Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Every Day in May: 4

Amelia Peabody

from the incredibly adventurous Amelia Peabody series, by author and Egyptologist Elizabeth Peters


“No woman really wants a man to carry her off; she only wants him to want to do it.”

“Your trousers are on fire. I would have told you, but you so dislike advice...”

“There was no warning, not even a knock. The door flew open, and he forgot his present aches and pains in anticipation of what lay in store. The figure that stood in the door was not that of an enemy. It was worse. It was his mother.”


Unlike Alice and Ramona, I don't think Amelia Peabody is as well-known. I've written before about how the Emerson family is like a family of Indiana Joneses - if he was based in the Valley of the Kings and his mother and father went on adventures with him. The stories borrow a lot from Rider Haggard novels, and if you're looking for action and adventure with some romance and a healthy portion of Victorian sensibility, you are in for a treat. It's funny, too.

There are murders, mysteries to be solved, a Master Criminal, love, sword fighting, spying, and loads of information about Egypt and excavations at the turn of the century, as the author was an Egyptologist herself and made the series as historically accurate as possible. In Tomb of the Golden Bird, they are present at the discovery of King Tut's tomb and must watch as Howard Carter finds "beautiful things" as they work on their own excavation nearby.

If you're looking for a fun, adventurous book to read, give the series a try. There are 19 books, so if an early one isn't your cup of tea, try Lion in the Valley or The Last Camel Died at Noon. Then you can work your way up to The Falcon at the Portal and He Shall Thunder in the Sky (heart heart heart).

About the illustration: she carries a red parasol that's been retrofitted to hide a blade, and she has a belt she's rigged up with everything she may need in an emergency: "Pistol and knife, canteen, bottle of brandy, candle and matches in a waterproof box, notebook and pencil, needle and thread, compass, scissors, first-aid kit and a coil of stout cord (useful for tying up captured enemies)." Her hair is perpetually black, even when she has grandchildren, and her husband Emerson never makes the connection with the small bottle Amelia keeps on her table next to her hairbrush. I just love her.


Caitlyn said...

I loved the Peabody books for years! (Still would, actually, but my sister has them now that we've all moved out. I should steal them back.) I especially liked how Peters kept Amelia's character consistent when she started writing Ramses' perspective - Amelia thinks everything she does is perfectly sensible, and her son loves her and respects her but also thinks she's a little nuts sometimes. It's perfect.

I didn't like some of the later ones, but I really should catch up.

Elena said...

I hear you! At first when Manuscript H started showing up, I thought it would be awful. But it turned out to be great seeing things from another perspective.