Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Last Camel Died at Noon by Elizabeth Peters

The acclaimed author of Naked Once More and Deeds of the Disturber presents a marvellous new novel, starring her most popular heroine, Amelia Peabody, the 19th century Egyptologist.

Amelia and her dashing husband Emerson set off for a promising archaeological site in the Sudan, only to be unwillingly drawn into the search for an African explorer and his young bride, gone missing for twelve years.

Barely surviving the rigours of the desert, the deaths of their camels, and the abandonment of their guides, they suddenly find themselves prisoners in the midst of a lost city and civilization. Amelia and Emerson must make the most of this explosive situation, accumulating archaeological coups while doing their best to rescue the innocent...and themselves.

Dear reader (or so Amelia would begin if she were the one writing this review!). It's probably not an overstatement to say that this is rapidly becoming one of my favourite series, and this sixth entry in the series is definitely very entertaining. The books are chock full of adventure and humour, and in this one we even have a different location...a lost civilization in the Sudan.

Amelia and Emerson are approached by strangers, they are told the remarkable story that the well known explorer Willoughby Forth, who was thought to be have killed 12 years ago, is actually alive in the Sudan. When they are asked to help find him and his young wife, they are not going to get involved...but Amelia and Emerson being who they are, they soon find themselves embroiled in the mystery!

Along the way, Amelia nearly dies, Ramses disappears, a new King is crowned in a secret civilization, a mystery is solved and a key character is introduced to the series. I think that this may well be one of my favourites so far. We are taken into a secret city hidden in the mountains of Sudan, and the descriptions of the secret world and it's traditions are so vivid that you really do feel as though you are there with them.

The other thing that was really well done in this book was the identity of the bad guys - there were two brothers and the question of which of them was the friend and which was the foe was kept going until about three quarters of the way through the book and maintained in a quite convincing way! There were as many twists and turns in this novel as there were in the tunnels that led to the secret chambers described in the book!

Amelia continues to get all steamed up at the mere thought of her loving husband and their sense of fun and togetherness is very endearing - of course, the less said about that kind of thing the better (they are after all living in the Victorian age!).

A very entertaining 4.5/5

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  1. I think this one was the first book I read in the series, way back when, and it inspired me to pick up any book I saw written by Peters. It's not my favourite of the series, but it's a sentimental favourite, if that makes sense.

  2. I need to get back to this series. I first picked up one really late in the series (Guardians of the something, I think?) and went back and got the first one. Amelia is such a delightful character.

  3. I've only read 2 in this series, but enjoyed them immensely. Looks like I'm going to have to buy a few, becuase my library does have the 3rd and 4th. Loved "Naked Once More" - that was the 1st Peter's I read.