36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Elizabeth Peters has been gathering and developing her characters in masterful ways for some time in the wonderful Amelia Peabody series. In Lord of the Silent, Ms. Peters reaps a rich harvest from that preparation in order to provide the richest fabric ever of plot and suspense in the series.
Lord of the Silent is very much part two of a series that Ms. Peters is writing about World War I. I strongly urge you to read He Shall Thunder from the Sky (this book's immediate predecessor) before reading Lord of the Silent. The plots and characters of the two books are so intertwined that you will not appreciate and enjoy Lord of the Silent nearly as much without having read He Shall Thunder from the Sky.
The book opens with vivid scenes from war-time England. Zeppelin raids on London create fear that foreshadows the massive Battle of Britain in World War II. This sets a somber mood of uncontrollable threat for the whole book that is admirably suspenseful. You will wonder when the next bomb might burst. In many ways, the plot's complications are like the effects of a random bombardment . . . bringing danger, fear, discomfort, and damage.
The whole family is in England in 1915. Because of the war, English people cannot cross the continent for travel to Egypt. Ocean-going vessels are the only choice. But submarine warfare is a danger, and neutral liners (like the Lusitania) have been sunk. Should they take the risk and go to Egypt? Who should go? The book opens with these pressing questions. What would you have done?
Part of the family does make it to Egypt, and find a land transformed by the distant war. The hospitals are full of injured soldiers from the disastrous Gallipoli campaign. There are rumors of uprisings among the Bedouins in the desert that are encouraged by the Turks and Germans. Many old friends are missing for the duration because they are from enemy countries. Thieves are opening unprotected sites and taking away priceless archeological relics. Graffiti is appearing in the most unexpected places.
Professor Emerson is focusing his attention on some noble tombs (mastabas) that Amelia finds absolutely boring. She yearns for a pyramid. Soon, events intervene to make life seem rather too exciting. Can she keep her family safe?
The plot is nicely changed by having Ramses and Nefret as husband and wife. Although they still hide things from one another, they do less of that. As a result, you have a better balance between the professor and Amelia keeping secrets from the younger Emersons and vice versa. This makes for a smoother, faster-paced, and more interesting plot.
As usual though, if everyone had told everyone else what they knew, the whole problem could have been resolved in about one-third of the time. But that's the way people really are, so you won't mind it at all. They are just trying to protect their loved ones.
Sennia (aged 6) plays a bigger role in this story. She shows signs of having great potential as a character in the future. Adding a third generation to the story gives the plot much more diversity that you will enjoy.
The classic plot elements of an Amelia Peabody novel are all here: Amelia fighting off attackers, unexpected bodies, hidden treasure, red herrings, Nefret healing people, mysterious manipulations from a distance, Ramses operating in disguise, after-dark trips into the native Egyptian areas, officials complicating matters, nosy females who are attracted to the Emerson men, men who are attracted to the Emerson women, help from Abdullah's family, and a prophetic dream of meeting with Abdullah. Everything you have enjoyed in the past, you will find in this book . . . except more of it.
The book's title is a reference to the description of Amon, king of the gods, who was described as Lord of the Silent. Here are some of his other characteristics:
"who comes at the voice of the poor . . .
who gives bread to him who has none . . .
father of the orphan, husband of the widow . . . ."
Most importantly, "though the servant offends him, he is merciful."
Even more than usual, the Emersons play a role that reflects an Egyptian deity, as they succor all they find.
After you read this wonderful book, I suggest that you discuss with your family the issues raised here about when communication and when silence are the best ways to help one another. By learning from the examples in the book, I suggest that you err on the side of too much communication.
Expand your horizons and your relationships as Amon and Amelia Peabody would . . . especially in dangerous times and places!
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Amelia Peabody, her husband Emerson, son Ramses, his wife Nefret, and the usual host of odd friends and enemies (both British and Egyptian) are back in this World War I dated mystery.
Someone has restarted the tome robbings that Sethos had dominated. This is clearly intolerable, but is it connected with the strange set of attacks that disrupts the Peabody-Emerson clan's lives. Amelia arranges to send Ramses away to keep him safe, but he seems to end up in even more danger--and so does Amelia. At least arch-enemy Sethos is dead--or is he???
If you like this series (as I do), then celebrate. This is an excellent addition--possibly better than HE SHALL THUNDER IN THE SKY. If you haven't discovered it, then give it a try. The combination of Egyptian archeology, murder, and World War I spying makes for an exciting read.
The strength of this novel comes only partly from the plot and action. Author Elizabeth Peters obviously loves her characters--and the reader is likely to love them as well. Opinionated, quirky, and laced with post-Victorian manners and clever dialogue, Amelia, Emerson, Ramses, and the rest make you want to keep turning the pages.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
In 1915, archeologist Amelia Peabody returns to Cairo for the season accompanied by her spouse Emerson, their son Ramses, and his wife Nefret. Amelia quickly realizes that the charm of the city has been muted by the arrival of European agents from both camps and blatant tomb robbers. Still Luxor is so out of the way, Amelia expects a serene dignified dig.
