Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
"Conquer by confusion, I always say"
on 1 June 2004
There comes a time in every series that covers a large number of years when it isn't possible to go further without the main characters discovering the secret of eternal life. Elizabeth Peters' Emersons - Egyptologists, amateur sleuths, and eccentrics par excellence - have reached a point where the era they chronicle is gradually coming to a close. Trust Peter's to find a solution, though, a new cache of papers that document the 'missing years' of the family's madcap career across the tombs and monuments of Egypt.
Set just previous to the blossoming of Ramses' relationship with Nefret, 'Guardian of the Horizon' documents the return to the 'Lost Oasis,' a last hidden survival of ancient Egypt - the Meroitic civilization that the Emerson's first discovered in the Sudan ('The Last Camel Died at Noon'). Readers will recall that the Holy City was where the Emerson's found Nefret, whom they late adopted. Now, ten years later, Merasen, a young noble, appears in England with a message from Tarek, king of the Lost Oasis, and a close friend of the family. There is illness in the Sudan and it threatens the survival of this hidden civilization. Amelia, Emerson, Ramses, and Nefret quickly set out.
For Amelia and Emerson, setting out on a secret journey means that only half of Egypt knows that something is up. As soon as word gets out that they intend to return to the Sudan to 'excavate,' a whole host of shady characters a drawn by the legends of hidden treasure that are rumored to be at the Lost Oasis. Of course, that means trouble, and the journey to the Sudan is marred by violence, intrusion, and countless twists and turns as the Emerson's carry out one elusive maneuver after another.
When they finally arrive at their destination they discover that nothing is as they expected. Instead of a sick king, they find themselves embroiled in a series of adventures that mix politics, religion, and, of course, just a bit of treasure. While a bit slow in developing, the book builds to a classic Peters' finish, with the Emerson's concocting on scheme after another as they try to extricate themselves unharmed and save the kingdom at the same time.
Elizabeth Peters does a fine job of returning the reader to the Emerson's past without recreating what was originally one of the family's most irritating periods. Instead, the writer allows Amelia and company just enough additional maturity to keep the story interesting without the extreme vaudeville that marked her work at that time. While any reader knows that a certain amount of the experience of reading one of the Emerson stories is rolling one's eyes at some of the more hysterical displays, that has been kept to a low roar. I enjoyed the book, and think that any other fan will do so as well.