30 May 2013

Review: He Shall Thunder in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters

You probably already know how much I love Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody books. Unlike some long series, Peters continues to keep the plots interesting, the level of humor just right, and the characters growing and changing.

The general premise of series, which takes place in the early part of the last century, is that Amelia and Emerson Peabody are well-known archaeologists who work primarily in Egypt. They are accompanied by their son, who is known as Ramses, and their two wards, David and Nefret. Trouble, mayhem, theft, and/or murder seem to follow them wherever they go. Each book involves some kind of crime that must be solved, which is played out against the backdrop of contemporary events and the growth and changing lives of the children.

In He Shall Thunder in the Sky, the fourteenth installment, the children are young adults, out of university and starting on their chosen career paths. The year is 1914, and the Peabodys are very much affected by World War I. The action centers most strongly around Ramses and his secret activities. Is he a coward escaping the battlefield and his duty to king and country? Or does he have something else up his sleeve?

Treading very carefully here so as not to give you even the slightest hint of what's to come in this book, I will say this: The end totally surprised me. I learned something about one of the main characters I didn't suspect, although more astute readers may have already figured it out. And I thought Elizabeth Peters made a brave and brilliant decision to change the course of the remaining five books. As the younger generation reaches maturity, we readers have to expect change, and I'm excited to see where Peters will take us next.

It's pretty much impossible for me to describe Peters's sense of humor. It can be a little embarrassing when I'm walking around the neighborhood or grocery store listening to a Peabody book and suddenly start laughing. People have a tendency to turn around and stare. Amelia's personality and some of the situations she and Emerson get tangled up in are just too funny not to enjoy fully.

So, I've pretty much told you nothing, I suspect. I listened to the audiobook more or less at the same time that SuziQoregon did. You can find her review tomorrow on her fab blog Whimpulsive. Check it out to learn her perspective.

The unabridged audiobook edition (Recorded Books; 17 hr, 7 min) was read by the wonderful Barbara Rosenblat. Her characterizations are so spot on that I cannot think of Amelia, Emerson, and the children without hearing her perfect inflections, wry humor, and consistent accents. Truly, the Rosenblat-Peters pairing was made in heaven!

Buy He Shall Thunder in the Sky at an Indie or other bookstore near you.
HarperCollins / William Morrow, 2000 (edition shown)
ISBN-13: 9780380976591
Rating: B+

Source: Bought (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Nan 5/30/13, 6:24 AM  

I'm with you! I love these books so much, and BR is perfect.

SuziQoregon 5/30/13, 8:17 AM  

Actually my review won't be up until next Friday because I had to do a bit of rescheduling this week. (Oops).

Daryl 5/30/13, 11:04 AM  

i have the first book downloaded to my Nook app ... so i have a long way to go to get to this one but i know i will enjoy the journey

Shelley 5/30/13, 6:51 PM  

I'm just starting to become a fan of mystery series. I'm working on Maisie Dobbs right now and loving them. When I'm done, I think I'll move on to this one.

caite 5/31/13, 6:45 AM  

just what I need, a big long series. NOT! lol
but humor that works in a book? interesting....

Laurie C 5/31/13, 6:56 AM  

Oh, I have to get back to this audio series soon! I've only listened to #1 so far!

Michele 5/31/13, 2:41 PM  

I have the first five in the series, just waiting for me to start. It's one of those series that I thought would intersperse well in between more serious literary fiction....I need that kind of read sometimes!

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