Trouble is brewing in Egypt at the close of 1914 and no one will escape the fury of the tempest to come. With the world around them at war, Amelia Peabody and her husband Radcliffe Emerson have returned to Cairo for another season of archaeological excavation ' despite the increasing danger of an attack on the Suez Canal and on Egypt itself.
A terrible conflict looms. A long-simmering love affair is resolved. A dastardly plot twists like a serpent writhing in the desert sun. There is no escaping the onrushing hurricane that now threatens the Emersons and their world ' so Amelia plunges right into it.
"The latest superb installment in this renowned series is one of Peters's best. Amelia Peabody Emerson and her husband are the sort of dauntless archeologists who would never let a minor event like a world war distract them from their work.... Despite having produced 11 previous tales of Egyptological mystery and detection, Peters still writes a deeply satisfying story that combines elements of espionage, mystery and romance. Some big surprises are in store for readers while Peters deftly ties her subplots together, but a few threads are left dangling enticingly at the end, leaving fans to expect another installment in this extraordinary series."
"Filled with intrigue and nail-biting suspense...rich with detail and realism...ripe with tension and peril."
THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
"It's hard not to like the characters we've watched evolve over the years in the Amelia Peabody series: genteel Amelia, who dresses the part of a lady but has a sword hidden in her umbrella; brave, blustering Emerson, aptly named 'Father of Curses' by the Egyptians with whom he works on his archaeological digs; Ramses, their courageous, quick-witted son; and adopted children Nefret and David. In this episode, which takes place in 1915, the family's annual excavations in Egypt are overshadowed by the specter of world war.... The climate is ripe for spies, and it isn't long before the Emerson clan is up to its eyebrows in intrigue.... Peters works in drama galore, plus the usual shots of wry humor and local color. There's also some unexpected closure when long-held secrets unravel and broken ties are mended ' all of which will leave series fans wondering what's to come next.
"Intelligent plotting, engaging characters and stylish writing, and we can hardly ask for anything more ' except another entry in the series."
"Kicks up a desert storm....[Peters] mixes hilarity with the history lesson."
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April 02, 2001
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Excerpt from He Shall Thunder in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
The wind flung the snow against the windows of the coach, where it stuck in icy curtains. The boy's breath formed pale clouds in the darkness of the interior. No foot warmer or lap robe had been supplied, and his threadbare, outgrown overcoat was not much protection against the cold. He felt sorry for the horses, slipping and laboring through the drifts. He'd have pitied the coachman, too, perched on the open box, if the man hadn't been such a sneering swine. One of her creatures, like the other servants, as hard-hearted and selfish as their mistress. The chilly night was no colder than the welcome he anticipated. If his father hadn't died ... A lot of things had changed in the past six months.
The coach jolted to a stop. He opened the window and looked out. Through the swirls of snow he saw the lighted panes of the lodge. Old Jenkins was in no hurry to open the gates. He wouldn't dare delay too long, though, or she would hear of it. Finally the door of the lodge opened and a man shambled out. It wasn't Jenkins. She must have dismissed him, as she had often threatened to do. The lodge keeper and the coachman exchanged insults as the former unbarred the gates and pushed them open, straining against the weight of the snow. The coachman cracked his whip, and the tired horses started to move.
The boy was about to close the window when he saw them, shapes of moving darkness that gradually took on human form. One was that of a woman, her face hidden by a bonnet, her long skirts dragging. She leaned heavily on her companion. He was not much taller than she, but he moved with a man's strength, supporting her swaying form. As the coach approached, without slackening speed or changing direction, he pulled her out of its path, and the carriage lamps illumined his face. It would have been hard to tell his age; snow blurred the pale features that were twisted into a demonic grimace. His eyes met those of the staring occupant of the coach; then he pursed his lips and spat.
"Wait!" The boy put his head out the window, blinking snowflakes off his lashes. "Confound it, Thomas -- stop! You -- come back... ."
The vehicle lurched, throwing him to the floor. Raging, he scrambled up and thumped on the closed aperture. Either Thomas did not hear him or -- more likely -- he ignored the shouted orders. A few minutes later the vehicle stopped in front of the house. He jumped out and ran up the steps, breathless with anger and haste. The door was locked. He had to swing the heavy knocker several times before it opened. The butler's face was unfamiliar. So she'd got rid of poor old William too. He had been with the family for fifty years... .
The entrance hall was semicircular, in the classical style -- marble columns and marble floor, shell-shaped niches in the curved walls. While his father lived, the alabaster urns in the niches had been filled with holly and pine branches at this season. Now they were empty, the pure white of walls and floor unrelieved. In the door to the drawing room his mother stood waiting.
She wore her widow's weeds well. Black suited her fair hair and ice-blue eyes. The soft, lightless fabric fell in graceful folds to her feet. Unmoving, her hands clasped at her waist, she looked at him with unconcealed distaste.