THE APE WHO GUARDS THE BALANCE by Elizabeth Peters

THE APE WHO GUARDS THE BALANCE

KIRKUS REVIEW

Tenth in this long-running, long-winded series (Seeing a Large Cat, 1997, etc.) finds Egyptologists Professor and Amelia Emerson, their clever, stoic son Ramses, adopted daughter Nefret, and Ramses— friend David, lovingly accepted as a member of the family, preparing to return to Egypt after a stay in London marred by a crude attempt to kidnap Amelia—engineered, in Ramses— view, by their old, elusive enemy Sethos. The Professor’s officially assigned task this 1906 season is to clean out some previously opened, not very important tombs, while rival Theodore Davis has been given the exploration of what is probably a royal burial site. Soon after the family returns to Luxor, Ramses and Davis, in native disguise, go on the prowl for news of Sethos, purchasing along the way a fine papyrus scroll from one Yassuf Mahmud, then getting attacked in the process and rescued by prostitute Layla. The discovery, days later, of Mahmud’s mutilated body floating in the Nile is just the beginning of a series of grotesque happenings—all sandwiched between dinner parties and a visit from Emerson’s brother Walter, with wife Evelyn and their daughter Lia, who’s madly in love with David, as Ramses is with Nefret (in tight-lipped silence, of course). The body count rises and so does Emerson’s fury at Davis’s careless handling of his very important find. There are further attacks on Amelia and fleeting appearances by Sethos. By the time the major source of evil is uncovered, it’s just one more unconvincing twist in the tangled plot. The author’s mixture much as before: a fun trip for readers with an interest in Egyptology; for others, a confusing, fussily written, long, long trek.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1998
ISBN: 0-380-97657-9
Page count: 376pp
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998




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