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    Review of GUARDIAN OF THE HORIZON by Elizabeth Peters (see her website)


    William Morrow, April 2004

    When a young man arrives in England with a tale about disease striking the Lost Oasis--a holdover of ancient Egypt in the Sudan desert, Amelia Peabody, her husband Emerson, their son Ramses, and their adoptive daughter Nefret know they must abandon their plans and go to help their friends. The task is complicated by the need for secrecy--the civilization of the Oasis would be exploited and destroyed by early 20th century imperialism. Still, Peabody, Emerson and company are nothing if not resourceful and they set off on a journey up the Nile into a part of Africa that was still (in 1908) largely unexplored.

    Their journey is complicated by what looks like sabotage and even attempts on the lives of some of their party. And when they finally arrive at the Lost Oasis, they find circumstances have changed dramatically from when they left--for the worse. Unless Amelia Peabody can come up with a plan, they may lose everything--including their much-loved daughter who also happens to be the city's chief priestess. The situation is complicated by a strange European visitor in the supposedly lost city and by Ramses' intense feelings toward Nefret--feelings that she seems incapable of recognizing and responding to.

    GUARDIAN OF THE HORIZON takes a step back from the historical sequence of the recent Amelia Peabody stories. Set before the first world war, it deals with a time before the identity of the great criminal Sethos is known and a period when Ramses is reaching his manhood and still struggling with his desire. Author Elizabeth Peters (see more reviews of novels by Peters) delivers a story that combines history, a charming lost civilization subplot, and strong humor that kept me laughing through the entire novel.

    GUARDIAN OF THE HORIZON is the real thing--Amelia Peabody with her steel parasol and healing lotions, Emerson at his most masculine, Ramses completely in love with Nefret but unsure where to go with his feelings, Sethos is usual inscrutable self, and a solid old-fashioned adventure. I did miss the Egypt archeology that usually plays a pivotal role in these stories, but not enough to stop me from completely enjoying the novel.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 3/11/04

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