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Napoleon's Pyramids [Mass Market Paperback]

William Dietrich
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Jan 2008
What mystical secrets lie beneath the Great Pyramids? Traveling with Napoleon's great expedition, American adventurer Ethan Gage solves a 6,000 year old riddle with the help of a mysterious medallion.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Collins World; Reprint edition (31 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060848332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060848330
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 9.9 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,789,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm an American novelist and non-fiction author, with a bestselling HarperCollins series on American adventurer Ethan Gage in the Napoleonic era that has sold into 31 languages. My newest novel, another Ethan, is "The Three Emperors," available May 6, 2014. It is the seventh book in the Ethan Gage series, and follows "The Barbed Crown," published in May of 2013. The paperback version of "The Barbed Crown" will be available in May of 2014.

My nonfiction works centers on the Pacific Northwest. An upcoming nonfiction book is "The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal In the Wild Nearby," a coffee table book from Mountaineers Press. It will appear September 15, 2014.

I began my writing career as a newspaper reporter in 1973,sharing a Pulitzer at the Seattle Times for coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. I also taught for five years at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment.

I published my first non-fiction book, "The Final Forest," in 1992. It was updated in 2010 to "The Final Forest: Big Trees, Forks, and the Pacific Northwest." It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Governor Writers Award.

I followed that with "Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River," still in print.

My first novel, "Ice Reich," came in 1998 and is a World War II thriller based on a real-life Nazi expedition to Antarctica. This bestseller is still available as an ebook.

My other novels:

"Getting Back." An eco-thriller set in the Australian Outback in the near future.

"Dark Winter." A killer is on the loose among the personnel at America's South Pole base. Creepy!

"Hadrian's Wall." Love, war, and conspiracy during the late Roman Empire.

"The Scourge of God." A young couple must survive the invasion of the empire by Attila the Hun.

"Blood of the Reich." A contemporary Seattle woman sees her car blown up and learns of her horrific connection to a 70-year-old Nazi conspiracy that will take her to Tibet and Germany.

And the Ethan Gage novels:

"Napoleon's Pyramids." Our American hero accompanies Napoleon's 1798 invasion of Egypt and grapples with pyramid mysteries.

"The Rosetta Key." Ethan and his companion Astiza are caught up in Bonaparte's 1799 invasion of the Holy Land and his ascension to power in France.

"The Dakota Cipher." Norse mysteries play a role in a struggle for power on the Great Lakes frontier.

"The Barbary Pirates." Ethan and his scientist friends find an ancient super-weapon coveted by pirates who are at war with America.

"The Emerald Storm." A stolen emerald leads Ethan and his new family into peril in Haiti and the lush, perilous isles of the Caribbean.

"The Barbed Crown." Ethan finds himself a spy as Napoleon prepares to crown himself emperor and France challenges England at the naval showdown of Trafalgar.

"The Three Emperors." Seeking to reunited with Astiza and his son Harry in 1805, Ethan must survive the battle of Austerlitz and hunt down a medieval machine that can foretell the future.

Additional nonfiction includes:

"On Puget Sound." With Art Wolfe photos.

"Natural Grace." Essays on plants and animals in my native Pacific Northwest.

"Green Fire: A History of Huxley College." The nation's first dedicated environmental college.

As you can see, I'm curious about many things. I also enjoy research.

Travel for my novels has taken me to the Arctic, Antarctic, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Australia, Sicily, Greece, Paris, Britain, Hungary, Tibet...hey, someone's got to do it. I've traveled on a sailboat in the South Pacific, landed on an aircraft carrier, flown in a B-52, visited the South Pole, and been terrified flying with the Blue Angels.

As a journalist, I was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, won National Science Foundation fellowships to Antarctica, and speak frequently on environmental issues. I've covered Congress, the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the environment, science, social issues - even the military. I've traveled frequently for my writing, but live in the Pacific Northwest where I was born. I'm married, with two grown children.

I live in a house looking out at the San Juan Islands, between Vancouver and Seattle, surrounded by fir, cedar, and hemlock, and sometimes get to watch bald eagles while I'm writing. Connecting with readers is one of life's biggest thrills.

My website is

Product Description


Dietrich is becoming a leader among historical novelists. While his earlier
works were contemporary thrillers, his last two, the compelling Hadrian's
Wall and Scourge of God, took place in the Dark Ages. Oh, and he won a
Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Dietrich's
latest book takes place during Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Egypt.
Amateur scientist Ethan Gage is an American living in Paris, enjoying the
earthy excesses of the post-revolutionary city. After winning an ancient
amulet in a card game, he is framed for a couple of messy murders by an
obscure Masonic cult that wants the amulet. Ethan, raised as a
frontiersman, manages to escape and join the large body of scientists
accompanying Bonaparte's ultimately disastrous campaign in Egypt. There he
encounters mystery, treachery, and religious enmities; fights in battles;
and burrows under the Great Pyramid, all while finding love and solving the
mystery of the amulet. This work is rousing, swashbuckling fun and proof
that a good writer can make history not only interesting but an
exhilarating romp. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ
10/15/06.]-Robert Conroy, Warren, MI Copyright 2007 Reed Business
Information. -- Library Journal

