A few of us were discussing the lovely Amelia Peabody series on Twitter, focused mainly around The Last Camel Died at Noon (book #6). That book is an important one in the overall story, but most of us found it quite slow. The Last Camel Died at Noon ranked quite low for many of us in a list of our favorite Peabody stories.
And because I've been sitting here, languishing on the couch unable to even type, I've been mentally compiling my favorites list. And here are the 19 Amelia books ranked in order of my preference. To find the order of publication, visit AmeliaPeabody.com. In the book list, you can also find the chronological order (archaeological season), as some of the later books were published as "lost journal" books and are published out of order.
If you haven't read any of the books, definitely start with the first one. I think they appeal to both mystery and romance readers. If you've started with a book other than the first one, go back! Although most of these stand alone, part of the charm is watching the characters evolve from one book to the next.
- Crocodile on the Sandbank — With a series like this, the first novel where the characters are introduced is always special. I love the characters, I love the mystery, but I really adore watching Emerson and Amelia fall for each other.
- Curse of the Pharaohs — I can sum this book up with one word: Ramses. He doesn't appear in much of the book, but the few scenes he has are show-stealers
- He Shall Thunder in the Sky— This one resolves the misunderstandings surrounding Falcon at the Portal. Add in the very compelling WWI spy plot and this is probably the most suspenseful and moving book of the series.
- Snake, Crocodile, and the Dog— Instead of falling for the temptation of messing up Amelia and Emerson's rock solid marriage, Peters goes for an unusual twist here. And has the two fall in love all over again as a result of Emerson's temporary amnesia. It sounds cheesy, but really worked for me. Plus the dynamic between Abdullah and Amelia changes for the better with this book.
- The Ape Who Guards the Balance — I'm not usually a fan of sad scenes, but the death of a well loved character in this book makes me sob every time. And I love it. Plus, there's Sethos. I adore Sethos.
- Seeing a Large Cat— Ramses returns from a summer spent with David in the desert...as a young man (much to Amelia's consternation.) This is the first time he seems adult to the reader. Much of the humor is provided by Amelia as she struggles to come to terms with Ramses' maturity. And it's the first glimpses we get of Manuscript H as well.
- Lion in the Valley —Sethos kidnaps Amelia. And hoo-boy is it ever funny. Plus we get some over the top Errol Flynn type action at the end.
- The Mummy Case —Sethos, Ramses, and some silly plots
- Falcon at the Portal — I struggled with ranking this one. In some ways, this is my least favorite of the Peabody books. There is a romantic story arc that is unresolved. Nefret seems to act wildly out of character. Personally, the Emerson family is in shambles. But because it's an integral part of the story, and because it manages to get me in the gut every time I read it, it ranks fairly high.
- The Hippopotamus Pool—I liked the introduction of David, here. And the reintroduction of Evelyn and Walter who virtually disappear after the first book in the series.
- Guardian of the Horizon— This was one pubbed out of order, but I really enjoyed it. We see Ramses have other romantic interests and grow up a little. Plus it isn't as slow as Last Camel, even though it is set in the same location.
- The Last Camel Died at Noon— Compared with the rooted-in-research feel of the rest of the series, this one feels a bit more fantastic and unbelievable. Lost civilizations and a ponderious desert journey...A needed book for the introduction of Nefret, but definitely not a favorite of mine.
- Children of the Storm—I loved the twins in this one. Watching Ramses experience fatherhood is priceless considering the challenging child he was.
- Deeds of the Disturber— Ok, call me prejudiced, but I just didn't like the one and only Peabody book set in England. Ramses keeps this from being boring, but I wanted my Egypt back.
- Tomb of the Golden Bird—Admittedly not the best Peabody book, I enjoyed following Carter as he finds the tomb of King Tut.
- Lord of the Silent—A fun book with lots of Ramses and Nefret, but it seemed like EP had a hard time balancing page time with Peabody and Emerson.
- The Golden One—I like all of the WWI Peabody books, but I felt that this one was just too short and didn't have enough Amelia.
- A River in the Sky—Not set in Egypt, the mystery is less than mysterious, and it's another "lost journals" book. My reaction was a decided "meh."
- Serpent on the Crown— I can't even remember what this one is about. I remember being disappointed, though.