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The Ape Who Guards the Balance (Amelia Peabody #10)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  7,331 Ratings  ·  215 Reviews
The Valley of the Kings, 1907. Journey on a perilous adventure into antiquity with Amelia Peabody, fiction's most beloved archaeologist, and her captivating cohorts. Ape has it all -- exotic scenery, brazen tomb robbers, stolen treasures, vengeful gods, a mysterious cult -- and a ruthless, remorseless killer who has his eye on Amelia. So charmed was I by [this book] that I ...more
ebook, 576 pages
Published May 14th 2002 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1998)
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Jamie Collins
Very entertaining. I'm enjoying the later books in this series even more than the earlier ones. I am entirely amused by the teen-aged Ramses, now sometimes addressed as "Mr. Emerson" and sometimes dressed in the height of fashion for an Edwardian English gentleman. But mostly he is in Egypt with his parents and his adopted sister and cousin, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs and investigating murders.

Amelia Peabody is still deservedly the star of the story, but I think the scenes that are writte
Becca Martinson
May 01, 2007 Becca Martinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone- but especially mystery lovers
If you've never read Elizabeth Peters, you should begin with the first in this series (Crocodile in the Sandbank) and work your way up as this is one of the later novels. Amelia Peabody Emerson is a fantastically stereotypical Victorian heroine- snappy, sharp, and utterly convinced of her own take of the world. Set in turn of the 19th/20th Century Egypt against the backdrop of the heyday of the great ancient Egyptian discoveries by the likes of Carter and his cohorts, these books are fast paced, ...more
Another excellent visit with the Emerson-Peabody family! I adore these characters, and the adventures they always get immersed in!

In this outing, the family, now including not only Ramses, but Nefret and David, are back in Egypt for the new season. While they expect a dull season, since Emerson's offending everyone "official" in the excavation game has led to his being given the most boring tombs in the Valley to excavate, as usual with the Emersons, dull is not to be.

Not only do Ramses, Nefret
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
This series is so silly and so completely ridiculous, and I love everything about it. Amelia is such an oblivious and endearing character so much of the time, and it's so great to see all the different ways in which she can claim she 100% knew exactly what was happening the whole time.

This one is great because:
a) it features the return of Sethos, and he cracks me up.
b) I love Manuscript H. Like, a lot. It's hands down my favourite thing about the series.
c) (view spoiler)
Another in this wonderful series of mysteries mainly in Egypt. This mystery saw the return of some old adversaries and also drew on a real life event in Egyptology during this season. As with the last book the younger members of the family come to the fore with insertions into Amelia's narrative from Nefret's letters and Ramses' writings about various events.

As with others in the series this was my audiobook-in-the-car for about six weeks and I then read the corresponding pages on my Kindle at t
Rhonda Pickens
Sep 13, 2015 Rhonda Pickens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone & everyone
I'm in the process of re-reading the entire Amelia Peabody series again, from start to finish in one go. They are still some of my favorite books. They must be read with tongue firmly inserted in cheek. It also helps to have an interest in and some knowledge of Colonial-era exploration narratives, fiction like that of H. Rider Haggard, Orientalist studies, the competitive acquisitive zeal of western museums at the turn of the century, and the "gentlemen archaeologists" of the 19th century who br ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Teri-k rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It probably matters that I'm listening to this series, not reading it, but I'm finding this one a bit confusing and kind of slow. It's not that there isn't plenty going on, but I'm finding I don't really care about it much. Am I burning out and need a break from this series, or is the plot less than compelling? I can't tell.

One of the strengths of this series is all of the fun characters. However, trying to write a book about 6 or more interesting characters is tricky, because a reader wants to
Celia Powell
The character development in this 10th book of the Amelia Peabody series was great fun - I've skipped a couple, and it was lovely to see Ramses & Nefret as adults (and David, whom I'd never met as a child). There's a nice love story, a realistically tense family reaction, arguments between Amelia and her growingly independent children... I enjoyed these aspects of the story. I also liked the excerpts from "Manuscript H", being Ramses' diary, so that we get to see events not solely from Ameli ...more
May 31, 2014 Ladyhawk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
" the characters, they're so colorful, who cares about the plot! " - Barbara Rosenblat. Book ten audio includes a delightful interview with both the author Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Rosenblat the narrator. I couldn't agree more with that quote from Barbara! I too am completely addicted to this series! And Barbara's narration is beyond outstanding. I did read another review that praised her male voices. How she can portray a masculine Emerson so well! And now Ramses! Ah, Beautiful Ramses! I co ...more
Jul 21, 2011 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-in-11
Paused halfway thru to read Heartless. You should go read Heartless too. More to follow.