However, her dreams of quiet success turn nightmarish when Amelia finds a corpse that requires law enforcement to date the homicide. As the war heats up in Northern Africa, the murder count rises too. Amelia, worrying about the killer striking again, begins her brand of sleuthing to uncover the identity of the culprit before her family is harmed.
The latest Amelia Peabody historical mystery contains all the elements that make this series such a delight. The who-done-is cleverly devised and the glimpses at Egyptology through a historiographer's eyes are intelligently used to foster the feel of the times (along with World War I) without slowing down the plot. Still, the tale belongs to the intrepid Amelia who may suffer perils like a Pauline, but rescues herself and others rather than wait for the handsome hero to arrive. Somewhat a witty satire, LORD OF SILENT is a fabulous novel that will add to the reputation of excellence sub-genre fans and critics have bestowed on author Elizabeth Peters.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2001
I think that Elizabeth Peters has outdone herself with this latest Amelia Peabody mystery -- "Lord Of The Silent" definitely makes for compelling reading, and I for one could not put this novel down! The story flowed smoothly and effortlessly from subplot to subplot, and the air of suspense and tension was steadily sustained. All the characters, old favourites and a couple of new ones, were all well depicted and fleshed out; and best of all, Elizabeth Peters had set up a couple of red herring suspects, so that the mystery addict in me was happily occupied trying to figure out who the real culprit was!
"The Lord of The Silent" takes place during WWI, but not even the chaos of a war can keep the Emersons away from their dig in Egypt. Complications however arise when Ramses is attacked within days of their arrival. His spying activities for the British government (faithfully recounted in "He Shall Thunder In the Sky") has earned him enemies from a rather rabid and fanatical rebel faction, and it looks as if the remaining members of this faction are now after him. Concerned for his safety, Amelia and Emerson send Ramses and his wife, Nefret, to Luxor: apparently all the chaos that the war has generated has caused gangs of thieves to be even more bold than usual in their pilfering of archaeological finds. Emerson's plan is to have Ramses keep an eye on his interests in Luxor and investigate whatever theft may arise, and so keep him out of harm's way, while Amelia and Emerson look into the matter of who exactly is after Ramses and how to stop these murderous
attacks. However this proves not to be as easy as they had hoped when first
they themselves are assaulted, and then they uncover a fresh 'corpse' in the
burial tomb that they are escavating. Someone is obviously sending a message,
but what? Ramses and Nefret are in the meantime hot on the trail of a thief
that proves to be ruthless and deadly. Tension mounts as both couples find
themselves dealing with ruthless individuals that will stop at nothing to get
what they want.
Make no mistake about it "The Lord Of The Silent" makes for addicting and compulsive reading. Elizabeth Peters is a masterful story teller, as with a few well chosen phrases, she managed to successfully transport me to Egypt in the 1910s with it's half excavated digs, with all it's tombs and pyramids, the Sphinx, and Cairo with its very European hotels and its dark and labyrinth like alley ways -- all these unfolded in my mind like an old movie. It was wonderful to see Amelia and Emerson still happily and vigorously doing what they loved best; and it was satisfying to read of Ramses and Nefret's new found happiness in each other; and it made for amusing reading to see Sennia, the little girl that the Emersons adopted in "He Shall Thunder In The Sky" consciously molding herself after her idol, Ramses. I also developed quite soft spot for the journalist, Margaret Minton., and I sincerely hope that she will figure in further Amelia Peabody mysteries.
This latest Amelia Peabody mystery is an exciting addition to a really wonderful series that keeps getting better and better, and I think that this latest adventure/novel deserves a lot more than a 5 star rating. I only wish that there was some way in which I could register this!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2002
I preordered this book from amazon last year, and eagerly checked my mail every day for the follow-up to the spectacular, He Who Thunders. That book had been the culmination of so many great storylines, and featured some of the best Amelia-Ramses scenes to date. I was only afraid that the series would end there.
Now I wish it had. I'm writing this review a year later because it has taken me that long to finish the dull Lord of the Silent. I'd pick it up and start again every few months, but was so disappointed that I inevitably tossed it back on the shelf. It's only the upcoming release of the next book in the series that finally spurred me on to read it (and also the fact that Anne Perry has produced a great Pitt mystery after a few lackluster entries).
So why didn't I like it? Part of it was a nothing plot. But some past books in the series had slightly boring mysteries, and yet I never minded before because of how much I love these characters.
No, the problem can be summed up in one word -- Nefret. I always wanted her and Ramses to get together for his sake, but until Amelia was shoved to the background to flesh out R&N's relationship more fully, I never appreciated how uninteresting she is as a character. With Nefret taking center stage, there is much melodrama, and less of the self-aware, tongue in cheek quality that have always elevated Ramses' and Amelia's narratives.
Plus, I'm not a fan of having the family separated. More solidarity.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2001
Although Lord of the Silent is an interesting and worthy addition to the Amelia Peabody series, I found it not as good as her previous novels. This is the 13th book in the series.
In this addition, Ramses (son of the main character) and Nefret (former ward and the victory spoils of "The Last Camel Died at Noon") are finally married and living together after a whole lot of bad luck. I found this limited the adventure with the Emerson family "separated". Now different halves of the family learn things beneficial to the other side and don't tell them about it.
