Title: The Buried Pyramid
Author: Jane Lindskold
Publisher: Tor, 2004
For those of us into all things Egyptian with the kind of swashbuckling humour evident in the Indiana Jones films, The Buried Pyramid will offer a fun romp filled with a large cast of endearing characters.
Sir Neville Hawthorne has unfinished business in the Red Land – many years ago he accompanied a mission to find the mysterious buried pyramid of the pharaoh Neferankhotep which almost ended in disaster. Not to be outdone, he plans to return to Egypt, and this time he’s not alone.
Accompanying Neville are his niece, the plucky, sharpshooting Jenny, recently imported from the Wild West; and the rather bookish Stephen, who has a penchant for solving riddles. They meet up with an old buddy of Neville’s, Eddie, who’ll act as their guide
as they embark on their epic mission to find the lost pharaoh’s final resting place.
But they’re not going to have it easy. Neferankhotep’s pyramid is guarded by a mysterious sect, and there are others who wish to plunder the fabled treasures, who’re hot on the party’s heels.
Overall, I both liked and disliked this book by equal measure. I’ll start with what bothered me – the characterisation. Characters were either good or bad, and clearly so, and I felt almost as if Lindskold adhered too tightly to tropes, for instance Jenny being a liberated woman in that era or Lady Cheshire’s somewhat overbearing evil seductress persona. It was as if the characters were caricatures of themselves.
But I could look past that, because the narrative flowed, and I enjoyed Lindskold’s unfolding world.
With regard to story arcs, I did feel as if none of the characters actually learnt anything or developed in themselves – it felt almost like the type of action one would find in a roleplaying game rather than a novel. Certain plot devices, like Mozelle the kitten, were so obvious I could see them coming from a mile away once certain events were set in motion – but then I know my ancient Egyptian mythology better than most, so lost the element of surprise.
What I did like, was the sheer sense of fun and involvement in the story – the very same I know and love when I immerse myself in an Indiana Jones film. And yes, I could so see this turned into a film. Lindskold is adept at bringing her setting to life. While the characters might be a bit two-dimensional, they are vivid, and some of the dialogue is indeed entertaining. So while there is nothing earth-shattering about the plot, this is still a fun read which should appeal to those who love Egypt and are looking for a light-hearted story.