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Napoleon's Pyramids

(Ethan Gage #1)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  4,121 ratings  ·  458 reviews
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author William Dietrich introduces readers to the globe-trotting American adventurer Ethan Gage in Napoleon’s Pyramids—an ingenious, swashbuckling yarn whose action-packed pages nearly turn themselves. The first book in Dietrich’s fabulously fun New York Times bestselling series, Napoleon’s Pyramids follows the irrepressible Gage—a brot ...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Harper (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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 ·  4,121 ratings  ·  458 reviews

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Will Byrnes
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a fast-paced, fun-and-danger romp through Europe and Egypt in the time, and in the company of, Napoleon. Great fun, would make a wonderful film. Ethan Gage is a free spirit, a gambler, an American, formerly an aide to Benjamin Franklin, possessor of one of those newfangled American long rifles. After winning an intriguing medallion in a card game, his life becomes a little too interesting, as he must flee for his life, avoiding newfound enemies and acquiring friends (one in particular of ...more
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
I see this book has not been rated very highly, so I thought I would throw in my opinion. I read for pleasure pure and simple. At the risk of sounding shallow, I'm not looking for meaning, although it's nice when I find it. I just like a great story which allows me to escape from life for a while. I must admit I am sucker for a great adventure story. As a fan of outsider protagonists I find Ethan Gage refreshingly new, while familiar at the same time. The historical setting also lends a familiar ...more
Dec 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Through most of Napoleon's Pyramids I wavered between irritated and fascinated. Though I ended on the intrigued side, there was enough wrong with this story that I'll probably not read more of the series.

By now the Freemasons must be amused or bemused by all the free "publicity" they're received from Dan Brown, "National Treasures", and books like this. In some ways Dietrich did a fine job of weaving half-remembered history and total fabrication into a conspiracy theorists dream of ancient secre
May 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
While all of the ingredients were there for this book to an exciting and captivating story, it fell well short. I had a hard time maintaining interest, at times forcing myself to continue in the hopes that something with such an interesting premise would gel and become compelling. Unfortunately, it never gelled for me.

Napoleon’s Pyramids is a historical adventure/mystery that roams from post-revolutionary France to Egypt. Sprinkle in references to Ben Franklin and Napoleon and it sounds great. U
I picked up Napoleon's Pyramids as a Friday freebie on the Nook a few weeks ago. It's not the sort of thing I would normally pick up in the bookstore, but it turned out to be quite entertaining.

Napoleon's Pyramids is historical fiction set during the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt, which is probably evident from the title. Napoleon took a number of "savants", or scientists and philosophers, along with him on the journey; their job was to investigate the Great Pyramid and the other various bits of
It was a struggle to get through the first half of this book, but my interest in the storyline and setting kept me going. This story comprises a long history of Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt, and an extensive math lesson regarding the riddles of the pyramids and their meaning. The writing was overly detailed but was well researched. 
Jay Fromkin
Mar 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I've got to admit that while reading "Napoleon's Pyramids," I enjoyed the adventure. It wasn't until I had a chance to think about the book that I realized it was a mess, a pastiche of ethnic stereotypes, Indiana Jones scenes (right down to step-on-the-right-blocks-or-calamity-will-follow), a muddle of mathematics and Egyptology, and even - wait for it - a call to search for the Ark of the Covenant. OK, the book reads along at a fast clip, with sex, murder, spies, gypsies, sinister Masons, noble ...more
Joe Santoro
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
This is the first in the continuing adventures of Ethan Gage, and American who serves under Franklin and is just sort of wandering around Europe in search of his purpose. He finds it when he wins and Egyptian medallion of great antiquity, and ends up accompanying Napoleon to Egypt as one of his savants to figure out the ancient mysteries, and adventures ensue.

