Guardian of the Horizon (Amelia Peabody Series #16)

Guardian of the Horizon (Amelia Peabody Series #16)

by Elizabeth Peters

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From the lost journals of archaeologist Amelia Peabody comes a chronicle from the “missing years”—a tale of adventure, bravery, and terror.

Readers have long wondered what befell the Emerson clan during the years before the Great War. Now, at last, the silence is broken and the truth revealed of a perilous journey to a secret and mysterious place hidden deep in the heart of the unforgiving desert. An adventure prompted by loyalty to an endangered friend—and spurred on by lies and treachery—leads Amelia Peabody and her intrepid family into a nest of vipers lying in wait at a remote mountain fortress. And when a dark past and a shocking mystery are ultimately discovered, a loved one may be lost forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061999383
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/30/2011
Series: Amelia Peabody Series , #16
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 167,968
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago’s famed Oriental Institute. During her fifty-year career, she wrote more than seventy novels and three nonfiction books on Egypt. She received numerous writing awards and, in 2012, was given the first Amelia Peabody Award, created in her honor. She died in 2013, leaving a partially completed manuscript of The Painted Queen.


A farm in rural Maryland

Date of Birth:

September 29, 1927

Place of Birth:

Canton, Illinois


M.A., Ph.D. in Egyptology, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1952

Read an Excerpt

Guardian of the Horizon

Chapter One

When we left Egypt in the spring of 1907, I felt like a defeated general who has retreated to lick his wounds (if I may be permitted a somewhat inelegant but expressive metaphor). Our archaeological season had experienced the usual ups and downs -- kidnapping, murderous attacks, and the like -- to which I was well accustomed. But that year disasters of an unprecented scope had befallen us.

The worst was the death of our dear old friend Abdullah, who had been foreman of our excavations for many years. He had died as he would have wished, in a glorious gesture of sacrifice, but that was small consolation to those of us who had learned to love him. It was hard to imagine continuing our work without him.

If we continued it. My spouse, Radcliffe Emerson, is without doubt the preeminent Egyptologist of this or any other era. To say that Emerson (who prefers to be addressed by that name) has the most explosive temper of anyone I know might be a slight exaggeration -- but only slight. His passions are most often aroused by incompetent excavators and careless scholarship, and during this past season he had -- I admit -- been sorely provoked.

We had been excavating in the Valley of the Kings at Luxor, my favorite site in all of Egypt. The concession for the Valley was held by an irritating elderly American, Mr. Theodore Davis, who was more interested in finding treasure than in scholarly research; we were there under sufferance, allowed to work only in the lesser, more boring tombs. Still, we were there, and we would be there again in the autumn had it not been for Emerson.

The trouble began when Mr. Davis's crew discovered one of the strangest, most mysterious tombs ever found in the Valley. It was a hodgepodge of miscellaneous funerary equipment, much of it in poor condition, including a mummy and coffin and pieces of a magnificent golden shrine; and if it had been properly investigated, new light would have been shed on a particularly intriguing era of Egyptian history. In vain did we offer Mr. Davis the services of our staff. Abdullah, who was still with us, was the most experienced reis in Egypt, our son Ramses was a skilled linguist and excavator, and his friend David an equally skilled copyist. Not to mention our foster daughter Nefret, to whose excavation experience was added medical training and a thorough acquaintance with mummies. Only an egotistical idiot would have refused. Davis did refuse. He regarded excavation as entertainment, not as a tool in scholarly research, and he was jealous of a better man. He wanted no one to interfere with his toy.

Watching Davis "rip the tomb apart" (I quote Emerson) was trying enough. The denouement came on the day when the mummy fell apart due to careless handling. (It might not have survived anyhow, but Emerson was in no state of mind to admit that.) Face handsomely flushed, blue eyes blazing, impressive form towering over that of the withered old American, Emerson expressed his sentiments in the ringing tones and rich vocabulary that have earned him his sobriquet of Abu Shitaim, Father of Curses. He included in them M. Maspero, the distinguished head of the Service des Antiquités. Maspero really had no choice but to accede to Davis's infuriated demand that we be barred from the Valley altogether.

There are many other sites in Luxor. Maspero offered several of them to Emerson. By that time Emerson was in such a state of fury that he rejected them all, and when we sailed from Port Said we had no idea where we would be working the following season.

