Amelia and the rest of the sprawling Peabody-Emerson clan are back for yet another adventure featuring ... well, as Abdullah would have put it, "Every year, another dead body."
It's the fall of 1922 in Luxor, Egypt, and Howard Carter is digging one last season in the Valley of the Kings in the hopes of finding anything buried under the sands before his benefactor, Lord Canarvon, pulls the funding away after several fruitless years. Amelia's archaeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, is fairly certain that at least one tomb remains - that of the little known 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Tutankhamun, and he thinks he knows where to find it. The fun begins when Carter stumbles across a step in the rock, and Emerson fails to remember that the find is Carter's and not his own. Soon, the Emersons are banned from the Valley, and old friends and foes start popping out of the woodwork to make life complicated.
The focus of this book is somewhat different than others in the series and those who've been wishing for a change of pace wll be pleasantly surprised to find that the focus of this book isn't the crime of the season, but the interactions of the Emersons themselves.
If you've never read one of the Amelia Peabody books, you'll be completely lost (start with Crocodile on the Sandbank and go from there) - after 18 books in the series, the backstory would take a volume of its own. I loved the story - my carpool pals were a bit lost, though, as I kept stopping the audio to explain who each character was.
If you've been with the series from the beginning, you might find yourself wishing the story were just a little longer. Elizabeth Peters has hinted that this will be the last book chronologically in the series, and that subsequent books will fill in the "holes" left in the 40 year span between our first encounter with Amelia and this latest tale. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed, though.)
The Tomb of the Golden Bird is Amelia at her best.
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