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Death Cloud (Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins) Hardcover – February 1, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Product Description
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.

Andrew Lane Talks About Death Cloud (Young Sherlock Holmes)

Arthur Conan Doyle wrote fifty-six short stories and four novels about Sherlock Holmes. You can still find them in most bookshops. When he first appeared, Sherlock was around thirty-three years old and was already a detective with an established set of habits and abilities. In his last appearance he was around sixty, and had retired to the Sussex coast to keep bees. Yes, bees.

My intention with the Young Sherlock Holmes series is to find out what Sherlock was like before Arthur Conan Doyle first introduced him to the world. What sort of teenager was he? Where did he go to school, and who were his friends? Where and when did he learn the skills that he displayed later in life – the logical mind, the boxing and sword-fighting, the love of music and of playing the violin?

Arthur Conan Doyle gave little away about Sherlock's early years, and most writers since then have avoided that period of time as well. We know little about his parents, or indeed where he lived. We know he was descended on his mother's side from the French artist Vernet and that he had a brother called Mycroft, who appears in a few of the short stories, but that's about it. That has given me the freedom to create a history for Sherlock that is consistent with the few hints that Conan Doyle did let slip, but also leads inevitably to the man that Conan Doyle described.

I promise that there will be more adventures of Sherlock Holmes at school and university, but in the meantime you might want to seek out the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you want to go further, you could do worse than seek out the three more recent Holmes novels by Nicholas Meyer--The Seven Per-Cent Solution, The West End Horror, and The Canary Trainer--as well as Lyndsay Faye's Dust and Shadow.

Until next time, when Sherlock faces the repulsive Red Leech...

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-9-Sherlock Holmes, 14, is expecting a quiet summer, relaxing with his family after a difficult term at school. However, political upheaval in India, his mother's illness, and brother Mycroft's position in the Foreign Office result in Sherlock being sent to distant relatives instead. Adapting to life at Holmes Manor in Farnham, he makes friends with a village ruffian and is soon given an American tutor to keep him out of mischief. When Sherlock and Amyus Crowe, the tutor, discover a body covered with mysterious swellings, they are thrown into a conspiracy of chemicals, knives, and money. Over the course of his investigation, Sherlock is kidnapped twice by pale and crippled Baron Maupertuis, once after a brutal boxing match, and the second time while with beautiful Virginia Crowe, daughter of Amyus. In their final confrontation, Sherlock and Virginia discover the Baron's plot to bring down the whole of the British Empire. Lane successfully blends the traditional Holmesian confidence with the teen's awkward self-consciousness. The vulnerability of the character is well illustrated through his relationship with Mycroft, as well as his friendship with Matty, the young orphaned longboat operator. While the crush on Virginia seems a bit shoehorned in, her character does provide some needed humor. Occasionally the action overwhelms the investigative components, but the narrative still flows smoothly. A menacing villain and an unexpected twist make for a thoroughly engaging read that will keep readers turning pages. Now, it's just a matter of waiting for the next tale.-Joel Shoemaker, formerly at South East Junior High School, Iowa City, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Read an Excerpt from the Book
Read the prologue from Death Cloud [PDF].

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 940L (What's this?)
  • Series: Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374387672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374387679
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,252,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fun, YA adventure/mystery, though the young Sherlock falls a bit short of his namesake in my estimation. Sure this is supposed to be Sherlock as a teenager before amassing the vast knowledge and the obsession Doyle's version brings to bear on his cases, but I still think his younger self should display an above average intelligence and our protagonist here seems too much the ordinary boy. Additionally the villain of the story seems a little more "Dan Brown" than "Conan Doyle" which is okay, but makes it seem like some of the canonical cases might be a bit of a let down after what's at stake here. That said, if you can set those quibbles aside and take the characters on their own terms, the author has put together an enjoyable adventure with an interesting supporting cast. I do hope to see Mycroft get some more stage time in the sequels, which I will definitely check out when the US releases are available.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed reading this tale of a young Holmes who, while not quite a boy genius, obviously is willing to learn and is full of potential. His relationship with his tutor, Amyus Crowe, was particularly well developed; Crowe often leads him to the brink of important realizations, yet allows Sherlock to conclude their relevance for himself - and these are lessons that veteran Sherlockians will recognize as having served the great detective well in his adult career.

