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4.5 out of 5 stars23
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As the war years recede, Elizabeth Peters is able to bring the Amelia Peabody and her family back to familiar territory and plots . . . except with everyone older and wiser.
Set in 1922, you won't find many contemporary references. In a way that's good because this book could have occurred in virtually any year from 1860 through to 1935.
Magda Petherick is the first of several people to barge in on Amelia Peabody and her family as the story opens. Mrs. Petherick is the recent widow of Pringle Petherick who has assembled a renowned collection of Egyptian antiquities. Mrs. Petherick reveals one of his last purchases, an unbelievably gorgeous golden head that is supposed to be cursed. She asks that Emerson take charge of putting the head back where it came from in order to avoid the curse. She says she has seen a dark spirit twice and fears that the third time will cost her life.
But Mrs. Petherick is also a famous vampire novelist, and it seems too convenient to be a true story. Could it be simply a publicity stunt?
Those concerns begin to draft away when Mrs. Petherick disappears and Amelia's household is disrupted by regular intrusions that seem aimed at capturing the head.
In the meantime, Amelia persuades Emerson to let Ramses pursue his translation work rather than toiling constantly in excavation work.
Before long, the attacks become more serious . . . and threaten the whole family!
While no single aspect of this story is outstanding, there is considerable balance in the tale. The narration alternates between Amelia and Ramses. About a dozen characters have decent development in the story. I found that the book built momentum as it went on, and I enjoyed the second half more than the first.
Elizabeth Peters does an unusually good job of foreshadowing future stories in the series through Amelia's dreams and little hints of character development to come. For example, Ramses finds that he has made conflicting promises to his wife, Nefret, and to another woman. Which promise will he honor? How will Nefret react in the future if Ramses doesn't keep his word to her? The twins have become four-year-old wunderkinds. You can get a sense of their potential to be like the young Ramses and Nefret in the future. With Emerson and Amelia showing no signs of slowing down, things could become livelier.
One of the problems with recent novels in the series has been that the extended family has become so large that involving them often makes the stories unwieldy. I felt that that problem was greatly reduced in The Serpent on the Crown.
The book's main weakness is that the suspense is pretty modest because the probable villains and their likely motives are too transparent for the book's own good. But in the same way that you can enjoy a pleasant cruise that takes you where you've been before, the journey can still be rewarding . . . and it was.
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Anyone expecting a new plot in an Elizabeth Peters Peabody book is in for a nasty surprise and why should there be a new plot. This is a tried and tested formula from the author.
Amelia Peabody and her famous Egyptologist husband Emerson are back in Egypt for the start of the excavation season. Their son Ramses and his wife and the twins are of course with them.
They are called upon by a lady who gives Emmerson a golden statuette, saying that it is cursed and was the cause of her husbands' death. She was Emmerson to lift the curse from the statue and of course this is where all the skulduggery and mayhem begin.
I was a little taken aback by several attacks on the character of Howard Carter, the man who found the tomb of Tutankhamun, although in recent years his "behaviour" has been brought into question.
Some people may find the authors style of writing tedious, but most people myself included find it amusing and easy reading. This is reflected in the number of books the author has sold.
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on 4 January 2008
Other reviewers have summarised the plot, so I won't do that again.
This novel is the 17th in the series and is exactly what you would expect from Elizabeth Peters. It has all the wit and charm to which one is accustomed. The plot has plenty of twists and turns. In short, no Peabody fan will be disappointed.

An interesting development that appears in this book is appearance of the rumoured tomb of Tutankhamen. This features in the very latest books, and one's excitement grows with vicariously with Emerson's ...
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on 20 September 2007
I am trying to finish this book but finding it hard going, and I am a great amelia fan! I think the series has really run out of steam - as with the Tomb of the Golden Bird, all the storylines and romances of consequence have played themselves out. I would skip these two and re-read an earlier, classic Peabody (the best in the series, in my opinion, is the Falcon at the Portal)...
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Anyone expecting a new plot in an Elizabeth Peters Peabody book is in for a nasty surprise and why should there be a new plot. This is a tried and tested formula from the author.

Amelia Peabody and her famous Egyptologist husband Emerson are back in Egypt for the start of the excavation season. Their son Ramses and his wife and the twins are of course with them.

They are called upon by a lady who gives Emmerson a golden statuette, saying that it is cursed and was the cause of her husbands' death. She was Emmerson to lift the curse from the statue and of course this is where all the skulduggery and mayhem begin.

I was a little taken aback by several attacks on the character of Howard Carter, the man who found the tomb of Tutankhamun, although in recent years his "behaviour" has been brought into question.

Some people may find the authors style of writing tedious, but most people myself included find it amusing and easy reading. This is reflected in the number of books the author has sold.
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on 29 July 2010
This book arrived within days of orderering. It is in good condition. I have purchased 16 books in this series - one - this title - did not arrive with my origianl order so I reordered and am completely happy with this copy and looking forward to reading it. I am on the 9th in the series of 19 and would recommend them to anyone who likes tame murder/mysteries and has even a passing interest in Egypt. It has fuelled my interest and I have since bought other related books and DVDs! A great series.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 February 2014
Amelia and co. are once more caught up in murder and mayhem in post-war Luxor. With multiple suspects and fabulous treasure tempting said suspects it is up to Amelia to sort it out. This is another amusing addition to the series and an easy way to spend a few hours.
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on 14 December 2013
I am mad about Egypt and its history and to have such wonderful characters and animals just makes its perfect. I have them all on my Kindle and woud now like tohave the actual books as I would read them again.
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on 26 March 2014
Elizabeth Peters characters are enchanting 2warts and all2. Her plots are involved and fun to follow. I read her books a number of times and always find something new while enjoying meeting old friends again.
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on 25 January 2013
Great Series of books I am loving everyone, just keep downloading onto my kindle, great thing about the kindle, you can download a new book whenever you want to
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