cover image He Shall Thunder in the Sky

He Shall Thunder in the Sky

Elizabeth Peters. Avon Books, $25 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-380-97659-1

The latest superb installment in this renowned series is one of Peters's best. Amelia Peabody Emerson and her husband are the sort of dauntless archeologists who would never let a minor event like a world war distract them from their work. After all, they've been digging in the mild Egyptian winters for years. Now the younger members of the family--son Ramses and foster son and daughter David and Nefret--join their intrepid elders in their adventures, and the saga is all the richer for the new blood. As the Middle Eastern front of World War I develops during the excavation season of 1914-1915, the British are determined to hold Egypt and the Suez Canal against the Turks, who are allies of Germany. Ramses is loudly proclaiming pacifist sentiments, even as elderly ladies are handing him white feathers as a symbol of cowardice. Amelia and husband Emerson are doggedly trying to continue their usual work schedule in the face of the growing horrors of the war and the machinations of villains as evil as they have ever encountered. Even Lawrence of Arabia has a minor part to play. Despite having produced 11 previous tales of Egyptological mystery and detection, Peters still writes a deeply satisfying story that combines elements of espionage, mystery and romance. Some big surprises are in store for readers while Peters deftly ties her subplots together, but a few threads are left dangling enticingly at the end, leaving fans to expect another installment in this extraordinary series. Dual Selection of the Mystery Guild. (May)