because he wasn't terribly fond of small children - Ramses' influence maybe? From what I remember of Carter, any and all of the events in Golden Bird could have happened. Even if they didn't happen, the story is exciting and splendidly told. The characters are as real as if they actually were. I am, however, getting a little tired of the second and third generations - would like to see more of Sethos (Seth Emerson?).

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2006

    The Emerson Family adventures continue!

    Amelia Peabody Emerson and family are back in their beloved Egypt and as always, 'another year, another corpse.' Elizabeth Peters writes with warmth and humor and fans of this series will not be disappointed as this adventure involves everyone from the family to the devoted yet aging butler to the discovery of one of the most well known tombs in Egypt. The fact that it is not Emerson's project deters them not at all and archeology and mystery mix with the usual results. Is it coincidence Sethos arrives shortly after the tomb is opened? Even as the reader attempts to sort the clues and identify the villan, you will also laugh as the family sometimes stumbles over each other in their zest to uncover the truth. A thoroughly enjoyable read, fans will find themselves regretting reaching the end and wanting more.

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    Posted March 25, 2010

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