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The Falcon at the Portal (Amelia Peabody, Book 11) Mass Market Paperback – Print, April 4, 2000

Book 11 of 19 in the Amelia Peabody Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"'Really,' I thought in mounting exasperation, 'there never was a household in which so many people felt free to offer their unsolicited opinions!'" This, of course, is the eminent Egyptologist and dedicated crime solver Amelia Peabody, setting the stage and the tone (an updated Oscar Wildean irony) for Elizabeth Peters's 11th book. And it's true that there are no shrinking violets in this particular household, from the redoubtable Amelia and her hot-tempered archaeologist husband Emerson (his native diggers call him the Father of Curses), to their dashing, unpredictable son Ramses (born Walter). Also, let's not forget their lovely ward, Nefret (rescued from a desert tribe several books back), and their butler, Gargery, "who wields a cudgel as handily as he carves a roast."

As she has so many times before, Peters presents us with this quaint--even campy--little group of people, plops them down in an exotic Egyptian setting, and then surprises us by involving them in a story of great strength and emotion.

It's 1911, and David Todros, a young Egyptian who has just married into the Peabody family, is suspected of dealing in forged antiquities, possibly to help support a rising nationalist movement. Amelia, Emerson, Ramses, and Nefret all take various actions to help David, and there are serious, dangerous consequences for everyone involved. Despite the melodramatic setting and the theatrical language, Peters's story is--as always--modern, believable, and exciting.

Other books in the Peabody series available in paperback are The Ape Who Guards the Balance, The Crocodile on the Sandbank, The Curse of the Pharaohs, and The Hippopotamus Pool. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Fake artifacts, dead bodies, and a mysterious child demand Amelia Peabody's attention in her latest.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"The Evening Chorus" by Helen Humphreys
From a writer of delicate and incandescent prose, "The Evening Chorus" offers a beautiful, spare examination of the natural world and the human heart. See more

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (April 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380798573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380798575
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,220,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ELIZABETH PETERS, whose New York Times best-selling novels are often set against historical backdrops, earned a Ph.D. in Egyptology at the University of Chicago. She also writes best-selling books under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels. She lives in Frederick, Maryland.

Customer Reviews

I can hardly wait to read the next book in this wonderful series.
S. Schwartz
Brilliant writing, great fun, and deeper (and, yes, darker) than most of the series, this is a *terrific* book, and I await the next in happy anticipation.
Elizabeth Kerner
It seems like the loose ends were greater in the family drama at the end of the book than they were at the beginning.
Donald Mitchell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
When I finally got my hands on The Falcon At The Portal, I felt the familiar rise of Petersonian fever. I let the house go hang, sent the children out to play in the traffic, and immersed myself in the delights of Amelia Peabody and company. What followed was satisfying and surprising. Unlike most mysteries, the latest offerings in this series seem to be more character driven than story driven. The relationships among some of the main characters have become excruciatingly complicated, but in ways I never could have imagined after reading the preceeding book. Peters generates considerable heat between Ramses and Nefret. The passionate, loving and devoted marriage of Amelia and Emerson remains comfortingly central to the action. A crucial new character is introduced, cousin Percy is resurrected, and Abdullah is mourned on every page. The mystery is tidily wrapped up at the end of the book, but personal loose ends are left floating everywhere. If Ms. Peters insists on writing cliff-hangers, it is my fervent hope that she is eating properly, getting regular check-ups, and looking both ways before she crosses the street! I eagerly await the next installment.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Kerner on December 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In Falcon at the Portal, Elizabeth Peters goes far more deeply than ever before into the emotional lives of all of her characters. From the lovely evocative dreams that Amelia has of Abdullah, to the sheer passion that possesses Ramses, Peters lets us see and feel with her characters more surely than ever before, while not losing a jot of the usual madness that surrounds the Emersons every season - forged antiquities, doubts being cast on family members, and more than a few completely unexpected plot twists, turns and in fact revolutions! Brilliant writing, great fun, and deeper (and, yes, darker) than most of the series, this is a *terrific* book, and I await the next in happy anticipation. Peters is a splendid writer, long may she wave!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I adore the Amelia Peabody novels because they are so unlike any other mystery series. First, the bulk of the time is spent on archeological digs pursuing important scholarship in Egypt. Second, the characters are so outrageously original (Amelia is an early 20th century Wonder Woman who passionately craves her husband, Emerson is a steam boiler always about to go off on some emotional tangent or other, Ramses is a mixture of Oliver Twist and Super Boy, Nefret is Elizabeth Taylor in Dr. Florence Nightingale's role -- you get the idea). Third, the plots always involve lots of local history and interesting perspectives on manners of the period. Fourth, the whole crew is always off on some unexpected adventure or other. I often wonder how any of them ever sleep, between their day-time adventures and the clandestine night-time ones. It makes me tired just to think about them.
The characters have really grown on me. This is one of the few series I have read where the characters are probably the main attraction. The Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout have a similar attraction for me.
In this book (as in the recent ones), the action revolves around tensions among the family members. Clearly, everyone wants more psycholoical space, but the others good-heartedly want to look out for each other and impinge on that space. One would think these characters had read Freud.
Two characteristics of this book bothered me. It seems like the loose ends were greater in the family drama at the end of the book than they were at the beginning. I don't mind if Elizabeth Peters is going to do that, but she should bring out two books at the same time when she does so we are not left waiting so long for the resolution.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I NEVER buy hardcover books. However, I read the reviews and as a lover of E.Peters I had to read the book for myself. I bought it intending to read it and return it for a refund....needless to say, I changed my mind and will have to keep the book. I have always rooted for Nefret and Ramses, and this book made me want them together even more. I agree that Nefret acted out of character, but I trust that these actions will be explained in the next book, which I am eagerly awaiting. I loved the addition of Sennia despite the trouble she caused. To those who called the book melodramatic: what did you expect from the Peabody-Emersons? The melodrama is what I love about this series. Still, this novel is more a tragedy (or as much a tragedy as an Amelia mystery can be), because it ends on such a low point. I thought the mention of Nefret's dreams was intriguing, and I am hoping they will be mentioned more in the next book. I also liked Amelia's Abdulla dreams; he was a wonderful character and I am glad that he hasn't entirely disappeared from the series. I can't wait for the next! I will probably have to buy that one in hardcover, too. Luckily they are worth the money!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By pdeel on May 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My husband and I are avid "groupies" of Amelia Peabody & Company. The Falcon at the Portal was by far our favorite. Yes we were disappointed that Nefret was not destined for Rameses in the true Victorian sense (after all Amelia thrives on Victorian values does she not?). And yes we were disappointed when the book ended with no hint of Nefret's future...BUT this book of all the others drew us in so closely to what was taking place that we were emotionally tied to the two and felt true loss for Ramses...now that's what a good story should do! At the conclusion, although we were left hanging, we snapped out of it and ran to the computer to see if a sequel was available. What a relief it was to see that, yes indeed, Ms. Peters had been true to her readers and provided us with yet an another opportunity to follow along with her and her family as they mature through yet another episode of life. This has made her characters much more real and endearing to us. Bravo for Ms. Peters! We are looking forward to walking through the rest of lives with Amelia, Emerson and the rest of Amelia Peabody and Company!
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