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The God of the Hive: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Hardcover – April 27, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553805541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553805543
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Laurie R. King on The God of the Hive

Basically, I have a low threshold for boredom. For a series writer this can be a dangerous thing, since any series is to some extent the same people doing things similar to what they did before. Over the years, I’ve gotten around this by alternating one series with another, and tossing in the occasional standalone.

But sometimes, I find myself writing the same characters that I did the previous year. Which is fine, I like my characters, and I can always find something for them to do. Even so, there is a faint air of threat in a second year with the same people, rather like having good friends to stay on an island retreat and having a really great time and wishing they could stay longer until the morning comes when they’re scheduled to take off and the bridge is out, and your boat sinks, and a storm comes up and pretty soon they’ve been there for a month and you begin to grumble and snap and wonder what the devil you ever saw in these parasites, and you eye the hatchet and the rat poison and...

Because I know that I have a low threshold for the same faces, whenever I have characters who look as if they’re going to stay on longer than I’d originally intended, I arrange things so that we don’t have a chance to get bored with each other. Little projects and changes of scenery help: plop the characters on a boat and send them to India, say, followed by something entirely different like San Francisco. And make the first one a spy thriller, and the second one more psychological suspense: hence The Game and Locked Rooms. Bring in a historical detective writer--Dashiell Hammett--and voila! No chance to wear on one another’s nerves!

Similarly, the team of players who come back from San Francisco onto ground that’s been worked before--how many times can one write an English Country House Mystery?--needs to have something unexpected thrown at them, and at the faithful reader. You think you know the characters? Well, how about a long-lost son for Sherlock Holmes--and if that’s not enough, maybe give him a granddaughter as well? Then for the following year, take the ingredients of The Language of Bees and change it from first person to multiple points of view, toss with a dash of modern espionage and a sprinkling of ancient British mythology, and pour them all out onto Westminster Bridge in the wee hours, and you have The God of the Hive.

And next year, when the third Russell & Holmes in a row comes out? I plan on--but no, let’s let that be a surprise. Let us just say, what they will do is sufficiently different from The God of the Hive that it will save them from the dangers of an author’s vengeful imagination: last time a writer got tired of Sherlock Holmes, it led to a dive off a high waterfall.

From Publishers Weekly

Those who enjoyed the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. may appreciate bestseller King's heavy-on-action, light-on-deduction 10th novel featuring Mary Russell and her much older husband, Conan Doyle's iconic detective. The plot picks up in the summer of 1924 right after the previous entry in the series, The Language of Bees. A religious fanatic, Rev. Thomas Brothers, who seeks to unleash psychic energies through human sacrifice, has shot Holmes's artist son, Damian Adler, seriously wounding the young man. Holmes's desperate quest for medical help to save his son's life takes him to Holland, while Mary travels throughout Britain in an effort to keep Damian's half-Chinese daughter, Estelle, safe from Brothers and his allies. Cliffhanging situations abound as both leads benefit from the convenient appearance of extremely helpful strangers. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling crime writer Laurie R. King writes both series and standalone novels.

In the Mary Russell series (first entry: The Beekeeper's Apprentice), fifteen-year-old Russell meets Sherlock Holmes on the Sussex Downs in 1915, becoming his apprentice, then his partner. The series follows their amiably contentious partnership into the 1920s as they challenge each other to ever greater feats of detection.

The Kate Martinelli series, starting with A Grave Talent, concerns a San Francisco homicide inspector, her SFPD partner, and her life partner. In the course of the series, Kate encounters a female Rembrandt, a modern-day Holy Fool, two difficult teenagers, a manifestation of the goddess Kali and an eighty-year-old manuscript concerning'Sherlock Holmes.

King also has written stand-alone novels--the historical thriller Touchstone, A Darker Place, two loosely linked novels'Folly and Keeping Watch--and a science fiction novel, Califia's Daughters, under the pseudonym Leigh Richards.

King grew up reading her way through libraries like a termite through balsa before going on to become a mother, builder, world traveler, and theologian.

She has now settled into a genteel life of crime, back in her native northern California. She has a secondary residence in cyberspace, where she enjoys meeting readers in her Virtual Book Club and on her blog.

King has won the Edgar and Creasey awards (for A Grave Talent), the Nero (for A Monstrous Regiment of Women) and the MacCavity (for Folly); her nominations include the Agatha, the Orange, the Barry, and two more Edgars. She was also given an honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Check out King's website,, and follow the links to her blog and Virtual Book Club, featuring monthly discussions of her work, with regular visits from the author herself. And for regular LRK updates, follow the link to sign up for her email newsletter.