Starred Review. At the start of Dietrich's superb historical thriller, his
swashbuckling hero, American Ethan Gage, who's living in Paris during the
waning days of the French Revolution and was once apprenticed to Benjamin
Franklin, wins a curious Egyptian medallion in a card game. Soon after,
he's set upon by thieves, chased by the police, attacked by bandits,
befriended by Gypsies, saved by a British spy and then packed off to join
Napoleon's army as it embarks on its ill-fated Egyptian campaign. There the
story really heats up. Once in Egypt, Gage finds himself beset by evildoers
bent on stealing the mysterious medallion. As in previous novels like
Hadrian's Wall and Scourge of God, Dietrich combines a likable hero
surrounded by a cast of fascinating historical characters. Riveting battle
scenes, scantily clad women, mathematical puzzles, mysteries of the
pharaohs, reckless heroism, hairsbreadth escapes and undaunted courage add
up to unbeatable adventure rivaling the exploits of George Macdonald
Fraser's Harry Flashman. Readers will cheer as the indomitable Gage floats
off in a runaway hot-air balloon, hard on the trail of his next exotic
undertaking. Author tour. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All
rights reserved. -- Publishers Weekly

March 1, 2007 Thursday

'Pyramids': A landmark historical adventure -- USA Today

The author of, among other thrillers, Hadrian's Wall (2004) and
The Scourge of God (2005) takes us back to late-eighteenth-century Paris,
where American Ethan Gage comes into possession of an ancient medallion and
then, almost immediately, is implicated in a woman's murder. Later, he
joins Napoleon's expedition into Egypt, where the Great Pyramids could
provide the French dictator with the secrets of world conquest or spell
certain disaster--for Napoleon and t he rest of humanity. Rich in period
detail and ancient mythology, this epic-scale thriller succeeds on the
strength of its small moments: a conversation that illuminates the plot, a
description that captures our imagination. It's of interest, too, to see
Napoleon reimagined as an adventurer, a dreamer, and an intellectual.
Incorporating some of the well-known speculation about the pyramids (the
mathematical significance of the Giza pyramid's design, for example) but
not taking it altogether seriously, the novel is a big, exciting romp that
will keep high-concept thriller fans on the edge of their seats. David
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved -- Booklist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

I'm an American author, journalist, and journalism professor. I began my
writing career as a newspaper reporter in 1973, and still write half-time
for the Seattle Times' Sunday magazine, "Pacific Northwest." I teach
environmental journalism at Western Washington University's Huxley College,
and write books. My work at HarperCollins has been historical fiction. I've
also done thrillers for Warner Books and non-fiction about the Pacific
Northwest for Simon & Schuster, University of Washington Press, and
Sasquatch Books. My fiction has been sold into 21 different languages at
this writing. I shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Exxon Valdez
oil spill, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, won National Science Foundation
fellowships to Antarctica, and speak frequently on environmental issues. As
a reporter, I've covered Congress, the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the
environment, science, social issues - even the military. I've traveled
frequently for my writing, but live in the same region I was born. I'm
married, with two grown children.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rollicking adventure 13 Jan 2011
The title suggests there may be a "for fans of the Da Vinci Code" motto somewhere amongst the blurb and it's a relief to report that there isn't. Bernard Cornwell has given this book his approval though so that's got to be good, and indeed any fans of Cornwell's will not be disappointed with this. Sure there are the almost statutory links to the freemasons and cliche follows cliche with lots of derring-do and unlikely escapes and coincidences, but somehow, for me, it hangs together well and complies with all that is required for a light-hearted page turning adventure.
It's a bit like Flashman meets Sharpe to be honest; there is more light hearted japery in this book than in Cornwell's books and more blood and guts action than in Flashman though, so it straddles the divide nicely. I can't vouch for the historical accuracy or not and the story veers off into some more "fanciful" areas in any case, but it stands up well against Dan Brown and his ilk as you don't have to suspend disbelief too much.
It would appear that this book came out in the States three years ago so hopefully the follow ups will come out pretty soon as I for one am waiting eagerly for the next installment. This book won't win any literary prizes but is a good and engaging thriller, just right for dark winter nights or for the beach if you want to wait for summer to enjoy it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Thriller 25 July 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a really great surprise, i like the odd trashy thriller, something to give the old brain a rest between some of the more challenging reads, an a good thriller is usually the way to go.

What should you expect, lots of the usual cliches, and yes this book has them, lots of the usual OTT action that any sane person would either avoid or die in, but our hero survives, but that's not the point of these books, the point is to be OTT and to thrill and excite and this book covers that in spades. It also lends a little more credibility that the average thriller which makes it more readable and it does it without taking it out of the adventure thriller market.

Im really looking forward to more Ethan Gage novels, they make for a fun diverting read.



