Guardian of the Horizon (Amelia Peabody Series #16)

Guardian of the Horizon (Amelia Peabody Series #16)

by Elizabeth Peters

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061999383
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/30/2011
Series: Amelia Peabody Series , #16
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 157,033
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago’s famed Oriental Institute. During her fifty-year career, she wrote more than seventy novels and three nonfiction books on Egypt. She received numerous writing awards and, in 2012, was given the first Amelia Peabody Award, created in her honor. She died in 2013, leaving a partially completed manuscript of The Painted Queen.


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

Read an Excerpt

Guardian of the Horizon

Chapter One

When we left Egypt in the spring of 1907, I felt like a defeated general who has retreated to lick his wounds (if I may be permitted a somewhat inelegant but expressive metaphor). Our archaeological season had experienced the usual ups and downs -- kidnapping, murderous attacks, and the like -- to which I was well accustomed. But that year disasters of an unprecented scope had befallen us.

The worst was the death of our dear old friend Abdullah, who had been foreman of our excavations for many years. He had died as he would have wished, in a glorious gesture of sacrifice, but that was small consolation to those of us who had learned to love him. It was hard to imagine continuing our work without him.

If we continued it. My spouse, Radcliffe Emerson, is without doubt the preeminent Egyptologist of this or any other era. To say that Emerson (who prefers to be addressed by that name) has the most explosive temper of anyone I know might be a slight exaggeration -- but only slight. His passions are most often aroused by incompetent excavators and careless scholarship, and during this past season he had -- I admit -- been sorely provoked.

We had been excavating in the Valley of the Kings at Luxor, my favorite site in all of Egypt. The concession for the Valley was held by an irritating elderly American, Mr. Theodore Davis, who was more interested in finding treasure than in scholarly research; we were there under sufferance, allowed to work only in the lesser, more boring tombs. Still, we were there, and we would be there again in the autumn had it not been for Emerson.

The trouble began when Mr. Davis's crew discovered one of the strangest, most mysterious tombs ever found in the Valley. It was a hodgepodge of miscellaneous funerary equipment, much of it in poor condition, including a mummy and coffin and pieces of a magnificent golden shrine; and if it had been properly investigated, new light would have been shed on a particularly intriguing era of Egyptian history. In vain did we offer Mr. Davis the services of our staff. Abdullah, who was still with us, was the most experienced reis in Egypt, our son Ramses was a skilled linguist and excavator, and his friend David an equally skilled copyist. Not to mention our foster daughter Nefret, to whose excavation experience was added medical training and a thorough acquaintance with mummies. Only an egotistical idiot would have refused. Davis did refuse. He regarded excavation as entertainment, not as a tool in scholarly research, and he was jealous of a better man. He wanted no one to interfere with his toy.

Watching Davis "rip the tomb apart" (I quote Emerson) was trying enough. The denouement came on the day when the mummy fell apart due to careless handling. (It might not have survived anyhow, but Emerson was in no state of mind to admit that.) Face handsomely flushed, blue eyes blazing, impressive form towering over that of the withered old American, Emerson expressed his sentiments in the ringing tones and rich vocabulary that have earned him his sobriquet of Abu Shitaim, Father of Curses. He included in them M. Maspero, the distinguished head of the Service des Antiquités. Maspero really had no choice but to accede to Davis's infuriated demand that we be barred from the Valley altogether.

There are many other sites in Luxor. Maspero offered several of them to Emerson. By that time Emerson was in such a state of fury that he rejected them all, and when we sailed from Port Said we had no idea where we would be working the following season.

It was good to be back at our English home in Kent, and I make it a point to look on the bright side, but as spring turned to summer and summer wore on, my attempts to do so failed miserably. It rained incessantly. The roses developed mildew. Rose, our admirable housekeeper, caught a nasty cold that refused to yield to treatment; she went snuffling drearily around the house, and Gargery, our butler, drove me wild with his incessant prying and his pointed hints that he be allowed to come to Egypt with us in the autumn. Emerson, sulking in his study like a gargoyle, refused to discuss our future plans. He knew he had been in the wrong but would not admit it, and his attempts to get back in my good graces had, I confess, not been well received. As a rule I welcome my husband's attentions. His thick black locks and brilliant blue eyes, his magnificent physique, and -- how shall I put it? -- the expertise with which he fulfills his marital obligations moved me as they always had; but I resented his efforts to get round me by taking advantage of my feelings instead of throwing himself on my mercy and begging forgiveness.

By the end of July, all our tempers had become strained. It continued to rain, Emerson continued to sulk, Rose continued to snuffle, and Gargery's nagging never stopped. "Oh, madam, you need me, you know you do; only see what happened last year when I was not there to look after you -- Mr. Ramses and Mr. David kidnapped and you carried off by that Master Criminal chap, and poor Abdullah murdered and -- "

"Do be quiet, Gargery!" I shouted. "I asked you to serve tea. I did not invite a lecture."

Gargery stiffened and looked down his snub nose at me. I am one of the few people who is shorter than he, and he takes full advantage. "Tea will be in shortly,madam," he said, and stalked out.

I seldom shout at the servants -- in point of fact, Gargery is the only one I do shout at. As a butler he was something of an anomaly, and his unusual talents, such as his skill at wielding a cudgel, had proved helpful to us in the past ...

