Monday, August 20, 2012


Pages: 284
Date: 20/08/2012
Grade: 4+
Details: A Sherlock Holmes story
            Received from Titan Books
            Through Book Geeks

Just when Sherlock Holmes is convinced that there are no interesting cases for him to investigate, he and Dr. Watson are visited by Holmes’ brother Mycroft. Bodies have been turning up around London. Bodies which show signs of having been attacked and murdered by ferocious creatures that don’t belong in London.
Mycroft is sure that the creatures involved in the attacks are somehow related to the top-secret and very controversial experiments with animals that had been conducted by Dr. Moreau. And although the doctor is supposed to have died at the hands of the creatures he created, it seems clear that either he is still alive or someone else is continuing his work, with deadly consequences. It will be up to Holmes and Watson to end the mad scientist’s work before he succeeds in his plan to overthrow government with the aid of his bestial army. A plan that is far more advanced than anyone could have guessed.
Holmes and Watson dive into the investigation only to find themselves up against nightmare-like opponents and collaborating with a motley crew of characters.

This is probably not a book for Sherlock Holmes purists. If the attraction to these stories lies in the great detective solving seemingly impossible or even supernatural mysteries in a completely logical way Guy Adams’ books may be a bit too fantastical.
I like what the author has done though. He remains very true to the originals when it comes to the characters of Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes, the latter being his usual irritating, arrogant, vague, but also brilliant and charming self. Adams has just added an extra twist to the mysteries Holmes is asked to solve. While in Adams' previous book "The Breath of God" the story had a supernatural feel, this story gives the reader a mad scientist scenario. Both are twists I happen to enjoy.

Another thing I really liked in this book is that when, at some point in the story, Watson is no longer in a position to give the details of the investigation, the perspective shifts. Starting with Sherlock Holmes we suddenly have several different narrators, all with their own distinctive voice and perspective, filling in the details the chief narrator missed out on. A development that allows Holmes to make fun of Watson and his editors and made me smile.

This is a very clever book. While being a Victorian mystery, Holmes’ musings on ethical questions, such as men experimenting to enhance human qualities, brings some aspects of the story nicely into our present time.

It is very clear that Guy Adams is having great fun while writing these books. He freely and openly borrows characters from other books – H. G. Wells’ Dr. Moreau being the obvious example here - and either pits them against Holmes or has them assisting him. I enjoy these visitors in Adams’ stories although I’m sure I would have enjoyed them more if I had actually read any, if not all, of the works he borrowed from. Readers better versed in the classical works then I am, are sure to have fun re-acquainting themselves with these characters and placing them in their original stories.

These books are very well written and smooth to read. The pages almost turn themselves as the story shifts between investigation, deduction and action. It is easy for the reader to get drawn into this story, get immersed in Victorian London and the sewers underneath it. And, as always, the readers will find themselves, like Watson, trailing behind the great detective when it comes to solving the mystery.
This is a fun reading experience all round.

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