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The Amelia Peabody series is a set of historical mystery novels written by University of Chicago-trained Egyptologist Barbara Mertz under the pen name Elizabeth Peters. The books follow an unusual female Egyptologist named Amelia Peabody Emerson as she carries on in a career and family life centered around excavations in Egypt (and time back home in England).
There are twenty novels in the series, with the final volume completed posthumously by fellow writer Joan Hess in 2017. There's also one non-fiction companion book, Amelia Peabody's Egypt, offering background information about her world.
All of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody Books in Order
Since it's easy to get lost as you're moving through the series – and many bookstores and websites don't arrange them neatly in order – we wanted to offer up a list of all the books in the series in order. We've also included brief summaries to help you figure out where you left off, along with links to a variety of formats and bookseller options.
Book 1: Crocodile on the Sandbank
The first book in the series sees the independently wealthy Englishwoman Amelia Peabody embarking on her first excursion to Egypt. She's unique for her time, and considers herself a spinster. Grabbing a companion (Evelyn), she heads off, encountering a pair of archaeologist brothers along the way.
Her journey will give her mystery and romance in equal measure – however unlikely it might seem at first.
Book 2: The Curse of the Pharaohs
This volume sees Egyptologist Amelia Peabody in 1892, now a wife and mother. They've settled down in England with son Ramses, and all is well until they're approached by a woman whose husband died after uncovering a possible royal tomb in Luxor.
Book 3: The Mummy Case
In this book, Amelia and her husband are excavating mounds of rubble in the middle of nowhere after being denied the right to dig at the pyramids of Dahshoor. It all seems a bit pointless until an a nearby antiquities dealer is murdered in his own shop.
Book 4: Lion in the Valley
Now 1895-1896, this one sees Amelia and her husband back in Dahshoor with their precocious 8-year-old son Ramses. It's all going rather well until he's abducted.
Book 5: The Deeds of the Disturber
Back in London, Amelia discovers the death of a museum night watchman might be related to a mummy's curse.
Book 6: The Last Camel Died at Noon
Now in 1897, this book is a bit of a departure from the rest of the series. While most are more traditional mysteries, this one is a satire of traditional adventure novels. It sees Amelia and family travel to the Sudan on a rescue mission, only to find themselves in need of rescue.
Book 7: The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog
In 1898, Amelia and Emerson embark on a dig that sees them becoming the targets of an evil plot. When Emerson is kidnapped, Amelia rescues him, only to discover he's lost his memory.
Book 8: The Hippopotamus Pool
When a masked stranger offers to show them a lost tomb, Amelia and her husband Radcliffe are intrigued. Before he can tell his secret, the man disappears – and they'll have to follow in his footsteps to unravel the mystery.
Book 9: Seeing a Large Cat
Egypt, 1903. Amelia is embarking on her ninth adventure. According to an ancient papyrus, it's good luck to dream of a large cat. That's just what Amelia and her husband will need as they embark on a journey involving a fraudulent spiritualists, a mysterious warning to her husband, and murder.
Book 10: The Ape Who Guards the Balance
Now 1907, Amelia foils a kidnapping attempt in London, only to lead her family into a web of cults and stolen treasures down in Cairo. When a papyrus Book of the Dead falls into their hands and the corpse of a stolen antiquities dealer is found floating in the Nile, things begin to look very bleak for our heroine and her family.
Book 11: The Falcon at the Portal
Now in Egypt for the 1911 season, Amelia is expecting (against all odds) a relatively peaceful dig. Unfortunately, a young friend is accused of selling artifacts, and it's up to them to find the real culprit.
Book 12: He Shall Thunder in the Sky
Now facing the eve of World War I, Amelia faces grave danger in Cairo, now under British martial law. Her fighting age son Ramses is taunted for his pacifism, and the Emersons' excavations reveal a treasure that seems to remarkable to be true. Could something – or someone – more sinister be involved?
Book 13: Lord of the Silent
Now in the 1915-16 season, this entry follows the young newlywed Ramses spending time living on the family's dahabeeyah along the Nile as excavations continue.
Book 14: The Golden One
It's 1917 now, and the Great War shows no signs of slowing. Returning to Luxor, Amelia and her family learn of a royal tomb that's been ransacked by thieves. Even more disturbing is the discovery of freshly slain thief in an ancient burial site.
Book 15: Children of the Storm
World War I is over, and Amelia and her husband Emerson are preparing for another excavation season in Egypt. They're grandparents now, and they're hoping for a quiet year. Unfortunately, this new phase in life brings a new adversary – one unlike anything she's ever encountered.
Book 16: Guardian of the Horizon
This book doubles back to 1907 to explore what the Emersons were doing before the Great War. They're heading back to the Lost Oasis, this time with a larger force and an awareness that it will no longer be a secret. As they might have expected, the bring unexpected guests – and not all of them have pure intentions.
Book 17: The Serpent on the Crown
We're back to the “present”, this time in 1921-1922. The Emersons hear of a man's mysterious death, and the widow is convinced it's a curse. She hopes they'll return the cursed statue to its rightful home before she too becomes a victim.
Book 18: Tomb of the Golden Bird
In search of King Tut, Amelia and her husband appear to have hit a wall. They're banned from the East Valley, and Emerson tries desperately to persuade Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter to relinquish their digging rights. Unfortunately, his efforts make them even more determined to keep them out.
Book 19: A River in the Sky
As we near the end of the series, this volume goes back to 1910 and takes Amelia and her family away from Egypt and over to Palestine. They're determined to unearth the Ark of the Covenant, but they're also busy keeping tabs on Morley for the British intelligence services.
Book 20: The Painted Queen
The final Amelia Peabody novel sees our heroine and family in Egypt in 1912. This time, they're searching for the priceless, stolen bust of Queen Nefertiti – but it's not without complications. Amelia finds herself the target of a would-be assassin, but she has no idea who saved her from his attempt.
Have You Read the Amelia Peabody Novels?
What do you think of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody novels? Have you read the entire series, or did you feel it lost something as it went on? If you haven't read them, will you? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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