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Friday, August 17, 2007

Guardian of the Horizon

***** Guardian of the Horizon by Elizabeth Peters. Mystery.

I absolutely love this series, and I get the new books as soon as they're released in hardcover, but for some reason, they've been languishing in my TBR pile. I even, shockingly, found this one signed at my local BX.

Interestingly, a lot of people who are fans of the series disliked this book, so I turned to Amazon reviews to figure out why. It seems that there are two major complaints: 1) it leaps backward 10 years in the series timeline, and 2) Ramses *gasp* has a love interest other than Nefret! *shock* *dismay* *palpitations*

Guardian of the Horizon does go back ten years in the series timeline, filling in some blanks. The Emersons go back to the lost oasis where they first found Nefret (in The Last Camel Died at Noon), to help Tarek, whom they'd left in charge. He does indeed need their help, but not in the way the messenger sent to retrieve them said he did, and they're all in danger again.

Sethos shows up, as does an arms dealer and his slave/confederate Daria, with whom Ramses imagines himself in love.

I say "imagines," because Ramses is just 20 here, and the only relationship development we see is that Daria is beautiful and needs rescuing/protection--an irresistible combination for a young man, particularly since Ramses admits he's in love with Nefret.

Lemme 'splain: Nefret is everything Ramses wants, but doesn't think he can have. She's intelligent, brave, and honorable, as well as beautiful... and she thinks of him as a sibling. And she doesn't need him. Then along comes Daria, who's also beautiful, but she's not anywhere near as intimidating, he doesn't have to worry about losing her friendship if she doesn't respond to his advances, and she's in need of rescue.

Of course he falls for her, and of course it's not really love, even if it does feel something like it.

A little pause here while I rant about romantic conventions in literature. Romantic heroes are forever turning celibate from the moment they meet The One. They're impotent with any other woman, even if they've only just glimpsed The One across a crowded room. Convention would have Ramses pining away--for all he knows, for the rest of his life. Good grief. I say kudos to Ramses for trying to get on with his life.

Anyway. I loved Guardian of the Horizon. Going back in time to before Ramses and Nefret were happy and more-or-less settled was nice. I enjoyed the angst knowing that things would all work out in the end. The Lost Oasis was a nice setting to revisit, and it was fun seeing Sethos in his dual role as heroic villain/villanous hero again.


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Just having the book be so Ramses-centric is enough to make me hack up a hairball. He is BY FAR my LEAST FAVORITE character in the whole series.
LOL! I know a lot of people who loathe Ramses. Personally, I really, really like him. A lot.

I wonder if there's anyone who feels neutral about him--he seems to be one of those love-or-hate characters.
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