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Old 05-20-2011, 07:08 AM   #9458
ATDrake
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Finished the final 5 Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters.

For awhile, it looked like they were getting back to being plain old Egyptian archaeological-related murder mysteries (with increasingly sprawling family saga and occasional flashback adventure).

But then they kind of went back to being secret undercover part-time espionage/political thrillers and the most recent one, A River in the Sky, isn't even really Egyptological at all, but has the Peabody-Emersons retroactively exploring biblical sites in Palestine in a mildly Da Vinci Code-esque secret artifact/secret society conspiracy sort of way.

Oh well, whatever makes the octogenarian author money, I guess.

I did quite like The Guardian on the Horizon, which is one of the retro books slotted into the chronology and nicely follows up on and answers a number of questions left dangling from The Last Camel Died at Noon, a previous novel which made major changes to the status quo.

And I enjoyed the "modern" The Serpent on the Crown, which was a nice, classic artifact-related murder mystery of the type that I'd been expecting when I first started reading these things. Plus it had one of Emerson's famous exorcisms, which are always enjoyable*.

It's weird what you notice when you read these things all at once. Over the course of the last batch of books, Amelia seems to have gotten a lot more religious, with many more biblical references and overt mentions of Christianity. Not that she hasn't always been kind of moralizing, but previously it was done mainly in a non-denominational kind of way, and related to charity to the poor, decent treatment of animals, and improving the plight of women and downtrodden natives.

And I think I've picked up on what's supposed to be a hinted connection to the Vicky Bliss books (besides the Queen Tetisheri artifacts), with the "Master Criminal" (and Master of Disguise) in charge of a network of thieves and forgers of historical artifacts having semi-settled part-time at a residence in Cornwall, which perhaps-not-so-coincidentally happens to be where an adept-at-disguise-and-theft-and-replacement-of-historical-artifacts-with-forgeries happens to hail from.

Ancestor or mentor, who knows? Possibly future books will do some more hinting, although Wikipedia† says that future Peabody books will be more retro-adventures rather than continuing with the latest established timeline.

On the one hand, it'll be nice not to have to read too many words regarding the escapades of the third generation of inordinately precocious offspring with idiosyncratic speech habits and likely to be day-saving habits.

On the other hand, that probably means there'll be even more retro-angst of the second generation's will-they-won't-they Like Totally Destined True Love If They Weren't So Stubborn About Admitting Their Feelings Outside of Extended Musings in the Narrative Text Now Shut Up And Get A Room Already relationship drama.

The point is probably moot anyway, considering the 4-year publishing gap between the most recent two books. And I admit to a minor schadenfreude over the inordinately precocious and rather annoying day-saving former child's getting the curse of "may you have children who are exactly like you". Ahahahaha…

Moderate recommend. At this point, the books are a fairly sprawling multi-generational saga full of references to (and spoilers for) previous books that make them not really standalone. And the previous books tended not to be as well-written. But still a rather entertaining read if you've become familiar with the background and the characters and know what you're getting into.

* And very rarely depicted, despite the fact that the books go on about how famous they are; I think this is at most the third in the series, out of 19 books so far.

† [Citation needed].
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