I have been a Sherlock Holmes fan for a long time now and while I don't like every author's take on the classic character I did like this one. It was a true adventure and it was lots of fun. I laughed out loud several times. I will admit that the story is not for those who are only interested in stories that pattern themselves painstakingly after the Canon (for that try Donald Thomas). This story does have supernatural elements but I felt they were dealt with in a way that was satisfactory and interesting. So if you're willing to enjoy Holmes (and Watson) as written by someone else you should give this book a try. (If for no other reason the explanation Guy Adams gives for the inconsistencies related to Watson's marriages was touching and clever.)
I would like to preface this review by saying that I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. And as much as I enjoy Holmes pastiches, I am a bit apprehensive about reading them because I hope that the author can capture the right voice and tone which Doyle used in his stories. This book does recapture that voice, however it is nothing like any other Sherlock Holmes story which I have ever read before. Its closest counterpoint is perhaps the 2009 film with Robert Downey Jr.
A man is found crushed to death in the London snow. However there are no signs of human involvement. It's almost as though the man was killed by the air itself. Along with Dr. John Silence and Dr. John Watson, Sherlock Holmes embarks on a quest to to uncover the truth. His trail will led him to a meeting with Thomas Carnacki, Julian Karswell and Alestair Crowley. Strange happenings begin to force Holmes to doubt the one thing he holds dear - logic. However, is the supernatural to blame, or is there a much more logical answer?
This newest installment in Titan Books' "The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," is being published in print for the first time. The mystery in the book is quite unlike anything which would have appeared in one of the original Doyle stories, which is either something which would turn away potential readers, or have them excited to try something completely new. The departures from the Doyle story are not as great as the Fred Saberhagen books were Holmes and Count Dracula are cousins, however it feels hard to suppose that this is a lost case of the world's foremost criminal investigator. On the plus side, author Guy Adams, does have a good writing style, not too far removed from the Doyle style.Read more ›
I like my Sherlock Holmes dry. But it's been thin-reading without as many pastiche novels out there so - what the heck? This WAS interesting. I knew a small amount about Crowley - and this was an interesting use of him as a younger character. It is a tad on the adult side - eh. I'm not wild about stepping Holmes and Watson outside of what Doyle would have them - but it was an interesting read. My biggest complaint is the end and the aside stories where the author went into some long details - where I began skimming pages. Perhaps a little rushed at the end.
This is more of an unusual pick for me in terms of Holmes reading. I tend to stay away from ones involving the supernatural. Oh, don't misunderstand me, some of them succeed -- for example, Loren D. Estleman wrote fun and "believable" accounts of Holmes and Dracula, and another with Holmes and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde; the collection "The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" also contains some good stories involving science fiction or supernatural events. Even the most casual fan can't deny there are some "supernatural" elements in the Holmes canon, most notably "The Hound of the Baskervilles." And anyone knowing anything about Doyle and his personal life would see that he would approve such stories. Yet some just seem too outlandish for me to bother with, such as books pitting Holmes against zombies (shudder) or that horrific "Seance with a Vampire" piece of junk floating around. Once I even read a short story with dinosaurs in it. Dinosaurs! Holmes fighting dinosaurs! Ugh. Such stories are laughable, embarrassing and junk.
This story, "The Breath of God," comes close to falling into the "this is so embarrassing I can't finish it" category but doesn't slip into that abyss. In fact, it's a fairly good story and could have been really great, but Guy Adams just doesn't push it into the realm of great pastiches.
The biggest failing, which Adams addresses in a post-script, is that it is not written in anything resembling Doyle's style. The author does not so much as make the attempt, which he practically brags about in his afterword.
This is a cardinal rule among Holmes purists (I don't think of myself as a purist, more of an enthusiast, which is why I allow myself to read books like this one.Read more ›
UPDATE: I just watched the movie The Phantom of the Opera - 1925. I thought I was watching a movie made from this book! Perhaps it was the other way around? Shame on the author.
Yes, it is entirely my fault that I did not do any research on this book before I bought it. So please, take heed and do your own. I would not have purchased this, if I had known I was getting a book that should have been placed in the "Horror" genre. The author garnered purchasers by using Sherlock Holmes name/reputation. This was not an enjoyable read for all of the negative reasons stated by other reviewers, and I will not repeat them all here, so please read them for yourself. This is only the 3rd book, in my 60+ years of keeping all the books I have purchased, that will go into the fireplace - as it is not repectable on any level. In the author's acknowledgements, I quote, "Lastly, thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for being a giant with shoulders broad enough for me to stand on." Stand on?? Arrogance personified. Perhaps, shoulders broad enough to allow one to share the breadth of them, but to "stand on" - arrogant words. Yes, I read the whole book.