Customer Reviews

This is the tenth book in Laurie R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series.
Samantha Helle Sebens
So much has been said already about the plot, and the fact that its really just the end to the previous book that I won't say more here.
S. H.
One of the best Authors in my library and I have read every single one of her books.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Sheila L. Beaumont VINE VOICE on February 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a most satisfying conclusion to the story begun in "The Language of Bees." Ms. King masterfully refreshes the reader's memory of the dark events in that novel as she traces the separate, circuitous journeys of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell back to London, and we also find out what Mycroft and assorted villains are up to. It's hard to say much about the events in this book without giving too much away, but there's plenty of suspense, mystery, action and adventure, and the quality of the prose and the vivid portrayal of the characters are up to the author's usual high standards.

The highlight of this book for me was an odd, delightful new character, a man who comes to the rescue of Russell, her pilot, and Holmes' young granddaughter, Estelle, after their plane crash-lands in the forest. He introduces himself as Robert Goodman, and Russell can't help thinking of him as Robin Goodfellow, or "The Green Man," which was the author's original working title for this book. Ms. King is also reviving her theme of the holy fool, which she used so effectively earlier in her Kate Martinelli mystery "To Play the Fool." As exciting and well-plotted as the thrilling story of Mycroft, Holmes and Russell vs. the villains is, I saw this book primarily as a powerful mythic tale, with the fey Robert Goodman at the center of it. It's certainly one of the very best books in the series.

Be sure to read "The Language of Bees" before you start this one. And if you haven't read the earlier installments in the Russell-Holmes series, start with "The Beekeeper's Apprentice." It's a great series for anyone who enjoys well-written mystery and suspense with intelligent, likable characters, and it's a must-read for Sherlock Holmes aficionados.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Karie Hoskins VINE VOICE on February 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I so didn't want to finish reading this book. I can't explain exactly what it is about Laurie King's books...but even though I dropped out of reading the "mystery/thriller" genre a LONG time ago - I love her books. They have all the wonderful escapism and none of the cheesiness that ruins most "whodunits" for me.

To sink back into the world of Sherlock Holmes...of bolt holes, Irregulars, disguises and detecting far before the world of DNA & a delight. And with Mary Russell as our guide - the experience is all the more delightful. She has all of the intelligence, common sense and perception of Holmes - with the very needed addition of compassion and a sharp wit.

"The business end of a gun is remarkably distracting. It dominates the world."

"The God of the Hive" brings the reader into the world of Holmes's brother Mycroft, usually a background character. The reader is also introduced to newly revealed family members for Holmes and a fascinating character Russell encounters under desperate circumstances.

"He stood, torn between the choices I had given him. It might be nothing. A charabanc of travelers benighted and looking for help. A band of Wordsworth fanatics looking for a host of golden daffodils by moonlight. Even some of Mycroft's men coming to our assistance - the last made for a lovely thought. But until I knew for certain, we had to treat this as an invasion, and I hated the thought that this damaged man's generosity of spirit had brought an abrupt loss of his hard-won peace."

Although the story is at the forefront almost all of the time...there seems to be a thread of social commentary running through the events that was not unwelcome.

"Were five armed men another symptom of unrest?
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By K. M. VINE VOICE on February 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The God of the Hive: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes takes up exactly where Laurie R. King's last Russell/Holmes novel, The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Novels), left off. On the run from the law, Sherlock Holmes, with a wounded young man, takes off in one direction, and over open water, while Mary Russell climbs hills on a different heading, fearing she is being followed by the same madman they had all just confronted. Mary is not alone as she tries to get back to the small airplane that brought her to the Orkney islands; she is carrying three-and-a-half-year-old Estelle. Holmes, after snatching up a doctor to treat Damian, his charge and more to him than just that, decides to hole up in Amsterdam. Mary, meanwhile, aims to get back to London, but she, Estelle, and the plane's pilot are forced to take a detour, setting them on a collision course (pun intended) with a nearly elfin hermit/"fool" who goes by the moniker Robert Goodman.

For much of THE GOD OF THE HIVE, Holmes and Russell are separated and communicate very sparingly. All the while, Mycroft Holmes is also being threatened. He's kidnapped by a shadowy person who apparently is the superior of the maniac from whom Damian and Estelle had been rescued. This new villain is, like Mycroft, part of British intelligence. Unlike Mycroft, he considers his version of national security as rationale for blackmail and murder. And that leads to what Mary mournfully decides is a world that's "a less secure, less blessedly interesting place" and "an age of the death of gods.
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