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    Review of TOMB OF THE GOLDEN BIRD by Elizabeth Peters (see her website)


    William Morrow, April 2006

    It's 1922. World War I is over and archeology season in Egypt is in full force and Howard Carter decides to have one more go at finding a major tomb--possibly because Emerson pushed too hard for him to abandon and leave the franchise for Emerson to explore. What he discovers is one of the great finds of all time--Tutankhamon's tomb. Although Tutankhamon's tomb had been robbed, the thieves were far less successful than with other tombs, leaving countless treasures behind. Unfortunately, modern tomb raiders were unlikely to be as limited and when Emerson and Amelia Peabody catch Carter robbing his own dig, they are quickly declared unwelcome, having to watch from a distance as one of the great archeological discoveries is gradually uncovered.

    Although World War I is over, the middle east remains in turmoil. Super-spy Sethos has come across a code that may point at some conspiracy that crosses from Iraq and Arabia to Egypt. A series of low-level threats keeps Amelia and her family on the edge. Meanwhile, Amelia's continual match-making seems finally to be frustrated. Sethos (Amelia's brother-in-law) can't seem to regain his wife's trust and Bertie remains besotted by the beautiful Jumana, but Jumana seems to have time for every man but him.

    Author Elizabeth Peters (see more reviews of mysteries by Peters) continues her Amelia Peabody saga into a world disturbingly similar to our own, with imperialistic interests both battling and co-opting local nationalists. The discovery of the Tutankhamon tomb takes second place to the activities of the Emerson/Peabody family, as growing grand-children add both complexities and delights to both Emerson and Amelia. Fortunately, both are healthy enough to continue to enjoy their own company as well as that of their extended family.

    TOMB OF THE GOLDEN BIRD lacks the sense of danger and adventure that fills the best of the Amelia Peabody stories. Although she remains active, Amelia is growing older and, perhaps, slowing down. Sethos, too, has gone from a figure of danger and mystery to a man suffering from malaria and love. Still, BIRD has plenty of moments of fun and portrays a fascinating time in history--both for its archeological importance and because of the upheaval in the middle east--an upheaval kicked off by the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I that continues to this day.

    Fans of the series will definitely welcome this addition to the Amelia Peabody story.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 9/16/06

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