Okay, now I'm finished. This was a pretty good book. I don't want to go all spoiler-y on you, but there were some surprisingly sad parts to this one. As usual, there were also some funny parts, some educational parts, some dramatic parts, and some parts with characters from previous novels that I had frankly forgotten.

In my opinion, some of these characters were best left forgotten. On the other hand, we tied
Ramses finds himself in a dire situation; Captured and restrained, beaten and bloody, waiting and wondering if a way of escape will present itself when someone arrives ominously at the door.

"His aches and pains were forgotten in anticipation of what was to come next. The figure that stood in the doorway was not that of an enemy; worse. It was that of his mother."

At one point in the story an acquaintance wonders why the Emersons fall into the same kinds of trouble year after year. Peabody respon
Jan 15, 2016 Marti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This particular Emerson and peabody goes back in time to adventures that took place before the young people were married. Sethos is still there.
Mar 18, 2016 Lise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read one other story in the Amelia Peabody series before I read "The Ape Who Guards the Balance" (The Ape). "The Ape" occurs before my previous read. As each story solves its mystery, that was not a problem. Nor did I have difficulty jumping into the overarching story of the Emerson family.

Elizabeth Peters writes about the adventures of the Emerson family and their friends, servants and enemies. The family consists of Amelia Peabody Emerson (matriarch) and Radcliffe Emerson (patriarch). Bo
Robin Kempf
This is silliness and light reading, just as all the books in this series are. It delivers what you expect. The only thing is that this one seemed a bit long to me. Still, lots of unserious fun.
Jan 14, 2015 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
"The Ape Who Guards the Balance" was my first Elizabeth Peters novel, and it's never ideal to start in the middle of a series.
This book started not-so-good. The characters, the plot, and the setting all left me wanting more. Thankfully, the book generally delivered: the setting greatly improved with the relocation to Egypt, which is lively described. I also liked the characters more as the book went on; Peabody, Emerson, Ramses, and Nefret are interesting in their own ways and had good dashes of
Sep 12, 2015 Roxie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, series
A few years back, a friend gave me a bag filled with books. She's a big fan of mystery series, and this was one of the books she gave me.

I quite enjoyed this book. Peabody is a very amusing narrator (if occasionally period-typical racist and classist), and I really loved the interactions between the various members of the Peabody-Emerson clan.

But good gracious, I need to stop diving into series halfway through. While the story stands on its own two feet well enough, it's clearly part of a longer
Sep 21, 2013 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Barbara Mertz:

Thank you for Amelia Peabody and all her hangers' on. You'll be missed.
Aug 31, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though this book (#10 in the Amelia Peabody series) is light on the mystery aspect, I liked how Peters developed the central themes of weighing the heart in the scales of justice, the nature of true love (fraternal, familial, romantic and marital), and the pervasive nature of cultural and racial prejudice. Without giving it all away, she also killed off one of the major characters, whose self-sacrificial death saved Peabody's life. I found it heart-wrenching, but a necessary turning point for th ...more
Meg Morden
I have had a binge of Elizabeth Peters and it has been marvelous! This story finds the Emerson's still working in the Valley of the Kings cleaning out and recording already excavated tombs because "the Father of Curses" has offended one too many people in authority. The themes in this one touch on the Suffragette movement, education for women and racism. We get to see the master criminal at work and meet again Amelia's arch-enemy Bertha. There are some sad parts so get out your hankies at the en ...more
Another fun tale in the world of Amelia Peabody! The mystery itself wasn't as fascinating as some of the others in the series for me but the story here was still wonderful to read. Ramses, Nerfret and David really get pushed to the foreground as they get up to all kinds of trouble now that they're becoming more adults and getting into their own kinds of troubles.

