Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Introverted scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has spent the last few months watching his lover, Griffin Flaherty, come to terms with the rejection of his adoptive family. So when an urgent telegram from Christine summons them to Egypt, Whyborne is reluctant to risk the fragile peace they’ve established. Until, that is, a man who seems as much animal as human tries to murder Whyborne in the museum where he works.
Amidst the ancient ruins of the pharaohs, they must join Christine and face betrayal, murder, and a legendary sorceress risen from the dead. In the forge of the desert heat, the trio will either face their fears and stand together—or shatter the bonds between them forever.
Here I am, a little frog (croak, croak) jumping again right in the middle of a series. I admit I was sorely tempted – as soon as I read ‘Egypt’, ‘ancient ruins’, ‘dig site’ and ‘pharaohs’ in the blurb I was sold. Unfortunately soon enough the novel proved to be a bit below my expectations. Ok, maybe even more than a bit.
First the writing style. The use of “I” instead of “me” is a pet peeve of mine. It simply sounds wrong. It seems the author (and her editor perhaps) don’t see the difference, though. So I winced and winced and winced some more. Still I suppose my most serious carping concerns the plot or rather its complete predictability. Maybe I’ve read too many archeology digs mysteries, maybe I am older now.
Somehow there was not one single twist and turn which would surprise me just a little bit. I guessed the identity of the main baddie, an incarnation of the old Egyptian queen, insanely early. It was obvious that Mr. Barrnett, the handsome sidekick of Christine, was harbouring some secrets and they were pretty easy to guess as well. I knew both protagnonists, the title gay couple Whyborne and Griffin, would simply have to quarrel at one point or the other and quarrel they did. There had to be a slightly annoying but overall sweet animal and sure enough I was soon introduced to Daisy, the she-camel and lover of men’s hats. All the time I had a funny feeling that I have read and/or seen it all before, many, many times over…
You can say that I am overly demanding when camels, mummies, daemons, pyramids, Egyptian deities, fanes and pharaohs aren’t enough for me in a story. Well, they aren’t. Let me also add that the ongoing gay romance between Whyborne and Griffin also felt stale, as if both gentlemen were just going through motions – you know, saying those ‘I love yous’, saving each other’s life, having hot sex in a tent, having hot sex during a sand storm (seriously? You have nothing better to do during a freaking sand storm? gah! ), having hot sex in a hotel…repetitive and a tiny little bit predictable, don’t you think? In fact done to death, like any of those walking mummies.
For die-hard fans of the series the novel might work, for me it didn’t. A non-existent mystery, some pretty worn-out plot devices and a couple of protagonists who seemed to have done it all before and repeating themselves over and over again I found a bit boring. Watch an old Idiana Jones movie instead.