WWI is still raging during Lord of the Silent but it is not portrayed as up front as He Shall Thunder in the Sky. Archaeology is once again surfacing as the main "subject", in addition to various occurences involving the theft of artifacts and the blackmarket.
Overall I enjoyed Lord of the Silent but would not give it 5 stars because Elizabeth Peters' last book was superb while this was only great.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2001
As a member of MPM's big, happy family, I was ecstatic when Lord of the Silent finally hit the shelves. Ever since Nefret signed her last letter "Nefret Emerson", I have been waiting on pins and needles for this release. And I was graciously rewarded with another masterpiece of romantic suspense. Lord of the Silent has all the qualities of a thrilling Peabody mystery. And now we have been assured that the excitement doesn't have to end just because Amelia and Emerson are getting on in age. The younger generation, just as humorous, exciting, and lovable, are carrying the Egyptological torch. I was so thankful that she brought back one of the most intriguing characters of the series. (If you've already read it, you know of whom i speak.) And after surviving malaria and a few battles, I look forward to seeing him in many books to come! If you aren't already on the Amelia Peabody bandwagon, do yourself a favor and jump on! You definitely won't regret it!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2002
I thoroughly enjoyed "The Lord of the Silent." The Emersons are in excellent form, getting in each other's way as they each try to solve everything themselves. Once again, no one can resist dabbling in the war or pursuing some highly effective tomb robbers, although they all disclaim loudly. As has become usual, the Emersons senior are "protecting" the Emersons younger, and vice-versa. Not surprisingly, important information is not shared, nearly (but of course, not quite) leading to disaster. Ramses and Nefret's encounters with a Master Cr-, uh, Spy are priceless, especially after Amelia gets into the picture. The plot twists and turns until the reader is quite dizzy. I confess to having dipped into the end of the book a bit early, just trying to keep my head on straight!
I am very enthused about the next generation of Emersons, now that they're all grown up. Ramses, Nefret, and David are every bit as fun as Amelia and Emerson. Ramses, at least, was a bit annoying as a child, as I suppose most prodigies are. Thank goodness he turned out so well! The threesome live up to their elders' adventurous natures in every way. If they aren't dressing in horrible rags and infiltrating the Egyptian underworld, they are rescuing each other or being rescued from dire peril. I do think its rather sad that poor Lia doesn't get to do more. Maybe someday! I like the literary device of including letters and journals expressing different characters' points of view - very enlightening! I hope Ms. Peters keeps writing about the Emersons' descendants until she brings the clan into the 20th century!
(If you don't mind, I'm going to climb onto my soapbox now. I won't mind if you skip this part.) Speaking of modern times, one of the things I really like about Peters is how she handles the "questions of the day" in this series. In this book alone, she reflects on war and pacifism, women's rights, the destruction of priceless artifacts by unscrupulous treasure hunters, and the mistreatment of Egyptian natives by the British government (and all the other Western powers). The wonderful thing is, Peters uses only what is necessary to the plot, so she rarely comes across as heavy handed. What I really like is that she tells it like it was, and lets her characters' disapproval express her opinion. Too many historical writers just force 20th century thought on a decidedly non-20th century civilization.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2001
A new Elizabeth Peters' novel is just the thing to make the summer perfect. The Lord of the Silent, the latest in the Amelia Peabody series, marks a return to the action and romance of the original stories. Adventure is laced with humor. The newlyweds provide the romance. Amelia and Emerson track criminals. The humor grows out of the three generations attempting to understand each other. The plot is complex. Old enemies resurface. Tombs are robbed. Spies unmasked. Family members abducted. Treasure discovered. Nail biting escapes carried off just in the nick of time. I was hooked from the first page. I think it is one of the best of the series. I highly recommend it
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2001
I ordered this book on Monday (Apr. 30), received it on Thursday, and have it half-read this Friday evening. All right, so I'm hooked. Blame my Egyptophiliac (-maniac?) daughter - she started it!
This book is, as my heading suggests, another delightful escapade with the Emersons (and their ever-increasing entourage) in Egypt. An esteemed raconteur with a knack for giving readers a smashing good read (and that is, after all, what mystery/adventure readers want, isn't it?), Elizabeth Peters has produced another brilliantly enjoyable book.
The Emersons are still conducting their yearly expeditions to Egypt, despite the War; to quote Emerson, archaeology is more important than war, "of course." And Ramses and Nefret are married, as readers of He Shall Thunder in the Sky will know - and everyone always suspected. But all definite familiarities aside, there are several plot twists, including the return of certain person(s) who seem to have an aptitude for regeneration (wonder if he/she/it is a cat?!). I shan't say any more about that, however, as it would certainly spoil the surprise.
Filled with bewitching characters, sparkling dialogue, and the usual swashbuckling, rollicking mix of adventure, scholasticism, and romance, 'Lord of the Silent' is definitely a book to get lost in.
In fact, there's only one flaw with the Peabody Mystery Series: when's the next one coming out??