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A River in the Sky: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense (Amelia Peabody Series) Mass Market Paperback – April 26, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews
Book 19 of 19 in the Amelia Peabody Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in 1910, the delightful 19th Amelia Peabody novel from bestseller Peters (after Tomb of the Golden Bird) takes Amelia and her husband, Emerson, to Palestine, where an English adventurer, George Morley, is planning to excavate Jerusalem's Temple Mount in search of the Ark of the Covenant. Gen. David Spencer, the director of Military Operations in London, suspects Morley, an amateur archeologist at best, of spying for the Germans, whose influence has been growing in the Middle East. Spencer wants Egyptologists Amelia and Emerson to stop Morley from undertaking a project sure to offend the three religious groups that consider the temple site holy. Meanwhile, son Ramses embarks on a treacherous journey to convey to his parents important information learned from two travelers he meets while on a dig in Samaria. Once again, MWA Grandmaster Peters uses vivid settings, sharp characterizations, and deft dialogue to transport the reader to another time and place. (Apr.)
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 Booklist

Peters, named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998, writes wildly popular historical mysteries about British archaeologist Amelia Peabody, who is pulled into adventures by her well-muscled (this is mentioned quite a bit) Egyptologist husband and their wayfaring son, Ramses, an Egyptian grammarian who is forever being kidnapped, pursued, or lost in tombs. Since Peters is writing today, it’s difficult to tell if her overblown style (she really does say things like “muscles rippled across the breadth of his chest”) is a nod to the period (around the turn of the last century), her own send-up of romance novels, or her baroque style. What is unfortunate is that Peters, who has a doctorate in Egyptology from the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, doesn’t do more to give readers the benefit of her broad background, other than to have the couple constantly going to Egypt on various quests that remain at the level of Raiders of the Lost Ark simplicity. In the latest Peters, the year is 1910, Ramses has disappeared yet again on a dig, and a mysterious adventurer who might be a German spy invites the Emersons (Amelia goes with) to Jerusalem on a hunt for the Ark of the Covenant. The novel moves between Amelia’s first-person narration and Ramses’ point of view (undercutting suspense over his fate). Peters’ fans, of course, find plenty to enjoy from the characters alone. This one’s for them. --Connie Fletcher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Amelia Peabody Series (Book 19)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061246271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061246272
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I read this entire book with a huge grin on my face. Amelia is back in perfect form, and so is Emerson.

This book takes place in 1910, and in the story chronology it falls between Guardian of the Horizon and Falcon at the Portal. I think Ramses is about 18 here, and you can see him in the process of becoming the man he is in later installments.

This 19th entry into the series is wonderful fun--and is concentrated on the activities of just the central members of the clan, which makes the story feel like a return to some of the earlier tales where there wasn't such an enormous cast of characters to keep track of. While I like knowing what all the various characters are up to, it's nice to focus on the main characters this time.

The Emersons manage to dominate any landscape they enter, and their excursion into the Holy Land brings in some new and interesting elements.

Fans of the Emersons will rejoice!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Elizabeth Peters for over 20 years, so the prospect of a new Amelia book is always thrilling to me. I was admittedly a bit disappointed in the last book in the series, which, though wonderfully written, was really more of a tribute to King Tut's tomb than an Amelia story. This book, on the other hand, was back to Peters' classic formula. Another dead body? Another shirt ruined? Heavenly!

The story takes place in pre-WWI 1910, as Amelia, Emerson, and company head to Palestine to stop a politically and religiously sensitive excavation of holy ground. It was wonderful to see Amelia and Emerson charging around berating political and religious leaders alike for their failures in the region, and even better to see Ramses as a tentative, developing 23 year-old. With a good plot, credible villains, and a cast of characters small enough that I was able to enjoy them all to the fullest, I loved every minute of it... especially Sethos' appearance (which all of the Emersons missed - but I didn't!) A treasure for any long-time fan of the series and highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
I agree with some reviews that this installment was shorter and lacking in detail in places, but it reminded me of what got me hooked on this series in the first place 20 years ago - Peabody and Emerson! Peabody's "little lists"; her parasol; her self-confidence; her steely, take-no-prisoners mentality (all wrapped up in the perfect decorum of a Victorian British lady, of course); and the wonderful driving force behind the series, the passionate yet loving relationship she shares with Emerson, her hunky, hilarious, brilliant and outspoken husband, "the greatest Egyptologist of this or any other age". They are a delicious pair, with their "refreshing discussions", charging in where angels fear to tread, fighting the good fight against spies, criminals, inept bureaucrats, archeologists and hypocrites everywhere.

So, while I agree that this might not be up to the excellent standards Ms. Peters set for herself in previous books, her middling best is still better than a lot of what is out there for mystery buffs - especially those of us who enjoy a large dollop of humor in the mix - so I liked it and gave it four stars accordingly. I only hope there are more Peabody and Emerson adventures to come, whether they are set after 1922 or during the "in-between years"!
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Format: Hardcover
To be frank, I am not exactly sure what to think about A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters. It's another one of her "Go Between" books where she takes the Amelia Peabody series back to the past and fills in some of the gaps. As other reviewers have mentioned, this is unsatisfying on many counts because it does nothing to move the characters forward and does nothing to develop the relationships. We already know that Ramses and Nefret get married. We already know that David marries Amelia's niece. We already know who the Master Criminal is and what happens to him.

Since we already know what happens to all the characters, about all that is left to enjoy is the interaction between them, however we are robbed of that as well since Ramses and David are separated from the rest of the group for most of the book. Again, this is very unsatisfying.

Finally, I really don't have the foggiest idea of what happened in the book. It involves some kind of homeland movement or something or other and much of the impetus for the crimes, whatever they are, is political-- none of which particularly interests me so I zoned out through much of it. I realize that Peters has kind of run out of places to go with this series because if she continues into the post WW I future, the history of Egyptian archaeology is fairly well known and she would have to change some history pretty blatantly, which I don't think she really wants to do.

That all being said, this is still an Amelia Peabody book, and I get the feeling that Peters loves her character as much as her fans do and just can't keep from writing about her. Since she can't really go forward, she takes it backwards so she can at least do something with her.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I gulped this baby down in one sitting. Unlike some other reviewers, I thoroughly enjoyed the new setting of Palestine. As usual the denouement was almost an afterthought, but still this is a welcome addition to the Oeuvre. That makes nineteen of this series that I have read, with no major complaints. And while $12.99 (Kindle Edition) may seem like a bit too much for an evening's entertainment, it is less than four glasses of Pinot Noir at my local canteen, and after reading the book I woke up the next morning without a hangover.
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