I checked this out due to comparsions on Amazon to the Flashman Papers, but it's a pale shadow at best. Mr. Gage is far less defined as a
Oct 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed, abandoned
Premise of the book seemed fascinating, but I was greatly disappointed. I abandoned it after 60 some pp. Think an 18th century Indiana Jones with every stereotype in the book. Also, the author hopped on the current fascination with Freemasonry -- sterotypes there, too. Potboiler. Boring bit of dreck.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it
William Dietrich has been a very good author to read. Although I didn't enjoy this book as well as Hadrian's Wall, a bit too technical in spots, he has me wanting to read another by him. ...more
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gr9-summer, dnf
I hated the writing style because it felt like a tween was attempting to recreate old English from the early 1800s. I was so bothered that I couldn't really focus on the plot. From the cover it looked interesting, but given the writing style and quality, in my personal opinion it wouldn't have been done well with that mix. Oh well. ...more
Nov 29, 2012 rated it liked it
“Indiana Jones Meets the Three Musketeers” is how I’d pitch this novel to a movie studio. Ethan Gage isn’t a trained archaeologist and more of a rogue than Professor Jones—and he encounters plenty of muskets but no Musketeers—but otherwise that high concept pretty much sums up Dietrich’s yarn. The thing is, I like the Indiana Jones movies (all except Temple of Doom) have long been a sucker for Dumas. So I guess it was pretty inevitable that I found myself enjoying this book too.

Gage, an American
Benjamin Thomas
This is the first of the Nathan Gage adventure novels and a very enjoyable swashbuckling adventure it is. Ethan Gage is a fictional assistant to Benjamin Franklin and finds himself winning a strange amulet while gambling. This leads to all sorts of adventures as he tries to solve its riddle, including becoming a part of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt as one of his infamous savants.

The author does an excellent job of weaving together military and political history, Masonic lore, biblical scholars
Sep 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults
Book #1 in the Ethan Gage Trilogy. Fictional tale of a young American (Ethan Gage). Former aide to Ben Franklin and now in Paris, France (circa 1799). He's wrongly accused of murder and flees to Napoleon Bonaparte's fleet (which is preparing to sail on a voyage of empire-building in Egypt and the Middle East). He soon learns he is being followed by shady characters who want an artifact that he won in a game of cards in Paris. Unbelievable stories surround the artifact and he begins seeking answe ...more
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: trash
Bought at an airport while delayed. It's a quick read. Action packed and fun. It's filled with historical references and a few fun facts about the time period.

It's very non stop - Battle, chase, battle, flee, treasure, but too quirky to be believable.

If you liked the DaVinci Code Novels or the National Treasure movies, this will be like pornography for you.
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. Started out great, bored the munchauser out of me throughout most of the rest and then had a good ending.
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Ethan Gage, a rapscallion American ex-mentee of Benjamin Franklin now resident in immediate post-Terror Paris, wins an unusual medallion in a card game and soon after finds himself hotly pursued by rogues for the medallion and by the authorities for the murder (which he did not commit) of a prostitute. A journalist friend secures him a position as one of the savants attached to Napoleon's expedition to Egypt -- surely Ethan's foes would not follow him as far as that ancient land?

Oh, yes, they wo
Paul Weiss
“You are the fool who must find the fool”

Ethan Gage, former assistant to Benjamin Franklin - a good deal nicer than nasty but a good deal nastier than savory, perhaps picaresque is the word – has an unbeatable run at a game of cards in Napoleonic post-revolutionary Paris and finds himself the less than fortunate new owner of a mysterious medallion which, it would seem, an extended collection of mean-spirited characters are hunting for. Gage discovers to his dismay that they are quite willing
⚰Rusty Bottoms ⚰
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: might-be-next
Enjoyable. Minus points on the historical fiction side, but makes up for it in the entertainment/comedy side. I would say this is very comparable to an Indiana Jones story in that the action is done with hints of comedy/luck (ex: falling out a window and landing safely in a cart full of donkey poo.) Actually, one of the scenes towards the end is pretty much verbatim a classic scene from Indiana Jones, so not sure what is going on there.... Either way, it was definitely worth the effort as I was ...more
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall 3.5/5 stars. At points in this book I would give a 4/5 for the clever quirkiness of Ethan Gage and the mysteries of the medallion but 2/5 for war plot that dragged on for pages.

Ethan Gage, an American working for Benjamin Franklin, is in France when his gambling at cards lands him a mysterious medallion. Could this medallion lead to the pyramids in Egypt where Napoleon makes his way in his campaign for victory?
What does the medallion mean?

