Lord of the Silent (Amelia Peabody Series #13)

Lord of the Silent (Amelia Peabody Series #13)

by Elizabeth Peters

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Overview

“Irresistible….Amelia is still a joy.”
 —New York Times Book Review

 

The intrepid archeologist Amelia Peabody and her fearless family, the Emersons, are back in Egypt, and something very nasty is afoot in Lord of the SilentNew York Times bestselling Grandmaster Elizabeth Peters’s sparkling adventure with more riddles than the Sphinx and more close calls and stunning escapes than  an Indiana Jones movie. Reviewers are simply agog over Lord of the Silent, calling it, “Wonderfully entertaining” (Washington Times), “Deeply satisfying”  (Entertainment Weekly), and in the words of the Toronto Globe and Mail, “The hype is true. This is Peters’s best book.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061951664
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/23/2010
Series: Amelia Peabody Series , #13
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 165,697
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.70(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.

Hometown:

A farm in rural Maryland

Date of Birth:

September 29, 1927

Place of Birth:

Canton, Illinois

Education:

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

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"I challenge even you, Peabody, to find a silver lining in this situation," Emerson remarked.

We were in the library at Amarna House, our home in Kent. As usual, Emerson's desk resembled an archaeological tell, piled high with books and papers and dusty with ashes from his pipe. The servants were strictly forbidden to touch his work, so the ashes were only disturbed when Emerson rooted around in one pile or another, looking for something. Leaning back in his chair, he stared morosely at the bust of Plato on the opposite bookshelf Plato stared morosely back. He had replaced the bust of Socrates, which had been shattered by a bullet a few years ago, and his expression was not nearly so pleasant.

The October morn was overcast and cool, a portent of the winter weather that would soon be upon us, and a reflection of the somber mood that affected most persons; and I was bound to confess that these were indeed times to try men's souls. When the war began in August of 1914, people were saying it would be over by Christmas. By the autumn of 1915, even the sturdiest optimists had resigned themselves to a long, bloody conflict. After appalling casualties, the opposing armies on the western front had settled into the stalemate of trench warfare, and the casualties continued to mount. The attempt to force the Straits of the Dardanelles and capture Constantinople had been a failure. A hundred thousand men were pinned down on the beaches of Gallipoli, unable to advance because of the enemy's control of the terrain, unable to withdraw because the War Office refused to admit it had made a catastrophic mistake. Serbia was about to fall to the enemy. The Russian armies were in disarray. Italy had entered the war on our side, but her armies were stalled on the Austrian frontier. Attack from the air and from under the sea had added a new and hideous dimension to warfare.

There was a bright spot, though, and I was quick to point it out. After a summer spent in England we were about to leave for Egypt and another season of the archaeological endeavors for which we have become famous. My distinguished husband would not have abandoned his excavations for anything less than Armageddon (and only if that final battle were being fought in his immediate vicinity). Though acutely conscious of the tragedy of world war, he was sometimes inclined to regard it as a personal inconvenience -- "a confounded nuisance ," to quote Emerson himself. It had certainly complicated our plans for that season. With overland travel to the Italian ports now cut off, there was only one way for us to reach Egypt, and German submarines prowled the English coast.

Not that Emerson was concerned for himself, he fears nothing in this world or the next. It was concern for the others who were accustomed to join us in our yearly excavations that made him hesitate: for me; for our son Ramses and his wife, Nefret; for Ramses's friend David and his wife Lia, Emerson's niece; for her parents, Emerson's brother Walter and my dear friend Evelyn; and for Sennia, the little girl we had taken into our hearts and home after she was abandoned by her English father.

"It only remains," I went on, "to decide how many of us will be going out this year. I had never supposed Lia would join us; the baby is only six months old and although he is a healthy little chap, one would not want to risk his falling ill. Medical services in Cairo have improved enormously since our early days there, but one cannot deny that they are not --"

"Damn it, Amelia, don't lecture!" Emerson exclaimed.

Emerson's temper has become the stuff of legend in Egypt; he is not called the Father of Curses for nothing. Sapphirine orbs blazing, heavy brows drawn together, he reached for his pipe.

Emerson seldom calls me Amelia. Peabody, my maiden name, is the one he employs as a term of approbation and affection. Pleased to have stirred him out of his melancholy mood, I waited until his stalwart form relaxed and his handsome face took on a sheepish smile.

"I beg your pardon, my love."

"Granted," I replied magnanimously.

The library door opened and Gargery, our butler, poked his head in. "Did you call, Professor?"

"I didn't call you," Emerson replied. "And you know it. Go away, Gargery."

Gargery's snub-nosed countenance took on a look of stubborn determination. "Would you and the madam care for coffee, sir?"

"We just now finished breakfast," Emerson reminded him. "If I want something I will ask for it."

"Shall I switch on the electric lights, sir? I believe we are due for a rainstorm. My rheumatism --"

"Curse your rheumatism!" Emerson shouted. "Get out of here, Gargery."

The door closed with something of a slam. Emerson chuckled. "He's as transparent as a child, isn't he?"

"Has he been nagging you about taking him to Egypt this year?"

