The story is set in 1915-16 and the First World War is still raging. The narrative is split between Amelia’s first person diary and the manuscript H which Ramses and Nefret have apparently written about their exploits in the third person. There are also some letters.

The story starts in England where the Emersons are fretting about the war which is not only killing young men but also making in harder to travel to Egypt. They try to leave one of their newest additions to the family, the six-year old girl Sennia, to England but don’t succeed. Their butler Gargary also manages to smuggle himself on board the ship to Egypt.

In Cairo, the Emersons encounter an old acquaintance, the journalist Miss Minton who somewhat resembles Amelia. Miss Minton is determined to get useful information out of the Emersons. Then, Ramses is attacked. His parents and Nefret want to protect him. So, when they hear about outrageous archeological thefts in Luxor, Ramses and Nefret take the leisurely boat ride there. Shortly after the young couple leaves, Amelia and Emerson find a fresh corpse from their dig.

As usual, the characters and the setting are entertaining. Unfortunately, the book didn’t really bring anything new to the series. Indeed, the return of one particular character was sort of a disappointment to me. Even though the character is witty and charming (like the rest of the cast), I was hoping for someone new to replace them or perhaps a new direction entirely. Much of the book is also based on romance; Amelia and Emerson, of course, the newlyweds Nefret and Ramses, and in addition not one but two other romantic pairs. In the end, there wasn’t much room for mystery which didn’t pick up until near the end.

There were a couple of new characters: Jamala and her brother Jamil. They are part of Abdullah’s extended family. Jamala is a bright and ambitious Muslim girl who is trying to escape her usual fate. I certainly hope she succeeds. Of course, since she’s already caught the interest of Nefret and Amelia, I’d be very surprised if she didn’t. Her brother was disappointingly predictable.

Again, a treat for those looking for romance and familiar characters and places.

Also, please, don’t start reading the series with this book!