Morrow, Apr 2002, 25.95, 429 pp.
By the beginning of 1917, the Great War makes travel across the Mediterranean unsafe. Still, the archeologist Peabody-Emerson family journeys from England to Egypt to begin another season digging up ancient history. However, their arrival at Luxor is accompanied by the word that thieves attacked a royal tomb with one of the criminals left behind dead.
Before the matriarch Amelia Peabody Emerson can fully investigate the crime as she always does, British intelligence draft her son Ramses to work for them. They need Ramses to ascertain whether Ismail Pasha, an individual quickly rising to power in Gaza, is really Sethos his brother and a criminal. Unable to resist, the Peabody brood follows Ramses on his trek to keep him safe and to learn first hand if Sethos has surfaced.
Fans of this series will enjoy this mixing of a World War I espionage tale with a who-done-it. However, historical mystery readers will feel disappointed as the intel mission intrudes on the investigation, which is left dangling while completing the espionage assignment before the family returns to solve the murder. This leaves the audience with two distinct story lines that never merge and a feeling of a novella inset inside a historical amateur sleuth mystery. Elizabeth Peters provides a wonderful look into Egyptology during the encroachment of World War I that along with the fourteenth return of the clan will delight series fans.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner