Reading books in a series helps to develop the equivalent of friendships that can cause a degree of separation anxiety when the books are finished. Many authors write their books to stand independently, yet reference previous books in order to build relationships with their readers. Series with twenty or so books that take a longer period of time to read cause the characters to become more real to the reader.
The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters has just accomplished this in my life. I have just finished listening to the series in audio book format read by Barbara Rosenblat, and almost feel like I had finished watching a movie. Years ago, I had read one or two of this series and had enjoyed them so when I found the entire series and could listen to them in order I jumped at the opportunity.
Listening to Amelia and Emerson meeting and falling in love was great. However, the real treat was listening to them develop and grow old together in their pursuits as archeologists and detectives.
Egyptology has never been a great interest of mine, yet it seemed to come alive as I travelled to and from England to Egypt with this family that attracted all manner of mishaps yearly.
Each of the nineteen books that I read covered a year in this family’s life and inevitably they would find themselves in the middle of theft, murder and mayhem. It seemed quite natural for this family to not educate their children in a conventional manner, to adopt children that no one else seemed to want, and to do it all while excavating some obscure portion of land because they had been banished from the Valley of the Kings.
While other archaeologists were digging in the Valley of the Kings and finding very little of interest, the Emerson’s would stumble on some out-of-the-way temple or tomb of very high significance. They treated their national staff with honor and respect and they highly respected that they were guests in someone else’s country.
This author not only gave me a marked appreciation for archaeology, but also a lesson in how to learn to love and respect a host country. I love to travel and have always hoped that this is the way that I act in a foreign country.
Listening to Barbara read the voice of young Ramses as a very small child, then grow with him over the years in subsequent books was not only enjoyable, but was astonishing. I feel like I can “remember” this little boy grow up and into manhood. To feel the heat and dryness of the desert was enjoyable as well, especially in the rainy, cold winter months where I truly reside.
I enjoyed, as well, the interaction between Amelia and Emerson. Both, so rough and gruff in public yet so passionate and loving in private. I saw a different side to the Victorian era in this family and loved it.
These folks have become friends that I will cherish just as I cherish my flesh and blood friends. I have learned from them and they have enriched my life. Thank you, Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Rosenblat.
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