"Well, he does it every year, doesn't he? Now he is claiming the damp winter climate gives him the rheumatics."

"I wonder how old he is. He hasn't changed a great deal since we first met him. Hair of that sandy shade does not show gray, and he is still thin and wiry."

"He's younger than we are," said Emerson with a chuckle. "It is not his age that concerns me, Peabody, my dear. We made a bad mistake when we allowed our butler to take a hand in our criminal investigations. It has given him ideas below his station."

"You must admit he was useful," I said, recalling certain of those earlier investigations. "That year we left Nefret and Ramses here in England, one or both of them might have been abducted by Schlange's henchmen if it hadn't been for Gargery and his cudgel..."

Table of Contents

Interviews

Exclusive Author Essay
The Emersons' Enemy Tally

One of the problems I run into when writing the Amelia Peabody mysteries is supplying a sufficient number of villains to occupy that intrepid lady and her formidable family. Luckily for me I have been able to recycle some of them; none of the Emersons believe in killing people "unless it is absolutely necessary," so many of their adversaries have lived to fight again another day. Recently I ran across a list of these individuals, which Amelia had made for purposes of reference, or for her own amusement -- who can say? There were certainly enough of them to require an aide memoir.

Lucas Hayes: Cousin of Amelia's friend Evelyn. When last heard of he was living precariously somewhere on the continent. "If he does not drink himself to death," Amelia comments, "some outraged husband or father will undoubtedly shoot him."

Alberto: Lucas's co-conspirator. His cellmate informed Amelia that Pietro had passed on "quite peacefully."

Mohammed: Son of the mayor of El Till and another conspirator. After their first encounter the Emersons let him get away, which was a mistake; he returned a few years later, as evil as ever.

Lady Baskerville: Murderess and adulteress. Amelia doesn't say what became of her; given her social status and her gender, it is possible she was sentenced to life imprisonment instead of being executed.

Count Kalenischeff: A sinister Russian, part of the Master Criminal's gang. Found weltering in his gore in the bedroom of a lady to whom he was not married.

Ahmed the Louse: Drug user and dealer in London. Found floating in the Thames.

Eustace Wilson: A murderer twice over, his eventual fate is never mentioned. He was turned over to the police, so one may suppose he was hanged, since he had not social position or enough money to hire a good lawyer.

Reggie Forthright: He tried to lead the Emersons astray in the desert and hand his young cousin Nefret over to a lecherous prince of the Lost Oasis. The last we heard of him, he was still there.

Nastasen: The lecherous prince. He was alive if not well when last heard of.

Riccetti: Vicious, repulsive dealer in illegal antiquities, killer and kidnapper. Sent to prison by the Emersons. No recent mention of him.

The Reverend Ezekiel Jones: Suffered from homicidal mania brought on by religious mania. At last report he had proclaimed himself the Messiah and was being tended by his acolytes.

Leopold Vincey, a.k.a. Schlange: Shot by Emerson -- in self defense, of course.

Bertha: Schlange's confederate, a brilliantly clever and evil woman. She stalked the Emersons through several volumes of the saga and was finally killed after she had murdered one of their best friends.

Matilda: Bertha's henchwoman. Present whereabouts unknown.

Dutton Scudder, a.k.a. Booghis Tucker Tollingon: His inclusion in the list is somewhat questionable. Anyhow, he's dead.

Colonel Bellingham: Murdered at least one of his wives and tried to kill several other people, including Amelia.

Geoffrey Godwin: Fell into a tomb shaft after a comprehensive list of crimes.

Percival Peabody: Amelia's nephew, "one of the few truly evil men I have ever known." Reported to have died on the way to hospital.

AND FIRST AND LAST:

Sethos, a.k.a. the Master, a.k.a. the Master Criminal: Undoubtedly their most dangerous and interesting opponent. Guilty of kidnapping, attempted seduction, murder, and attempted murder, grand theft, petty theft, and continual aggravation.

The list does not include various nameless henchpersons, thugs, and thieves. (Elizabeth Peters)

