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LORD OF THE SILENT


by Elizabeth Peters

Avon Books 2001
ISBN: 0-38-097884-9

Reviewed by Jennifer Ashley

In my review of the previous Amelia Peabody book, HE SHALL THUNDER IN THE SKY, I wondered if it would be the last in the series. The Nefret/Ramses question was resolved, and we learned the secrets of Sethos' identity and his past. The book could have easily ended the series.

But it was not to be. LORD OF THE SILENT opens one year after the close of the previous book. Nefret and Ramses, now married, and the rest of the Emerson band head out to Egypt to work in Giza. World War I still rages, and the excavation sites run by German archeologists have been redistributed to English and American teams. Because Emerson has angered almost everyone in the archeological world, he is given nothing but worked-over tombs in Giza.

Things happen almost at once, of course. The British government asks Ramses to work for them again, but he steadfastly refuses. Ramses and Nefret sail alone for the Valley of Kings for some privacy. Also, new tomb robberies have occurred in the Valley of Kings and Ramses wants to look into them.

The moment they are gone, a dead body turns up at the dig in Giza. The murdered man proves to be the second in command of the gang Ramses had infiltrated the year before. Amelia does not want to tell Ramses, fearing he will return and try to hunt down the murderers. She and Nefret keep the murder secret, but more robberies, murders, and threats occur, and a journalist from previous novels, Miss Minton, returns to hound the Emersons for information about Sethos.

This episode returns to the chaotic and hap hazardous plot threads of earlier books, but overall, I found the story a bit disappointing. It seemed as if the series could have ended, but too many people wanted the author to keep going. What to do? Bring back past characters in unbelievable ways and insert a new cute child to get into all kinds of trouble. Plots that were pretty much run into the ground in previous books are resurrected. The tragedies from the Emersons' past and the fact that World War I still goes on are pretty much ignored. A good read for revisiting the characters, but Peters has written better plots.

The series is one of my favorites, so I will willingly read more, but I hope the next installment will be a little more satisfying.

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