Friday, July 27, 2012
Sherlock Holmes, the legend begins: Rebel Fire by Andrew Lane
While I usually roll my eyes at prequels, sequels, etc. to classic novels, I really enjoyed Andrew Lane's Death Cloud, first in a series of novels about a teenage Sherlock Holmes. The mystery was rather easy to guess and I did think the cover, featuring a Justin Bieber look-alike, was awful and I didn't end up buying it.
This book is even more tightly plotted and has an awesome cover. What more could you want?
Sherlock is still living with his aunt and uncle, still getting occasional lessons from American Amyas Crow, and still uncertain about his feelings for Crow's daughter Virginia. However, when his brother Mycroft arrives with worrying news for Crow, Sherlock does his best to help. Unfortunately, things go bad fast and Sherlock finds himself sailing to America with the Crows on a desperate mission to save his friend Matty and prevent another Civil War. Along the way, they'll meet giant blood-sucking leeches, an insane John Wilkes Booth, and have some hair-raising experiences with trains.
The author's final notes link up several events with later plots of Holmes' life and expands on various historical information, also adding a bibliography.
Verdict: This is a fast-paced, excellent adventure story with the additional lure of historical information. The plot works much better than the first title in the series and I'm eagerly awaiting further revelations about Holmes' family secrets. This one will be popular with strong middle school and teen readers. I'd especially hand this one to guys who pride themselves on their reading ability and enjoy intricately plotted stories with an historical bent. There's quite a bit of violence, but also discussions of ethics and morality.
ISBN: 9780374387686; Published April 2012 by Farrar Straus and Giroux; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library