The Falcon at the Portal

Customer Reviews

1,110 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By Kermit on 12-21-05

Perhaps Best of Series

I made the mistake of first listening to the abridged version of FALCON. Some books can be abridged well, but not this one. Every line is full of characterization, or humor, or poignancy -- I cannot recommend the unabridged version, narrated by Barbara Rosenblatt enough.

FALCON is part of Peters' series of Amelia Peabody mysteries, and contains everything readers come to expect--another dead body, another shirt ruined, delightful narration, and the incredible character of Amelia herself, who manages to both exemplify and transcend Victorian femininity. We have all the wonderful secondary characters (Cyrus & wife, David, Lia, Selim, Kadija, etc.) and an actual pyramid (though a sad pyramid it is) for Amelia and her gruff husband Emerson to explore--in an archeologically sound manner, of course. We even get a glimpse of their English home at the start (along with an important wedding) and a forgery plot implicating someone near and dear to their hearts.

But what makes FALCON stand out more than (arguably) any other book in the series is the depth of the characterization. Yes, these are the same Amelia, Emerson, Ramses, and Nefret. But the clarity with which each is drawn, from their body language to their vocal inflections (thanks both to Peters and to narrator Rosenblatt) is absolute magic. The Emerson family has more personal stake in this mystery than ever before--because of the implications of the forgery, and because the murder victim is someone we get to know and, if not like, with whom we sympathize. Add to that a crescendo to the building romantic subplot between Amelia's genius son Ramses (it's a nickname) and her adopted daughter Nefret (it's Egyptian), and the fact that her horrible nephew Percy gets in some wonderfully low blows against the family's happiness, and FALCON ends up working not only as a mystery but as the best of family dramas.

Give it a shot.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Donald on 07-17-05

one of Peters' best yet!

what could be more delightful for a summer listen? Great plot with lots of twists and turns, leaps ahead in the Emmerson family story itself, Amelia's hilarious view of it all and read by the incomparable B. Rosenblat. Terrific!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By S.Palmer on 11-03-06


This is one of my favorite of the series -- as heartbreaking as it is at times! Ramses truly becomes the stoic hero here -- gallant to a fault. I actually listened to this years ago on tape, and have since had to go back and listen to the whole series! This book hooked me!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Vorthe on 05-07-16

Dark, dark story

I doubt I can continue investing my attention and money in this series.
I completely lost respect for one of the central characters because of what happened in this book. They demonstrated stupidity, rashness, poor judgement, cluelessness, and in a way, disloyalty or maybe what I mean is an appalling lack of faith. This was a character I have been rooting for and liked for several books now, and I thought they were better then that.
Maybe someday I will revisit this series, but I don't think so. I guess I just got used to thinking of this series as being light and fun? Cover to cover, this book was a slog.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Parenthesis on 07-24-15

The usual charming drama

The usual charming, suspenseful and well written plot are delightful. A bit more predictable than some of her other stories, but no less enjoyable.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Patricia G. Bowling on 06-28-15

Love Amelia!

I listen to these books all the time. They never grow old, and even after all these years I'm still finding new layers. Elizabeth Peters ( Barbara Mertz) was an underrated writer.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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