It was good to be back at our English home in Kent, and I make it a point to look on the bright side, but as spring turned to summer and summer wore on, my attempts to do so failed miserably. It rained incessantly. The roses developed mildew. Rose, our admirable housekeeper, caught a nasty cold that refused to yield to treatment; she went snuffling drearily around the house, and Gargery, our butler, drove me wild with his incessant prying and his pointed hints that he be allowed to come to Egypt with us in the autumn. Emerson, sulking in his study like a gargoyle, refused to discuss our future plans. He knew he had been in the wrong but would not admit it, and his attempts to get back in my good graces had, I confess, not been well received. As a rule I welcome my husband's attentions. His thick black locks and brilliant blue eyes, his magnificent physique, and -- how shall I put it? -- the expertise with which he fulfills his marital obligations moved me as they always had; but I resented his efforts to get round me by taking advantage of my feelings instead of throwing himself on my mercy and begging forgiveness.

By the end of July, all our tempers had become strained. It continued to rain, Emerson continued to sulk, Rose continued to snuffle, and Gargery's nagging never stopped. "Oh, madam, you need me, you know you do; only see what happened last year when I was not there to look after you -- Mr. Ramses and Mr. David kidnapped and you carried off by that Master Criminal chap, and poor Abdullah murdered and -- "

"Do be quiet, Gargery!" I shouted. "I asked you to serve tea. I did not invite a lecture."

Gargery stiffened and looked down his snub nose at me. I am one of the few people who is shorter than he, and he takes full advantage. "Tea will be in shortly,madam," he said, and stalked out.

I seldom shout at the servants -- in point of fact, Gargery is the only one I do shout at. As a butler he was something of an anomaly, and his unusual talents, such as his skill at wielding a cudgel, had proved helpful to us in the past ...

