From Publishers Weekly
Intrepid archeologists Amelia Peabody, husband Emerson and son Ramses have shared numerous exciting adventures, but the 16th volume in MWA Grand Master Peters's bestselling series will have particular appeal for fans. The author fills in a gap in the chronological record (19071908) and revisits the hidden city of the Lost Oasis, whose discovery was recounted in The Last Camel Died at Noon
(1991). The doughty explorers, including foster daughter Nefret, who is from the Lost Oasis, heed the call of a messenger purportedly from that realm's ruler, Tarek. Peters, as her many accolades would suggest, knows precisely what she is doing as she spins a tale of romance, derring-do, bravery and, of course, deceptions, betrayals and disguises in the classic tradition of H. Rider Haggard, if with tongue often in cheek. Familiar enemies surface (bureaucrats, soldiers of fortunes, despoilers of antiquities, etc.) and dog the group as they travel by ship, boat and camel from their English home to the remote desert location that will test their mettle once again. Peters's knowledge of ancient Egypt and the excavations and desecrations that accompanied early archeological attempts in the region allow her to dress her melodrama with authentic trappings that add greatly to the enjoyment.
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In an appealing change of pace, "the Grand Dame of the Historical Mystery" steps further back in the life of parasol-wielding Amelia Peabody and her family--a time long before Ramses and Nefret got hitched and Setho's real identity was revealed. It's a mere 10 years since Emerson, Peabody, and Ramses fled the opulent City of the Holy Mountain with 13-year-old Nefret, paving the way for young Tarek to become king. Now it appears that Tarek needs their help once again, and the family, Ramses and Nefret both grown, returns to the remote "Lost Oasis," where they have long been revered--only to find themselves victims of a ruse designed to help a usurper legitimize his shaky hold on the kingdom. As usual, the Emersons, who "attract farcical situations the way sugar draws flies," have plenty of intrigue to contend with, but "proper" Amelia rises to the occasion, exercising her unusual vocabulary (rampageous, sequestrian
), her clever stratagems, and her talent for reining in her vociferous husband and her impetuous son in time to set things straight. A highly entertaining entry in a series that continues to delight. Stephanie ZvirinCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved