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Napoleon's Pyramids Mass Market Paperback – December 26, 2007


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060848332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060848330
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 3.9 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #910,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the start of Dietrich's superb historical thriller, his swashbuckling hero, American Ethan Gage, who's living in Paris during the waning days of the French Revolution and was once apprenticed to Benjamin Franklin, wins a curious Egyptian medallion in a card game. Soon after, he's set upon by thieves, chased by the police, attacked by bandits, befriended by Gypsies, saved by a British spy and then packed off to join Napoleon's army as it embarks on its ill-fated Egyptian campaign. There the story really heats up. Once in Egypt, Gage finds himself beset by evildoers bent on stealing the mysterious medallion. As in previous novels like Hadrian's Wall and Scourge of God, Dietrich combines a likable hero surrounded by a cast of fascinating historical characters. Riveting battle scenes, scantily clad women, mathematical puzzles, mysteries of the pharaohs, reckless heroism, hairsbreadth escapes and undaunted courage add up to unbeatable adventure rivaling the exploits of George Macdonald Fraser's Harry Flashman. Readers will cheer as the indomitable Gage floats off in a runaway hot-air balloon, hard on the trail of his next exotic undertaking. Author tour. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–What if people didn't have to die…? For an individual…that would make him master of all other men. For armies, it would mean indestructibility. Dietrich takes an actual event, Napoleon's 1798 invasion of Egypt; creates an amiable protagonist in the person of American gambler/adventurer Ethan Gage; hatches a plot focused on the enduring mystery of the Egyptian pyramids; and scores with a kinetic tale that expertly combines entertainment with intelligence. Augmenting his poor pay with his luck at cards, Gage acquires an ancient gold medallion one Parisian evening. Intrigued by its indecipherable etchings, perforations, and two long arms, and suspicious of the interest expressed by Count Silano, a French-Italian aristocrat rumored to participate in the black arts, Gage keeps the artifact. This act unwittingly sets him on a perilous quest from Paris to the Egyptian desert, encountering Gypsies, Freemasons, spies, assassins, Bonaparte, land and sea battles, treachery, and love along the way. The final climactic scene within the Grand Pyramid of Giza is not to be missed, and the ending promises that Gage's adventures will continue. The Da Vinci Code comparisons may seem automatic, but similarities go only as far as seeking the solution to a historical puzzle. Dietrich's work is more cerebral while sacrificing neither suspense nor action; think Indiana Jones meets the Discovery Channel. Fans of historical fiction, action adventure, and thrillers will clamor for this one.–Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I'm a novelist and non-fiction author, with a bestselling HarperCollins series on American adventurer Ethan Gage in the Napoleonic era that has sold into 31 languages. My newest novel, another Ethan, is "The Three Emperors," available May 6, 2014. It is the seventh book in the Ethan Gage series, and follows "The Barbed Crown," published in May of 2013. The paperback version of "The Barbed Crown" will be available in May of 2014.

An upcoming nonfiction book is "The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal In the Wild Nearby," a coffee table book from Mountaineers Press. It will appear September 15, 2014.

I began my writing career as a newspaper reporter in 1973,sharing a Pulitzer at the Seattle Times for coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. I also taught for five years at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment.

I published my first non-fiction book, "The Final Forest," in 1992. It was updated in 2010 to "The Final Forest: Big Trees, Forks, and the Pacific Northwest." It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Governor Writers Award.

I followed that with "Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River," still in print.

My first novel, "Ice Reich," came in 1998 and is a World War II thriller based on a real-life Nazi expedition to Antarctica. This bestseller is still available as an ebook.

My other novels:

"Getting Back." An eco-thriller set in the Australian Outback in the near future.

"Dark Winter." A killer is on the loose among the personnel at America's South Pole base. Creepy!

"Hadrian's Wall." Love, war, and conspiracy during the late Roman Empire.

"The Scourge of God." A young couple must survive the invasion of the empire by Attila the Hun.

"Blood of the Reich." A contemporary Seattle woman sees her car blown up and learns of her horrific connection to a 70-year-old Nazi conspiracy that will take her to Tibet and Germany.

And the Ethan Gage novels:

"Napoleon's Pyramids." Our American hero accompanies Napoleon's 1798 invasion of Egypt and grapples with pyramid mysteries.

"The Rosetta Key." Ethan and his companion Astiza are caught up in Bonaparte's 1799 invasion of the Holy Land and his ascension to power in France.

"The Dakota Cipher." Norse mysteries play a role in a struggle for power on the Great Lakes frontier.

"The Barbary Pirates." Ethan and his scientist friends find an ancient super-weapon coveted by pirates who are at war with America.

"The Emerald Storm." A stolen emerald leads Ethan and his new family into peril in Haiti and the lush, perilous isles of the Caribbean.

"The Barbed Crown." Ethan finds himself a spy as Napoleon prepares to crown himself emperor and France challenges England at the naval showdown of Trafalgar.

"The Three Emperors." Seeking to reunited with Astiza and his son Harry in 1805, Ethan must survive the battle of Austerlitz and hunt down a medieval machine that can foretell the future.

Additional nonfiction includes:

"On Puget Sound." With Art Wolfe photos.

"Natural Grace." Essays on plants and animals in my native Pacific Northwest.

"Green Fire: A History of Huxley College." The nation's first dedicated environmental college.

As you can see, I'm curious about many things. I also enjoy research.

Travel for my novels has taken me to the Arctic, Antarctic, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Australia, Sicily, Greece, Paris, Britain, Hungary, Tibet...hey, someone's got to do it. I've traveled on a sailboat in the South Pacific, landed on an aircraft carrier, flown in a B-52, visited the South Pole, and been terrified flying with the Blue Angels.

As a journalist, I was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, won National Science Foundation fellowships to Antarctica, and speak frequently on environmental issues. I've covered Congress, the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the environment, science, social issues - even the military. I've traveled frequently for my writing, but live in the Pacific Northwest where I was born. I'm married, with two grown children.

I live in a house looking out at the San Juan Islands, surrounded by fir, cedar, and hemlock, and sometimes get to watch bald eagles while I'm writing. Connecting with readers is one of life's biggest thrills.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 95 customer reviews
This book doesn't even end.
E. Bonnell
The author hasn't made much effort to give you a sense of another time through the dialogue, though he works hard at the other period details.
Lev Raphael
Great read - History mixed with action adventure.
Gail Guiles Dobberthien

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Lev Raphael on February 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Here's a new throw of the thriller dice that's fairly entertaining despite its flaws. Others have praised it, so let me focus on the problems if you like books that are well-written as well as well-constructed. There's too much anachronistic writing all the way through, like mentioning that Ben Franklin liked to "party" with the ladies or having characters from late 18th century France say, "Don't even think about it!" The author hasn't made much effort to give you a sense of another time through the dialogue, though he works hard at the other period details. It's also filled with repetitious phrasing within sentences or from one to the next; a basic lack of vocabulary awareness so that there's no sense that "shinny" and "shimmy" are not the same word; and full of obvious errors. For instance, the French flag is not red, white, and blue. Then there are the too-obvious references to Indiana Jones and even The Lord of the Rings, and some action sequences that you have to re-read because the description isn't unclear. Likewise, his hero's attraction to the hotty heroine seems awkward, cooked up and a plot device. What real man says, "I'm fond of women" or "I have a weakness for women?" Maybe a type of woman, perhaps. The narrator seems to be trying to convince us that the hero is attracted to Astiza, and doesn't seem to know how to go about it, doesn't make it authentic. He should try reading some really good thrillers, like the early Ken Folletts (Lie Down with Lions, would be a good start). Overall, the writing is undistinguished and too often full of series of similarly-patterned sentences: subject, verb, direct object. And then there are the preachy long-winded stretches of expository dialogue.Read more ›
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By ellen VINE VOICE on February 24, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Imagine a young man who had worked with Benjamin Franklin - a hero who found notoriety in Paris. Ethan Gage, living in Post Revolution Paris, won a mysterious medallion during a poker game. Others in the game tried to get the medallion from Gage, but he keeps it in his possession. He's framed for a murder he didn't commit, and he runs. Ultimately to Napoleon Bonaparte's Egyptian campaign. Bonaparte is not only bringing troops to conquer the ancient land, but savants to learn and glean the knowledge of this once formidable country. Soon Gage is up to his eyeballs in danger and intruige in Egypt. He has a great sense of humor and even in the midst of danger, he says something to make you laugh.

The action is amazing - vibrant accounts of naval battles with Nelson - literally puts you there on the ship, as well as land battles. Gage seeks knowledge about the medallion and finds scholars that start him on a path that the medallion is more than a pendant, but perhaps a key to a lost society and greater knowledge. Along the way, he falls in love. The action in this book is nonstop - there is romance, historical figures vividly shown, ancient cities explored. Ethan soon finds himself in constant danger from the men who want that medallion - possibly the key to powers so great, the owner could literally rule the world.

The end seems open to a sequel, and I hope it does - this is a wonderfully presented historical, action book that you'll be begging for more after you read it. You will enjoy Napoleon's Pyramids.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Terri Rowan on June 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
William Dietrich is a historian, and it shows. There are enough dates and facts in this novel to excite any historian. Unfortunately, it also reads like a history text at times. And therein lies my problem with this book.

While the ultimate story was good, even intriguing at certain points, there were several things that put me off this book. The first was the use of first person point of view. Though not unusual, it seemed limiting and forceful in this story. I have read many books written in first person and enjoyed them, but it did not work for me in this one.

The second problem was Dietrich's tendency toward lengthy diatribes dumping dry information on the unsuspecting reader. These passages reminded me uncomfortably of a dry history lecture. I was forced to sit through them in my college years; I don't want to have to do that when reading a book for enjoyment.

The third problem for me was the ending. No, I will not reveal the outcome, but the ending chapter made it quite obvious there will be a sequel. The lack of a conclusive end is something I loathe in modern books. It is a marketing ploy thought up by bean counters. While it forces readers to purchase the next book in the series, it does not generate fans. Though the ending here was very good, it was not satisfying.

Now, all that being said, I did enjoy parts of this story. It is reminiscent of Indiana Jones stories in that it concerns an adventurous American, a mysterious medallion and a beautiful woman and is set against the mystical background of Egypt. Throw in Napoleon and his attempt to conquer Egypt and Africa and you have the basis for a good adventure.

I will honestly admit that I did enjoy the ending much more than I did the beginning.
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