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Lord of the Silent 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Peters has been gathering and developing her characters in masterful ways for some time in the wonderful Amelia Peabody series. In Lord of the Silent, Ms. Peters reaps a rich harvest from that preparation in order to provide the richest fabric ever of plot and suspense in the series. Lord of the Silent is very much part two of a series that Ms. Peters is writing about World War I. I strongly urge you to read He Shall Thunder from the Sky (this book's immediate predecessor) before reading Lord of the Silent. The plots and characters of the two books are so intertwined that you will not appreciate and enjoy Lord of the Silent nearly as much without having read He Shall Thunder from the Sky. The book opens with vivid scenes from war-time England. Zeppelin raids on London create fear that foreshadows the massive Battle of Britain in World War II. This sets a somber mood of uncontrollable threat for the whole book that is admirably suspenseful. You will wonder when the next bomb might burst. In many ways, the plot's complications are like the effects of a random bombardment . . . bringing danger, fear, discomfort, and damage. The whole family is in England in 1915. Because of the war, English people cannot cross the continent for travel to Egypt. Ocean-going vessels are the only choice. But submarine warfare is a danger, and neutral liners (like the Lusitania) have been sunk. Should they take the risk and go to Egypt? Who should go? The book opens with these pressing questions. What would you have done? Part of the family does make it to Egypt, and find a land transformed by the distant war. The hospitals are full of injured soldiers from the disastrous Gallipoli campaign. There are rumors of uprisings among the Bedouins in the desert that are encouraged by the Turks and Germans. Many old friends are missing for the duration because they are from enemy countries. Thieves are opening unprotected sites and taking away priceless archeological relics. Graffiti is appearing in the most unexpected places. Professor Emerson is focusing his attention on some noble tombs (mastabas) that Emily finds absolutely boring. She yearns for a pyramid. Soon, events intervene to make life seem rather too exciting. Can she keep her family safe? The plot is nicely changed by having Ramses and Nefret as husband and wife. Although they still hide things from one another, they do less of that. As a result, you have a better balance between the professor and Amelia keeping secrets from the younger Emersons and vice versa. This makes for a smoother, faster-paced, and more interesting plot. As usual though, if everyone had told everyone else what they knew, the whole problem could have been resolved in about one-third of the time. But that's the way people really are, so you won't mind it at all. They are just trying to protect their loved ones. Sennia (aged 6) plays a bigger role in this story. She shows signs of having great potential as a character in the future. Adding a third generation to the story gives the plot much more diversity that you will enjoy. The classic plot elements of an Amelia Peabody novel are all here: Amelia fighting off attackers, unexpected bodies, hidden treasure, red herrings, Nefret healing people, mysterious manipulations from a distance, Ramses operating in disguise, after-dark trips into the native Egyptian areas, officials complicating matters, nosy females who are attracted to the Emerson men, men who are attracted to the Emerson women, help from Abdullah's family, and a prophetic dream of meeting with Abdullah. Everything you have enjoyed in the past, you will find in this book . . . except more of it. The book's title is a reference to the description of Amon, king of the gods, who was described as Lord of the Silent. Here are some of his other characteristics: 'who comes at the voice of the poor . . . who gives bread to him who has none . . . father of the orphan, hus
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1915, archeologist Amelia Peabody returns to Cairo for the season accompanied by her spouse Emerson, their son Ramses, and his wife Nefret. Amelia quickly realizes that the charm of the city has been muted by the arrival of European agents from both camps and blatant tomb robbers. Still Luxor is so out of the way, Amelia expects a serene dignified dig.

However, her dreams of quiet success turn nightmarish when Amelia finds a corpse that requires law enforcement to date the homicide. As the war heats up in Northern Africa, the murder count rises too. Amelia, worrying about the killer striking again, begins her brand of sleuthing to uncover the identity of the culprit before her family is harmed.

The latest Amelia Peabody historical mystery contains all the elements that make this series such a delight. The who-done-is cleverly devised and the glimpses at Egyptology through a historiographer¿s eyes are intelligently used to foster the feel of the times (along with World War I) without slowing down the plot. Still, the tale belongs to the intrepid Amelia who may suffer perils like a Pauline, but rescues herself and others rather than wait for the handsome hero to arrive. Somewhat a witty satire, LORD OF SILENT is a fabulous novel that will add to the reputation of excellence sub-genre fans and critics have bestowed on author Elizabeth Peters.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read. Always love Peabody and family.
bookwoman247 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The saga of the Egyptological Emerson family continues. Lord of the Silent begins with their return to Egypt as WWI threatens, yet again, to pull them into its midst.Even as they retreat to their beloved Luxor they are not immune to the effects of the war.When Amelia discovers a recently dead body in a tomb, which is then followed by the discovery of others, they are plunged right into the thick of things, as usual.Meanwhile, Amelia is busy trying to keep her son Ramses from being compelled to accept another dangerous undercover assignment and she is also working to discover if their arch nemesis is at work once again.Fun, fun, fun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm rolling around the floor laughing. Brace girdle boisdragon. Really. These books need to be made I to movies.
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Knitting-Nana More than 1 year ago
Only sad that there are only 19 books!
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BookLover27ED More than 1 year ago
This books is centered Egypt, 1915, right smack dab in the middle of World War I. Amelia Peabody and her husband Emerson continue their excavations at Giza, chronicaling all the small and numerous arftifacts, paintings, and other archeological delights. Meanwhile, Ramses and his gorgeous new wife Nerfret are taking a honeymoon while checking the sites near Luxor for any illicit digging or tomb robbing. However, as much as Emerson wishes for it this family cannot have a peaceful season of excavation. The British Intelligence Office is hounding Ramses to take another spying job for them while he steadfastly refuses. An Egyptian revolutionary contacts Ramses and is later found dead at Giza. "The Master" has taken to plying his evil trade again and the Emersons suspect he has found something particularly rich and interesting. As the story unfolds, new plot twists develop, weaving an intricate story web that, as more threads and colors are added like a gigantic tapestry, begins to develop a clear picture and bring all those threads together like so many colors in a painting. Fans of Amelia Peabody and newcomers to her world will enjoy this book.