by Elizabeth Peters
Book Eight in the Amelia Peabody series. Click here to read reviews of earlier books in the series. This review may contain spoilers for previous books in the series.
When a stranger presents Amelia and Emerson with a golden ring bearing the cartouche of a Queen Tetisheri and claims he can lead the Egyptologists to her royal tomb, the archaeologists are understandably intrigued. However, when the man dies in a horrific fit soon after this revelation, they decide that he can't be trusted. Still, the desire to uncover Tetisheri's final resting place cannot be ignored, so the Emerson family head to Thebes to begin digging. Along the way, Amelia and Emerson expose a ring of tomb robbers and antiquities forgers, fend off the advances of admirers, and rescue their son from kidnappers. It's all part of a day's work in Egypt.
This plot just felt...tired, like we've seen many of these story elements in previous volumes. The mystery itself is largely on the backburner, and had to be rushed in at the end, as if Peters suddenly remembered that she had to throw one in to meet her publishing contract. While I did enjoy certain elements, like the descriptions of how forgeries were made or the introduction of David, Ramses' new BFF who will almost certainly appear in future volumes, this book was largely a retread of themes and adventures like The Lion in the Valley.
But I do think finding a new, undiscovered tomb is far more exciting than some of the Emersons' other archeological digs – and who can resist the allure of an Egyptian queen? The descriptions of Egypt and village life were easily the best parts of the book. Also, the Emersons were as delightful as ever. Not only are Amelia and Emerson a feisty and entertaining couple, but their children Nefret and Ramses have developed into quite interesting little people, too. When the family's all together, the conversations are fantastic.
As always, Barbara Rosenblat does wonders with her amazing narration. She's truly the best thing that ever happened to this series.
2.5 out of 5 stars
To read more about The Hippopotamus Pool, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2013: World Book Night 2013
2012: Fashionista Piranha on hiatus until May 24th
2011: The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger
2010: News: British Historian Caught Trashing Rivals on Amazon
2009: The Book of Night Women by Marlon James