Guardian of the Horizon. Copyright © by Elizabeth Peters. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Guardian of the Horizon (Amelia Peabody Series #16) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
goodwritingrules More than 1 year ago
As I settled into the comfy, posterior-shaped indention at the left end of my couch (with a genial beverage) to delve into my latest Amelia Peabody adventure, #16, Guardian Of The Horizon, its intriguing premise, a detour into the past--compliments of the mysteriously described "missing journals"-- prompted a pleasurable regression of my own. I was a teenager when I happened upon "Crocodile On The Sandbank" in my mothers' book collection and I quickly discovered it to be a new kind of reading experience-- a book that read like a deliciously humorous, romantic, action-packed matinee starring a hilariously proper and verbose spinster who wields a wicked parasol and finds love among the ruins with an accomplished, energenic, dashing-- and amusingly foul tempered-- hero whom she wins over with her fierce initiative, ratiocination and aplomb-- a fabulous read! "Crocodile" sucked me in and never quite made it back to Mom's collection. I still possess that well-read copy with its wonderful cover art. I had no idea that it was the debut of an ongoing series until years later, after marriage and mothergood gave way to an empty nest and I had time to read again. I ventured to the local bookstore, wandered down the mystery aisle and hit the mother lode! With a muted exclamation of pleasure (it was a bookstore, after all) I gathered an armful of Amelia Peabody and exited the establishment glowing with anticipation--and I've been a follower ever since. #16 follows Amelia and Co. from their English estate (having been barred from the Valley of the Kings for a season) to the far off oasis in the Sudan desert from which they'd discovered and ultimately liberated the winsome Nefret some 10 volumes ago. The journey is the result of an appearance by a mysterious young stranger who comes to them with stories of illness and unrest at that yet untouched, undiscovered society and causes them to set out across the forbidding sands once again, accompanied by their engaging foreman Selim and his placid brother Daoud. The Emersons mount well-scrubbed camels and eventually arrive at the hidden city whereupon Nefret is compelled to resume her role as High Priestess and the Emersons endeavor to out-maneuver, outwit and outlast those in power in order free her and restore a rightful king to his throne. This refreshing leap into the past does not precede the advent of Manuscript H (my boy, though you're the J. Bond of the middle east you'd benefit from a soupcon of your mother's jocularity), but it does catch the Emerson clan prior to the appearance of grandchildren whom, though anticipated and welcome, lack the entertainment value of their elders. I'm left to wonder-- will ongoing marital bliss (and parenthood) render Ramses and Nefret a bit more chucklicious? Will the grandchildren prove chips off virtually incomparible blocks? Will there be more brindled cats? Good Gad-- I can't wait to find out!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
librisissimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Engaging romp through "ancient Egypt". In the style of a cinematic romantic comedy.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this series, and I get the new books as soon as they're released in hardcover, but for some reason, they've been languishing in my TBR pile. I even, shockingly, found this one signed at my local BX.Interestingly, a lot of people who are fans of the series disliked this book, so I turned to Amazon reviews to figure out why. It seems that there are two major complaints: 1) it leaps backward 10 years in the series timeline, and 2) Ramses *gasp* has a love interest other than Nefret! *shock* *dismay* *palpitations*Guardian of the Horizon does go back ten years in the series timeline, filling in some blanks. The Emersons go back to the lost oasis where they first found Nefret (in The Last Camel Died at Noon), to help Tarek, whom they'd left in charge. He does indeed need their help, but not in the way the messenger sent to retrieve them said he did, and they're all in danger again.Sethos shows up, as does an arms dealer and his slave/confederate Daria, with whom Ramses imagines himself in love.I say "imagines," because Ramses is just 20 here, and the only relationship development we see is that Daria is beautiful and needs rescuing/protection--an irresistible combination for a young man, particularly since Ramses admits he's in love with Nefret.Lemme 'splain: Nefret is everything Ramses wants, but doesn't think he can have. She's intelligent, brave, and honorable, as well as beautiful... and she thinks of him as a sibling. And she doesn't need him. Then along comes Daria, who's also beautiful, but she's not anywhere near as intimidating, he doesn't have to worry about losing her friendship if she doesn't respond to his advances, and she's in need of rescue.Of course he falls for her, and of course it's not really love, even if it does feel something like it.A little pause here while I rant about romantic conventions in literature. Romantic heroes are forever turning celibate from the moment they meet The One. They're impotent with any other woman, even if they've only just glimpsed The One across a crowded room. Convention would have Ramses pining away--for all he knows, for the rest of his life. Good grief. I say kudos to Ramses for trying to get on with his life.Anyway. I loved Guardian of the Horizon. Going back in time to before Ramses and Nefret were happy and more-or-less settled was nice. I enjoyed the angst knowing that things would all work out in the end. The Lost Oasis was a nice setting to revisit, and it was fun seeing Sethos in his dual role as heroic villain/villanous hero again.
Waianuhea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this series! It's light and entertaining, if a little formulaic. The characters are fun, even if they are a little two dimensional. Great books for a lazy summer day or when you're looking for an "easy" book to read. Kind of like light Agatha Cristie Egyptian mystery.
bookwoman247 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This adventure of the Emerson family was written out of chronological order in order to fill in a gap left in the story of Nefret and the Lost Oasis. It takes place in the year 1907 - 1908.When the Emersons are summoned to come to the aid of their good friend, Tarek, King of the Kingdom of the Hidden Mountain, they do not hesitate to return to Sudan to come to his aid, though they are suspicious of the messenger.When they arrive, they soon find that their suspicions were warrranted. Tarek has been usurped by one who has no right to claim the throne. The usurper plans to use Nefret and the Emersons to solidify his position.I've been reading the Amelia Peabody books in order, and was thrown off a bit at first by the out-of-synch chronology. I was soon caught up in the story, though, so that quickly ceased to be a problem, and I quite enjoyed it.
witchyrichy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I usually listen to these books so I missed Barbara Rosenblatt's interpretation of Emerson's grumpy cough and Amelia's quick one liners. But I enjoyed it none the less.
justmarsha More than 1 year ago
Highly always with the Amelia Peabody Series there is wit, romance and adventure true to form. Loved it...not so crazy about #18 tho....
xyz47 More than 1 year ago
This series is enjoyable. The book is #16 and follows the pattern of the other books. Light reading.
tuggytoot More than 1 year ago
I've read the series 3 times and will read it again in another year or so.
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AnneAR More than 1 year ago
As usual, Elizabeth Peters has given us more insight into her family. I especially enjoy getting to know the grandchildren. Too bad she didn't keep the series going by writing about them as adults. I really dread getting to the last book in the series. Every book in the series is a delight and definitely worth the time.
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Bmerbeth More than 1 year ago
If you have ever been to Egypt or would like to go to Egypt, this is the series for you. Amelia Peabody is a wonderful woman, and you get swept away in her world. You would like you were there with her. If I were to read the series again, which I just might I would get the compendium that is a companion piece to the series for even more enjoyment. You certainly don't have to but it brings even more of the story to a wonderful vision of sights, smells and sounds of early excavating and how much the British had played in the part of what we now know about these antiquities, and why so much of the treasures are in the British Museum. Couple this with the fact that she is great Sherlock Holmes, has wonderful adversaries, and throw in a couple of Mummies for good measure and you are off on a great adventure. I liked the books when Ramses their son was involved the best. I think he comes in on about the 3rd book in the series. One of my all time favorites is The Last Camel died at Noon. You can start anywhere in the series actually in the first 8 books, and catch up as the series goes back and forth through time. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
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It's amazing how Elizabeth Peters can take you back in time and still have you guessing what will happen to the Emerson family. This book was an absolutely incredible! I'm a avid reader of the Amelia Peabody Series and truly enjoyed reading this book.