Description (from back of book)
Revolutionary Paris, 1798. Adventurer Ethan Gage - gambler, sharpshooter and pupil of the late Benjamin Franklin - wins a mysterious medallion in a card game. Within hours he is framed for murder and, facing the grim prospect of either prison or death, he barely escapes France with his life, choosing to accompany the ambitious young general Napoleon Bonaparte on his glorious mission to conquer Egypt.

With Horatio Nelson's fleet following close behind, Gage sets out on the adventure of a lifetime. But even as he hurtles into war, Gage is pursued by shadowy enemies who seem determined to lay their hands on the baffling medallion, and the powers it could unlock, at all costs. In a race against time and terrain, he must find the answer to one of history's greatest riddles, before it is too late...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly surprised by a great adventure 23 Feb 2011
By orgap
Pleasantly surprised by what an excellent book this is. I read it at first for the historical setting and was dubious about the mystery/thriller element, but Dietrich proved himself as the story went on to be such a good writer - very witty and self-aware - that I was won over by the mystery element too. Ethan Gage is also a great character as the accidental but very winning hero, at times quite indignant about his plight but always scraping through.

I was pleased also by the attention to historical detail - or rather, how well Dietrich fits his fictional hero and story into real events (Napoleon's invasion of Egypt) - and impressed by how Dietrich's language alters from lively & amusing dialogue to quite evocative descriptions of the beautiful landscapes Ethan Gage travels through.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a well written and new historical, adventure, or thriller novel.

Already looking forward to the next adventure!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Historical Romp 10 Aug 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Back when it was first published I'd dismissed Napoleon's Pyramids as yet another 'hunt the lost artefact' adventure riding Dan Brown's coat tails and as a consequence avoided it. It turns out that initial judgement was completely unfair (although in my defense it was marketed as being a Brown-esque adventure); Napoleon's Pyramids has absolutely nothing in common with The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons or any other Brown potboiler.

For a start this is an outright period adventure. There's no contemporary plot or mere flashbacks to the past; from page 1 to the end the entire story is set in the 18th Century around Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, and it does a grand job of bringing both the period and the invasion to life. William Dietrich, a journalist, is both a gifted writer and a solid researcher. Napoleon's Pyramids is full of wonderful descriptive passages that evoke both Revolutionary France and pre-Colonial Egypt brilliantly, and solid factual detail regarding Napoleon's military escapades and the real-life characters caught up in them.

Around the evocative prose and various true events Dietrich then manages to weave a highly entertaining adventure story that both holds the reader's attention and keeps piling on the twists and surprises right up to the very end. In Ethan Gage he has created an affable, relatable hero; flawed but competent, tough but not super-human. The author also wisely avoids burdening Gage with unnecessary emotional baggage. This is a romp, and as such doesn't demand a tortured hero. Gage might be prone to self-doubt and have something of the rogue about him, but that's as far as any 'edge' goes. On the whole he remains a jocular, upbeat figure.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Swashbuckling historical adventure based on facts
What a great read! Hugely enjoyable and reads like you're watching the movie, with Indiana jones and the Napoleonic savants. Read more
Published 3 months ago by REO
5.0 out of 5 stars A romp through history
This first Ethan Gage novel was a wonderful discovery. Great style, humour, wit, historical detail and a hero I would go out drinking with any time. Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. D. Kilcommons
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read - part of a set of books
Fascinating read, dealing with napoleons strategy linked with an ancient Egyptian artefact and the search for power, that has been hidden for many years.
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Art history, romance and adventure: A delightful find
20% of the way through "Napoleon's Pyramids", I was back on Amazon downloading every book in the series available on Kindle. Read more
Published on 11 Feb 2012 by Elferrara
4.0 out of 5 stars A great historical novel.
After reading this book I ordered the next (the Rosetta key) one in the series. A fairly well written novel with a good story line. A little slow in places but a good read. Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2012 by Chris
4.0 out of 5 stars Raiders of the lost scrolls
For the first 48% or so of this book (according to my Kindle) this was pretty hard work. I didn't like the protagonist particularly, he seemed virtually indestructible - escaping... Read more
Published on 14 Jan 2012 by Kenneth F. Mcara
2.0 out of 5 stars Started well but...
This started off as an interesting Dan Brown-esque chase but soon, for me, deteriorated when it went into great (and dull) historical detail about Napoleon's Egyptian expedition. Read more
Published on 26 Oct 2011 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Action Adventure
I think someone said this is like Indiana Jones, set with a Napoleonic backdrop, and that would be a fair summing up of the plot. Read more
Published on 10 Sep 2011 by Roger Cave
2.0 out of 5 stars Indianna Jones Again
This was a disappointing read. It is a book for children with a bit of sex thrown in. The plot has so many holes in it that it should have sunk to the bottom of the Nile along... Read more
Published on 30 Aug 2011 by maxdiff
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and such fun
I only just bought my Kindle and chose this amongst my first downloads because I liked the sound of it. Read more
Published on 30 Aug 2011 by Mary
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