Ethan Gage is a funny, lucky and intriguing chara
Sara Stetz
May 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I kept waiting for this to get there, but it never did. Interesting historical context, Napoleon invading Egypt & mysteries of the pyramids; but the fictional story line was flat and far fetched. It was like the author was constantly stretching to insert the story and connect the characters.
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
The best part of this book is the pleasant anticipation of waiting for the arrogant tit of a main character to die in some dreadful and extremely deserved way
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: open, sub-cat-mystery
The start of the book was hard for me to get into, a bit slow. Once the main characters were in egypt the story started to get interesting. By the end of the book I was iching to read the second. Well writen considering some to the inventive details.
Patrick Barry
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of those book encounters where you see a novel (and an author’s name) for the first time at Barnes & Noble, and it catches your eye. The graphics of the hard back sleeve compelled me to check it out, then the description of the story pushed me on to purchase. There you have it: a classic case of judging a book by its cover. The subject matter of the Napoleon’s Pyramids struck a chord for me since it dealt with subject matter I’m interested in, and the time and place of the story prec ...more
Napoleon's Pyramids wasn't bad. Full disclosure: I probably wouldn't have ever picked up this book in a bookstore, but my dad did, and then he passed it along to me after he read it. I'm slightly neurotic and have to read every book that I'm given, and my copy had a blurb on the front that compared it to Indiana Jones.

I don't know if it's because I read a lot of (usually shorter in length) YA or if this genre always unfolds this way, but it really felt like there was a very slow start to the st
Mark Barrett
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's okay. Simple escapism with some sense of peril and a bit of historical fact and maths thrown in to attempt to educate as it entertains.

To be honest, I just couldn't engage with the lead character - Ethan Gage. He is supposed to be some sort of dashing ne'er do well. Unfortunately, I found him to be a bit whingey and only able to escape situations through blind luck and contrived coincidences.

Alright for an easy holiday read, but I won't be revisiting the series.
Jul 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This was a fast paced action packed book. It was an adventure story that is continued in The Rosetta Key. I enjoyed the story, although I believed that the explanations of mathamatical concepts related to the mysteries in the book became a bit tedious at times.

Ethan Gage is an American who worked with the late Benjamin Franklin in France. The year is now 1798, and Ethan is back in France with no real direction or purpose to his life. A medallion that he wins in a poker game changes all of this.
Iowa City Public Library
Think Indiana Jones. We’ve got artifacts embodying ancient wisdom, sought by militaristic megalomaniacs for sinister purposes. We’ve got maybe 400, 000 bullets aimed at our hero, none quite landing. We’ve got booby trapped archeological sites in exotic climes. We’ve got mysterious, evil villains repeatedly trying to assassinate our hero. We’ve got gypsy caravans, sea battles, land battles, spies, hot air balloon escapes, sandstorms, mathematical ciphers, vast conspiracies, sardonic humor, prison ...more
Mar 06, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is a generally fun historical romp through Napoleon's invasion of Egypt. It is forced down your throat as "Indiana Jones in then 18th century", which gets extremely annoying (admittedly, this is only on the cover/jacket/epiloge...).

It is told in first person, through the eyes of the main character Ethan Gage. The problem is that you never really feel like Ethan is an intriguing character. There are maybe one or two things about him that are intersting, other than that he's just some gu
Lorin Cary
Dec 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Eathan Gage accompanies Napoleon Bonaparte on his 1798 invasion of Egypt in this historical novel by William Dietrich. Much of the historical information is fascinating and nicely woven into what is at time a kind of Indiana Jones thriller, complete with wild chases and madcap escapes. The imagined conversations with Napoleon are interesting by themselves as Dietrich has nicely captured the man's personality, I think. The plot wanders a bit and centers on a mysterious object that Gage has acquir ...more
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William Dietrich is a NY Times bestelling author of the Ethan Gage series of eight books which have sold into 28 languages. He is also the author of six other adventure novels, several nonfiction works on the environmental history of the Pacific Northwest, and a contributor to several books.

Bill was a career journalist, sharing a Pulitzer for national reporting at the Seattle Times for coverage of

Other books in the series

Ethan Gage (8 books)
  • The Rosetta Key (Ethan Gage, #2)
  • The Dakota Cipher (Ethan Gage, #3)
  • The Barbary Pirates (Ethan Gage, #4)
  • The Emerald Storm (Ethan Gage, #5)
  • The Barbed Crown (Ethan Gage, #6)
  • The Three Emperors (Ethan Gage, #7)
  • The Trojan Icon (Ethan Gage, #8)

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