Maybe even the best mystery series poop out after a while, and perhaps this one desperately needs Abdullah -- alive, not in the occasional dream. I won't bother to explain why I found the first half of this book as eye-glazingly tedious as an issue of GOOD HOUSEBREAKING, since several other reviewers have done that. One of Amelia's most endearing qualities has always been her eccentric attitude toward motherhood and children. Sometimes she reminded me of a female W.C. Fields.
We could have used a lot more of that refreshing sarcasm in CHILDREN OF THE STORM, especially during the genealogically bewildering and slow-moving first part. Since Peters is technically a good writer, the second half moved a little better -- but it never came close to the wit and magic and fine character development of the first Peabody story, CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK, which, after ten or more re-readings, still makes me cheer the heroes. Even so, despite the excellence of the first book, the series kept getting more and more delicious until its high point in the grand H. Rider Haggard pastiche, THE LAST CAMEL DIED AT NOON, which had me rolling on the floor with laughter and bug-eyed from all the cliff-hanging thrills. Since then -- especially since Abdullah's death -- there's been so much soap opera you have to run to escape drowning in the frothy bubbles. Making Sethos into a hero and a family member was as big a mistake as THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK turning Darth Vader into Luke's Sweet Li'l Ole Reedemable Daddy. And just about as convincing.
I was especially disappointed in this book, though, and can't imagine how a new reader of the series could have tolerated it for ten minutes. Leave the kiddies in England, Amelia, and let's have more of your tomb-crawling and umbrella-bashing.