Friday, March 9, 2012
The last camel is dead, and Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, her dashing husband, Emerson, and precocious son, Ramses, are in dire straits on the sun-scorched desert sands. Months before, back in cool, green England, Viscount Blacktower had approached them to find his son and his son's new bride, who have been missing in war-torn Sudan for over a decade. An enigmatic message scrawled on papyrus and a cryptic map had been delivered to Blacktower, awakening his hope that the couple was still alive. Neither Amelia nor Emerson believe the message is authentic, but the treasure map proves an irresistible temptation. Now, deep in Nubia's vast wasteland, they discover too late how much treachery is afoot (and on camelback)...and survival depends on Amelia's solving a mystery as old as ancient Egypt and as timeless as greed and revenge.
On audio, this (to me) wasn't quite as good as the previous installments in the Amelia Peabody mysteries. Nothing against Barbara Rosenblat, who (as usual) does a fantastic job with narration. She is beyond compare. But in this, Book 6 of the series, the Emersons find themselves in the Sudan this time. Excavating the usual sort of antiquities in the middle of nowhere, they find themselves stranded in the desert, their camels all dead, no water, no food and convinced death is near. Yet, they are rescued. Where are they? When they awake from their stupor of dehydration, they find themselves in the lap of luxury and well cared for. But, they are essentially held prisoners in a lost kingdom, known as Holy Mountain. Stuck in the middle of a power struggle between two brothers, one of whom Emerson nicknames "Nasty"! It was more like they're stuck in the middle of a H. Rider Haggard novel, of which this is a homage (Amelia's favorite author*).
This has the usual amusing bits, but I got lost in the plot line and all the names started to sound alike after a while. Still, it had it's humorous moments, I especially enjoyed Amelia's meeting of Blacktower. Also, his grandson's name is a hoot - Reginald Forth-Wright! I admit, these books are endearing to me, although this one was a slight departure from the norm, since they spent the majority of the time holed up in this secret kingdom.
*H. Rider Haggard wrote adventure books, King Solomon's Mines, Allan Quatermain and She, among others, which were quite popular at the end of the nineteenth century.