The most recent of the long-running Amelia Peabody series, A River in the Sky, is also unfortunately thus far the weakest for me in the series to date. Like Guardian of the Horizon, it’s one of the “lost journals” of the Emerson saga, going back and filling in gaps of time between previously written books. In this particular case, this one falls after Guardian of the Horizon and before The Falcon at the Portal. Unlike Guardian of the Horizon, however, it doesn’t really have much substance to it. Amelia, Emerson, and the rest of the main cast seem like cursory versions of themselves, and Peters’ writing here has the same issue that I’ve noticed in other recent books (the last few of this series, as well as Book Six of the Vicky Bliss books): to wit, her historical vivacity and spark just are not there.
I really wanted to like this one, too. It does have going for it the fact that it’s set in Palestine, which is a first for a series that beforehand spent the majority of its time in Egypt, with periodic stories in England. There are also several good dramatic scenes where Ramses and David are on the run from the Bad Guys Du Jour, and the obligatory set of colorful side characters. But by and large the Emersons as a group are in reactionary mode rather than really being active all throughout this plot, and there isn’t even much of an archaeological subplot going on to provide interest in the meantime, either.
Overall, I’m sad to react to this one mostly with ‘meh’. I’m enough of an Amelia fan at this point that I’ll keep reading the series for the sake of being a completist, but for everybody else, this one is definitely skippable. Two stars.