Thursday, July 17, 2008

travel reads

Summer reading is often synonymous with travel or vacation reading. I haven't been posting much lately because I've been busy (why is it that summer ends up being the busiest time of year?). I had a bit of a trip last week so I thought I'd post about the books I decided to bring with me.

Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters
~ Audiobook read by Barbara Rosenblat

Banned forever from the eastern end of the Valley of the Kings, eminent Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerson's desperate attempt to regain digging rights backfires— and his dream of unearthing the tomb of the little-known king Tutankhamon is dashed. Now Emerson, his archaeologist wife, Amelia Peabody, and their family must watch from the sidelines as Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter discover the greatest Egyptian treasure of all time.
But the Emersons' own less impressive excavations are interrupted when father and son Ramses are lured into a trap by a strange group of villains ominously demanding answers to a question neither man comprehends. And it will fall to the ever-intrepid Amelia to protect her endangered family— and perhaps her nemesis as well— from a devastating truth hidden uncomfortably close to home... and from a nefarious plot that threatens the peace of the entire region.

I needed an audiobook since I knew I'd be doing a good deal of driving. Browsing the discount bookstore, I came up with Tomb of the Golden Bird, Elizabeth Peters' 18th Amelia Peabody Mystery. it was sufficiently long (14 hours) and unabridged. I knew that it was a recent installment in a series, but had no idea how many books were in the series. Luckily for me, the book does stand on its own and readers can follow the action without needing to know the backstories of all the various characters.

I didn't find the novel particularly suspenseful, but the story (and how it relates to the actual discovery of King Tut's tomb) was interesting. The story gets bogged down in the details, I think. Amelia Peabody is an interesting character as are many of the individuals in her sphere. It is Peters' gift for characterization that makes the novel engaging. Additionally, the reader, Barbara Rosenblat, does a wonderful job rendering the individual characters with very distinctive voices for many of the main characters.

Carnevale by M R Lovric

1782: the 13-year old daughter of a Venetian merchant family is lured naked from her bath by a stray cat and finds herself in the arms of Casanova. Twenty-five years later, her renown as a painter is eclipsed only by her reputation as his last lover. Then a young poet named Byron enters her life.

I'd previously read Lovric's The Floating Book, which I really enjoyed. I love historical fiction and I love Venice. I also love art historical ficiton, but for some reason I just could not get into Carnevale. I gave the book until page 100 and then I decided that I should let it go and try again at some other point.

Casanova is undoubtedly interesting, but there's only so much that I want to hear about him in a story about someone else. Cecilia is an interesting character, but her story definitely gets bogged down in the narration of Casanova's personal history. I might have stuck with it, but the glimpse we get of Byron at the very beginning of the novel did nothing to whet my appetite for the rest of the novel.

1 comment:

  1. Barbara Rosenblat is one of my favourite audiobook readers! It's been a while since I listened to one of her Amelia Peabody renditions but every time I do read one of the books I can still hear Barbara in my brain.