Guardian of the Horizon. Copyright © by Elizabeth Peters. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Guardian of the Horizon (Amelia Peabody Series #16) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
goodwritingrules More than 1 year ago
As I settled into the comfy, posterior-shaped indention at the left end of my couch (with a genial beverage) to delve into my latest Amelia Peabody adventure, #16, Guardian Of The Horizon, its intriguing premise, a detour into the past--compliments of the mysteriously described "missing journals"-- prompted a pleasurable regression of my own. I was a teenager when I happened upon "Crocodile On The Sandbank" in my mothers' book collection and I quickly discovered it to be a new kind of reading experience-- a book that read like a deliciously humorous, romantic, action-packed matinee starring a hilariously proper and verbose spinster who wields a wicked parasol and finds love among the ruins with an accomplished, energenic, dashing-- and amusingly foul tempered-- hero whom she wins over with her fierce initiative, ratiocination and aplomb-- a fabulous read! "Crocodile" sucked me in and never quite made it back to Mom's collection. I still possess that well-read copy with its wonderful cover art. I had no idea that it was the debut of an ongoing series until years later, after marriage and mothergood gave way to an empty nest and I had time to read again. I ventured to the local bookstore, wandered down the mystery aisle and hit the mother lode! With a muted exclamation of pleasure (it was a bookstore, after all) I gathered an armful of Amelia Peabody and exited the establishment glowing with anticipation--and I've been a follower ever since. #16 follows Amelia and Co. from their English estate (having been barred from the Valley of the Kings for a season) to the far off oasis in the Sudan desert from which they'd discovered and ultimately liberated the winsome Nefret some 10 volumes ago. The journey is the result of an appearance by a mysterious young stranger who comes to them with stories of illness and unrest at that yet untouched, undiscovered society and causes them to set out across the forbidding sands once again, accompanied by their engaging foreman Selim and his placid brother Daoud. The Emersons mount well-scrubbed camels and eventually arrive at the hidden city whereupon Nefret is compelled to resume her role as High Priestess and the Emersons endeavor to out-maneuver, outwit and outlast those in power in order free her and restore a rightful king to his throne. This refreshing leap into the past does not precede the advent of Manuscript H (my boy, though you're the J. Bond of the middle east you'd benefit from a soupcon of your mother's jocularity), but it does catch the Emerson clan prior to the appearance of grandchildren whom, though anticipated and welcome, lack the entertainment value of their elders. I'm left to wonder-- will ongoing marital bliss (and parenthood) render Ramses and Nefret a bit more chucklicious? Will the grandchildren prove chips off virtually incomparible blocks? Will there be more brindled cats? Good Gad-- I can't wait to find out!!
justmarsha More than 1 year ago
Highly always with the Amelia Peabody Series there is wit, romance and adventure true to form. Loved it...not so crazy about #18 tho....
xyz47 More than 1 year ago
This series is enjoyable. The book is #16 and follows the pattern of the other books. Light reading.
tuggytoot More than 1 year ago
I've read the series 3 times and will read it again in another year or so.
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AnneAR More than 1 year ago
As usual, Elizabeth Peters has given us more insight into her family. I especially enjoy getting to know the grandchildren. Too bad she didn't keep the series going by writing about them as adults. I really dread getting to the last book in the series. Every book in the series is a delight and definitely worth the time.
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Bmerbeth More than 1 year ago
If you have ever been to Egypt or would like to go to Egypt, this is the series for you. Amelia Peabody is a wonderful woman, and you get swept away in her world. You would like you were there with her. If I were to read the series again, which I just might I would get the compendium that is a companion piece to the series for even more enjoyment. You certainly don't have to but it brings even more of the story to a wonderful vision of sights, smells and sounds of early excavating and how much the British had played in the part of what we now know about these antiquities, and why so much of the treasures are in the British Museum. Couple this with the fact that she is great Sherlock Holmes, has wonderful adversaries, and throw in a couple of Mummies for good measure and you are off on a great adventure. I liked the books when Ramses their son was involved the best. I think he comes in on about the 3rd book in the series. One of my all time favorites is The Last Camel died at Noon. You can start anywhere in the series actually in the first 8 books, and catch up as the series goes back and forth through time. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
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It's amazing how Elizabeth Peters can take you back in time and still have you guessing what will happen to the Emerson family. This book was an absolutely incredible! I'm a avid reader of the Amelia Peabody Series and truly enjoyed reading this book.
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Confutatus More than 1 year ago
The characters in an Elizabeth Peters book are always going to be interesting, charismatic, mysterious,and romantic. The central character Peabody, as her self centered and stubborn but loveable husband calls her, is the main character as well as the story teller. The stories always in volve some shady characters, especially when they get to Egypt and a coterie of "stand up" long term friends as well as an equal number of enemies and potential threats to their lives. The writer gives a very vivid picture of the times and the social mores of the times quite honestly. The Book is a quick read and an enjoyable one. I have learned quite a bit about ancient Egypt and it environs from the information supplied by Ms. Peters and that is one of the reasons I generally pick up one or two of her books when I"m at Barnes and Noble. Buy em, read em and love em. Trust me, you'll get hooked. confutatus
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm making my way thru the series. Love the Peabody character since I was given one of the books as a gift. still have quite a few to get thru.