I'm rereading all the Amelia Peabody books in order. This is the first one. It relates the adventures of Amelia in Italy and Egypt. This includes meeting Emerson and the ensuing battles they have. It was not as good as I remembered because the author is a much better writer now. Other than Amelia and Emerson, the characters are not as endearing and well-developed as they are later in the series. However, this book is the beginning of Amelia's adventures and is helpful in understanding future books and plot lines.