A ride to Egypt with Amelia Peabody

When you think of Egypt, what's the first thought that comes to your mind? 

Pyramids? Egypt's famous for pyramids. The country has lots of them. 

Mummies? Of course. With great pyramids comes scary mummies. They were terrifying in 'The Mummy' movies we watched in our childhood. The popular TV series Hatim also had a plot exploring a similar story. 

The Pyramids and tombs of Egypt are fascinating. Centuries-old tombs of kings and their beautiful wives, having their reliefs on the walls of the chambers. It makes you wonder about their life, their beliefs, and their rituals. The tombs are also decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology. 

There's so much to know about Egyptian mythology and their old culture. A simple search on the web will give you a vast amount of information that will be enough to keep you occupied for years. But the best way to learn about them is through a story. A story told by a writer who has a Ph.D. in Egyptology. A writer so popular that the library had to keep her books under lock and key. A story whose heroine is also known as female Indian Jones. A story where a thoroughly Victorian feminist takes the stuffy world of archaeology by storm with her shocking man's pants and no-nonsense attitude. Finally, a story that will take you on an adventurous ride to Egypt through the eyes of a charming and witty personality, Amelia Peabody

Barbara Mertz, under her pen name Elizabeth Peters, wrote 20 novels with Amelia Peabody as a protagonist. She had two children named Peter and Elizabeth, that's where her pen name comes from. It can be clearly seen from the novels that she had a deep knowledge of the history of Egypt, the pyramids, archaeology and was fascinated by it. Might not be it, that in a way Amelia Peabody is what Barbara wishes she could have been? Traveling around the world, exploring and studying what she can to find the answers to her questions and feed it to her never-ending curiosity? I definitely feel so. If you decide to read this book, it's very much possible you will agree with me. 

First book of Amelia Peabody series written by Elizabeth Peters

 The first book of the series, Crocodile on the Sandbank was published in 1975. In answer to your rousing curiosity about the unique title of the book, I should tell that it's from the ancient Egyptian love poem. In fact, all the books in the Amelia Peabody series have titles related to ancient Egyptian texts. 

     The love of my beloved is on yonder side
          A width of water is between us
    And a crocodile waiteth on the sandbank

 Set in the late 19th century, it is told through Peabody's point of view. Though the characters and the story are fictional, the places mentioned are real. Amelia writes events of her life in her journal. Writing a story as a journal of the main character is an art in itself. By taking this route, Elizabeth Peters introduces us to the humorous side of Amelia Peabody. She amuses characters and readers alike with her antics and attitude. Amelia comes across as someone who is straightforward. One who speaks what's in her mind, but also knows not to offend anyone unnecessarily and when to keep her mouth shut. 

My favourite part of reading this book is how it takes us to the Victorian Era (1820-1914) by showing us the rich culture of Britain.  However, it was limited to the clothing and fashion trends that emerged during that period.  

It also reminded me of this!

How can it not? The Mummy movies have been one of my favourite movies of all time. Ask anyone to name their favourite childhood movies and I'm sure that The Mummy series will be on the list along with of course Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle.

  I just loved Rachel Weisz's portrayal of Evelyn. She was my childhood crush. Beautiful, daring, and curious. And hence when I read this book, I always imagined Rachel Weisz as Amelia Peabody. They are a lot of similarities between the two. Even more, Emerson Redcliffe, the love interest of Amelia Peabody also possesses similar characteristics to that of Richard O'Connell, our hero in The Mummy series. 

Now I get it that for some readers, getting into this book might be really tough. It does start slow and takes it to take you on a journey to Egypt. Non-fiction lovers might enjoy the initial part more than anyone. But the book offers so much for both genre lovers.  But once you're past that, there is fun, action, romance, and suspense that will keep you guessing till the end.

I had a really great time reading this book and also learning about the Pyramids and Egyptian mythology in general in the process. I also took some time to search the places mentioned in the book to get to know them better. It has got me hyped up to read the next books in the series.

I've decided that I will be reading at least one book per year from the Amelia Peabody series. Like what I do with Agatha Christie's novels. I Will keep you posted on the latest books I read in this series. 

Do let me know if you've read any of the books from the Amelia Peabody series and what did you like the most about them.

Amelia Peabody Series books

1. The Crocodile on the Sandbank - https://amzn.to/3x0Sx8a

2. The Curse of the Pharaohs - https://amzn.to/3vZDRop

3. The Mummy case - https://amzn.to/3w47QvB