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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.
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on 12 September 2017
The four main characters are present and in full fighting mode. It's pretty obvious to most of us that the summons is a ruse. There is plenty of action but not so very much digging nor discovering of ruins or ancient artifacts. It took me a little while to get into this book because I wasn't sure I wanted to take a step back in the series, but once the action began I thoroughly enjoyed it. The good guys all escape to fight another day...
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on 10 September 2013
Try to read it chronological order. Now that that the author has sadly died, these ought to be renumbered which could be confusing would prevent the INFURIATION of reading these retrospective novels. The Nefret - Ramses situation loses its power when you know what happens (because it has already happened) and any tension is ruined, We know they all survive because they all survive. I know the penultimate book is the same and it will drive me nuts.

PUBLISHERS - GET A PEABODY CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER GOING!
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on 22 August 2017
I love this series of books they are very entertaining.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 January 2007
... but chronologically this actually is set in the time between 'Ape' and 'Falcon': personally it's not a favourite as the Emerson's go back to the lost tribe in the Sudanese desert where they found Nefret. But the character development with Ramses is great - very illuminating! Peters probably enjoyed moving back to a time when all the Emersons were younger... not her most successful book, but still warm, witty and entertaining.
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on 17 May 2004
As usual Elizabeth Peters provides a great mix of humour, pathos, gripping adventure and farce.
This book is perhaps a bit of a slow starter compared to others in the Amelia Peabody series but it more than makes up for it once the action really begins.
For those who are already familiar with the series, we are taking a jump back in time from her last book,"Children of the Storm". The Editor has 'discovered a hitherto unknown journal covering the missing 1907-1908 season.' This puts it directly after the book "The Ape Who Guards the Balance".
Amelia and her archeologist husband Emerson are tricked into making a return journey to the "Holy City" in the Nubian desert (see The Last Camel Died at Noon) accompanied by their son Ramses and their ward Nefret along with their faithful henchmen Selim and Daoud. They go to great lengths to accomplish the journey in secret since they had sworn never to reveal the location of the city. However, they end up with a whole bevy of opponents on their trail, giving us plenty of suspects to choose from when things start to go wrong.
Arriving at the city they find that they have not been forgotten by it's inhabitants. In fact, the honour in which they are held provides the basis for one of the funniest moments of the story.
Ramses really comes into his own in this book. We know from the volumes covering later years that he is a bit of a hero, but here, at the age of 20 he really starts to show his true nature. All good Indian Jones type stuff. Those of you who sigh over his silent devotion to Nefret are in for a bit of a shock.
Emerson, of course, remains "the greatest archeologist of this or any other century" whilst at the same time acting like the hero of some Greek legend. Amelia keeps him in line wielding her trusty parasol and working out the answers to the mysteries surrounding them with her usual incisive thought processes.
All in all it's a romp that keeps you breathless and grinning insanely right to the end.
As usual with any of the books in this series, reading it leaves you with a smile on your face and a great impatience for the next instalment. I can read these books over and over again and never tire of them.
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on 21 May 2004
This book was all that fans of Elizabeth Peter's have come to expect and you will not be disappointed! It is interesting to return to the Oasis and find out what happened to the characters there. However, it is rather disconcerting to go backwards. Now that we know what happens to Ramses and Nefret it is odd to go back and see Ramses having an early affair. Of course it could be said that filling up the gaps does offer a chance to look at the seeds of their future relationaship in more depth and develop their characters. I do however, look forward to continuing on from Children of the Storm......
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 April 2007
These books are a delight for the reader. Anyone who has not read any of them should start right now. They whisk you back to the days of gentile living. Where everything stops for tea and of course it would be unthinkable for the men not to dress for dinner. Although Emerson, father of Ramses and beloved husband of Amelia will do almost anything in his power to avoid it.

The mannerisms of the characters constantly make me chuckle inwardly as I am reading. The author has what can only be described as a unique writing style, that may be an acquired taste, but for me is poetry.

When I first started reading the book I initially wondered if I had read it before. Mainly because it briefly covers events that have happened in previous books. The reason for this is that some of Peabody's previously lost notes have now been found. A clever trick by the author to extend the series of books. Otherwise Emerson and Peabody would now be in their nineties and incapable of venturing to Egypt, never mind partaking in the archaeological digs and chasing criminals, that they seem to do at every opportunity.

In this book the family go back to the secret Oasis where they originally found and rescued Nefret (now Emerson and Amelia's foster daughter) in a secret stronghold that had been lost to civilisation for centuries. [The Last Camel Died at Noon]. They had kept the exact location a secret that only the family knew. But now they have received information that their old friend and ruler of the stronghold Prince Tarek is in danger and desperately needs their help.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 February 2014
I have been reading these books in order of publication so it is strange to go back in time to before Nefret and Ramses are together after just reading about their children in the previous novel but it does throw new light on their behaviour. This book is very much about adventure rather than family life/emotions and is an absolute ripping yarn. They are lured back to the Lost Oasis under false pretences and then get involved in the civil war happening there. Amelia has never been as inventive, Nefret so subdued, Emerson so masterful but Ramses is as adventurous and daring as ever. It's great fun and not to be taken seriously.
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VINE VOICEon 2 July 2004
An excellent read, as always, but hampered slightly in being set some years before the later books in the series; having read the books following it (chronologically, that is) it is mildly irritating to come back to Ramses' agonising over Nefret again.
But still, the plot's as intricate and clever as always, and - as always - it kept me up well into the night.
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