There has been some suggestion that the villain might have been a bit too far-fetched to fit comfortably into the role of a typical Holmes opponent, but this might have been felt necessary to promote the story as a YA adventure.

Holmes seems to have a normal albeit awkward teenaged interest in Crowe's daughter, Virginia, which suggests that we will have to wait for future adventures to discover the source of his later attitudes towards women in general.

Most satisfying to me, however, was the nature of the `Death Cloud' itself. While this might not have been a particularly interesting puzzle as a stand-alone mystery solved by a different detective, it offered a substantial explanation for a specific obsession that Sherlock carried with him throughout his entire life. Filling in such gaps seems the primary purpose of this series, and it is in this area I believe that this initial offering succeeds wonderfully.
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Format: Hardcover
DEATH CLOUD, by Andrew Lane, is a great beginning to a new series which explores the life of Sherlock Holmes as a fourteen year old boy.

Mystery books rarely enter my TBR pile, but when asked to review a Sherlock Holmes novel I could not resist. I always enjoyed the characters in the original works and I was interested to see how much of that Lane put into his new novels. The character of Holmes, even as a young teen, was a pleasure to read. Holmes was a very curious boy but his sleuthing skills were magnified with the help of his side-kick, Matty, and American tutor, Amyus Crowe.

Lane molded a young Sherlock Holmes and created a character that you can visualize turning into the classic character. Crowe taught Holmes how to ask the right questions to get satisfactory answers. The relationship between teacher and student was refreshing and added the importance of education. I also enjoyed the relationship between Matty and Sherlock. They were from different social backgrounds but their commonality in crime-solving made them quite a pair. Although I do admit I missed the absence of Watson! But, my favorite character had to be Virginia. Where Holmes is a male icon, Virginia is definitely a strong female-icon. Her 'American' ways were exploited to make her desirable to Holmes, but she definitely gave him a run for his money!

Overall, I think this series is a great introduction to the classic character of Sherlock Holmes to a younger generation. Lane created fabulous characters and a great mystery. I look forward to the next one!
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Format: Paperback
Old-school Sherlockians may not entirely recognize this boy as their beloved, neurotic, purely cerebral consulting detective, but younger readers weaned on Alex Rider and Young James Bond will certainly love Andrew Lane's Young Sherlock Holmes and embrace him as a new addition to the growing pantheon of YA action heroes. While Lane's Sherlock may engage more in fistacuffs than deductive thought, Lane, a Sherlockian himself, does not commit any colossal crimes again the canon, as did Steve Spielberg with his 1985 Young Sherlock Holmes film where we see a junior Watson inserted into the timeline well before his established first appear in A Study in Scarlet. And this is what makes Lane's first book so successful, IMO. He creates a fast-paced action adventure as thrilling as any other YA novel, while keeping the story rooted in Sherlockian reality of proper period and tone (no supernatural happens or vampires here). He also sprinkles the book with many canonical references and clues. The action is good. The villain diabolical. The writing crisp, descriptive, and breezy. All in all, I think this is fantastic start for what I hope will be a long running series. I'm onboard all the way!
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Format: Paperback
Sherlock Holmes is getting younger every year. The Robert Downey Jr. movieSherlock Holmes, the modern BBC/PBS series Sherlock: Season One [Blu-ray] and several graphic novel retellings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories and now two series 'recording' the youth of the world's most famous detective: this on and Shane Peacock's.Eye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 1st Case

This story starts off well. The writing is brisk, the plot is scarily interesting, with more than enough page turning action scenes. Holmes' inner fears and outer sang froid are written well. Young Sherlock sounds and act like a kid of fourteen - a very smart kid with his wits about him at all times. So does young Matthew, his new friend and sidekick.

The latter part, when the master villain is revealed strained my credulity too much. It's fantastical. Fans of the Downey movie would appreciate it. (I enjoyed the movie. It was a real roller-coaster ride. But it was hardly the Holmes I'm used to.)

The 'puppy-love' interest was too 'Disney', but the boys were otherwise realistic.

Holmes' tutor is a cross between the adult Holmes (a role model for Sherlock?) and Indiana Jones. Also something like the monk on the Kung-Fu show.

Mycroft is given too much power for a young man of 21, starting out in the civil service. And a gentleman's son would have ridden at least a pony long before he was 14. He might have been a poor rider, but he would have learned the rudiments of horse riding.

An original murder weapon.

A fine boy's adventure novel. Worth the read and worth a series.
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