Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Snake, The Crocodile and the Dog by Elizabeth Peters

Amelia Peabody is unashamedly proud of her newest translation, a fragment of the ancient fairytale 'The Doomed Prince'. Later she will wonder why no sense of foreboding strikes her as she retells the story of the king's favourite son who is warned that he will die from the snake, the crocodile and the dog. Little does Amelia realise, as she and her beloved husband Emerson sail blissfully towards the pyramids of ancient Egypt, that those very bests will be part of a deadly plot...

Leaving their delightful, but catastrophically precocious, son Ramses back in England, Amelia hopes that this romantic expedition will rejuvenate her thirteen-year-old marriage. She and her dear Emerson are returning to the remote desert site where they first fell in love. but their return will threaten not only their marriage, but their very lives, with perils as chilling as a mummy's curse.

An old enemy is determined to learn Amelia and Emerson's most closely guarded secret: the location of a legendary long-lost oasis and a race of people bedecked in gold. So cunning is his scheme that Amelia could overlook - until it is too late - the truth about the mysterious cat called Anubis, the identity of the spy among their retinue, and the nature of the stunning blow with the power to rob her of all she holds dear.

The Snake, The Crocodile And The Dog is the latest bestselling novel from Elizabeth Peters to feature the intrepid Victorian adventurer Amelia Peabody and her archaeologist husband Emerson.

This is the seventh book in the Amelia Peabody series, following on from The Last Camel Died at Noon and there are quite a few references to the events of that book in this one, which would mean that it probably doesn't work all that well as a standalone book. Having said that, there is almost a return to Amelia and Emerson's early days of courtship which would make it seem as though it could be a standalone! Then again, I don't really understand how people knowingly pick up books and start reading half way through a series!

Amelia and Emerson are on the way to Egypt for the season, and must to Amelia's delight their precocious son Ramses has stayed behind in England, meaning that for the first time in years there will be time for Amelia and Emerson to relight the spark that their early days of marriage had. Not that they were falling out of love or anything like that - more that the passion had dimmed. In my eyes, Amelia is a very lucky woman to have Emerson.

Before things get a chance to hot up though, Emerson is kidnapped, and whilst Amelia and their men rescue him, not before he has amnesia and can't remember his wife. As they try to work out who is trying to attack them, Amelia is forced to contemplate what will happen if he can never remember her or Ramses, and to wonder whether she can make Emerson fall in love with her all over again!

Once again, there is lots of fun, adventure and danger waiting in Egypt for Amelia and Emerson, although this time they don't have to worry about how much trouble Ramses is going to get into. Whilst Ramses is not directly part of the action, he still forms part of the story through his very amusing and entertaining letters from home (and there is a great twist at the very end of the book that involves him as well).

There are the usual archaeological discoveries, dastardly enemies, and there are plenty of suspects as to who the bad guys may be! Once again, this was a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to reading more of the series.

Rating 4/5


  1. Then again, I don't really understand how people knowingly pick up books and start reading half way through a series!

    Usually because they're having trouble locating earlier books, or they stumble across the one and it looks like a good read so they pick it up then and there and don't want to put it back down again so they can find others.

    Also, I find a lot of books these days don't adequately indicate that they're part of a series from the outside, so it's easy to end up reading something you think is standalone, but isn't. And, because so many mysteries are designed to be serial in nature (with the vagaries of books going out of print, this is a good idea where possible anyway; otherwise if the third in a series comes out and the first has gone out of print or somesuch, potential new readers may not bother) people often just hope for the best.

    I really should start reading this series at some point. It sounds like a lot of fun!

  2. That was a completely personal comment there! If I suddenly find out that the book that I am reading is part of a series it really throws me. There are some people around who it just doesn't seem to bother, but it does bother me! Big Time!