(view spoiler)
Jul 26, 2016 Luseride rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dull year appears to be shaping up for the Emerson. Not a criminal in sight and a year of boring tombs that have already been partially excavated. Of course before they even leave England there is a bit of a ruckus at a suffrage movement where it is supposed the Master Criminal Sethos plays a part.

On to Egypt and a boring start of the season until the secrets the family keeps from each other almost gets Ramses and David in more a pickle than they can handle.

As always the Emerson family are on
Nov 24, 2014 Hope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just wow. I found the previous book disappointing, so it was a long time before I got around to reading/listening to this one. I am so very glad that I did! Ms. Peters just knocked it out of the park on this one.


(view spoiler)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2012 Colleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that it lagged a lot in the middle, but the beginning and ending of the novel made up for the middle of the novel. It isn't even that the middle was bad, but I guess I am so used to the Emersons' being attacked at every turn that when they weren't fighting for their lives every other chapter and with their archaeological finds uninteresting I found myself wishing for something to happen. However Amelia got herself in enough trouble in the end and the kids kept everything interest ...more
Feb 07, 2011 Rach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am beginning to get more and more used to hearing Ramses' perspective, and I definitely appreciate it. The mystery in this particular novel was rather confusing - part of it was centered on this parchment the kids got their hands on, but then it was more about them being abducted. And then you add it the fuss about Akhenaten/Tiya's tomb and the horrible Mr. Davis, and at times it was hard to figure out what the focus was.

So here are some things I did and didn't like from this book: Nefret was
Shan O
UPDATE: After almost 6 weeks of slogging through this horrible book, I finished it just to see it through to the end and to make sure my first impression was correct. I dreaded bedtime each night when I would have this badly-written mystery standing between me and a good night's sleep. I am glad it is over and will not read another one like it! Yuck!

I have just started reading this book, and I loathe it. I hate to be so utterly negative about The Ape Who Guards the Balance, but I have to be. I w
Dec 27, 2011 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 30, 2016 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to this book! First one I picked up on a whimsy and within the first few paragraphs, put it down and went back to find the first one in the series. I was hooked. First time I ever write to an author to let her know how much I enjoyed reading her work. She actually wrote back! I save that note from our dear departed Barbara Mertz - an extraordinary woman. She brought to life Amelia Peabody, my favourite female "detective". Made me want to carry around a sturdy parasol - just in case!
Apr 03, 2016 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just thoroughly love this adventure/detective series. In the recent books, Peters has started to transition the focus of the novel from just Peabody & Emerson to their children. It is so fun to see the family dynamics and how everyone tries to be the star of the show while at the same time working with the others. Everyone has some secrets, but since as the reader I know "all" it is hysterical seeing how they interact. Thoroughly entertaining.
Aug 19, 2016 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, mystery
Another great adventure with Amelia, Emerson, Ramses, Nefret and David. Ramses, Nefret and David are now young adults which exponentially adds to the number of scrapes and adventures that this family find themselves in.

The mystery in this book revolves around a papyrus of the famed Book of the Dead, and includes the suffragist movement, autocratic Egyptian cats, and the reappearance of the Master Criminal. What more could anyone want.
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Elizabeth Peters is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also wrote as Barbara Michaels as well as her own name. Born and brought up in Illinois, she earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. Mertz was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Awards in 1998. She lived in a historic farmhouse in Frede ...more
More about Elizabeth Peters...

Other Books in the Series

Amelia Peabody (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1)
  • The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, #2)
  • The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody, #3)
  • Lion in the Valley  (Amelia Peabody, #4)
  • The Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody, #5)
  • The Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, #6)
  • The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog (Amelia Peabody, #7)
  • The Hippopotamus Pool (Amelia Peabody, #8)
  • Seeing a Large Cat (Amelia Peabody, #9)
  • The Falcon at the Portal (Amelia Peabody, #11)

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“I don't think she realized how much she cared for him, or he for her, until the end. Hasn't someone said a woman may be known by the men who love her enough to die for her? (If they haven't, I claim the credit myself.)” 25 likes
“There was no warning, not even a knock. The door flew open, and he forgot his present aches and pains in anticipation of what lay in store. The figure that stood in the door was not that of an enemy. It was worse. It was his mother.” 24 likes
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