I have a girl-crush on Elizabeth Peters. She set a murder mystery at a romance novel writers’ convention; she spoofs H. Rider Haggard and Gothic novels; she made one of her characters lament “the first sour grape in the fruit salad of togetherness”. The woman cracks me up. However, I thought that Children of the Storm should have been the last in the Amelia Peabody series (it gave me the pleasing feeling that the series had come full circle), and I have not cared much about the books that came after that.
But I liked River in the Sky. It is set in Palestine in 1910 (so right before Falcon at the Portal) and deals with that thing of the Germans trying to get all buddy-buddy with the Muslim world in the run-up to World War I. I have been interested in this ever since Jill reviewed Like Hidden Fire, which is a nonfiction book on this very topic. The Emersons become involved in all sorts of intrigue and deception with German spy rings in Palestine. Ramses gets into a scrape (as he does), and David goes after him (as he does), and, well, it just felt like reading one of the old books for the first time. In a good way!
My one thing was, where was Nefret all this time? She hardly had anything to do! I mean I do not care about Nefret, but if she’s not going to have anything to do, I say leave her home. She could be, I don’t know, hanging out with Lia all summer. Learning sexy religious dances in the Lost Oasis. Studying medicine. I don’t care, actually, what Nefret gets up to when she’s offscreen, but if she’s going to be around, she should have a role in the plot.
I should really go read Like Hidden Fire. I bought it in hardback for fifty cents at the Jefferson Parish book sale.
In order to create some transition, however awkward, INTO MY GRIEF AND PAIN, let me reiterate that Children of the Storm would have been a good place to stop writing books in sequence. Children of the Storm took place in 1919 and 1920, and 1920 is the same year that Justice John Paul Stevens was born (on 20 April, the day of the year I call Day Most Likely for College-Age Me to Get a Headache Because the Jackass Sitting in Front of Me is Countercultural Enough to Smoke Pot on 4/20 Day But Not Countercultural Enough to Just Skip Class), and y’all, JOHN PAUL STEVENS IS LEAVING THE SUPREME COURT.
I am very sad about it, and I believe he will be difficult to replace. On the other hand, it makes total sense that this should happen now. Descriptors I would use for John Paul Stevens include: brilliant, old, was in a war, liberal-leaning, and wears a bow tie. You know who else I would describe using all of those words?
See, the world plainly has room for only one brilliant ancient war-veteran liberal-leaning bowtie-wearer at a time, and Justice Stevens has recognized that his time is over. How else can you explain the timing?