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    LORD OF THE SILENT by Elizabeth Peters

    William Morrow, 2001

    Amelia Peabody, her husband Emerson, son Ramses, and his wife Nefret are back in Egypt tracking down spies, killers, and thiefs who dare violate the tomes of long-dead pharaohs. In 1915, Egypt is ruled by the British but threatened by the Turks from Palestine and by Turkish sympathizers in Italian Libya to the west. Ramses had worked as a spy before (see our review of HE SHALL THUNDER IN THE SKY), but refuses to serve this time. The Germans, and their Turkish allies, have penetrated his identity. Still, almost as soon as the Peabody-Emerson family lands, Ramses is attacked.

    Amelia Peabody is her usual dominating self and Nefret has become a woman after her own heart. Although Egypt still labors under Victorian principles, Amelia and Nefret are just liberated enough to shock society. Amelia's usual tactic is to root out the enemy by exposing herself and waiting for an attack and she tries it here too, but something is different. The attacks seem just a little uncoordinated. Could it be that the death of her ancient enemy and admirer has put a damper on Egyptian grave robbers? Or could it be that Sethos has returned from the dead?

    If you love the Peabody-Emerson series, you're in for a treat. Amelia is her usual dominating self, Ramses is not quite so silent now that he has finally persuaded Nefret to marry him, and the family is surrounded by a mob of richly drawn Egyptian and English characters. Brief asides on the battle at Galopoli (a particularly stupid British invasion of Turkey which killed the flower of Australian and New Zealand's armies in a recreation of the trench warfare then taking place in France), and on the mounting threat from Libyan tribesmen add a layer of interest to the always fascinating study of archeology and Egyptology.

    Elizabeth Peters's (see other reviews of novels by this author) writing is full of witty dialogue, irrelevant observations about characters or about life in general, and the peculiar romantic attachment between Amelia, her husband Emerson, and Emerson's brother Sethos--and LORD OF THE SILENT is an excellent example of this. Readers who are looking for solid action may not find Peters's writing to their liking. For those who enjoy characters as much as the chase, LORD OF THE SILENT is a treat.

    Four Stars

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