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The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel Paperback – October 2, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Exceptionally entertaining ... one can only applaud Horowitz's skill ... impressive ... an altogether terrific period thriller and one of the best Sherlockian pastiches of our time."―The Washington Post

"The latest edition to [Sherlock's] distinguished legacy...Admirers of Horowitz's ITV series, Foyle's War, and Sherlockians will delight in equal measure. With consummate grasp, Horowitz unfolds an intricate and rewarding mystery in the finest Victorian tradition...For all its deft and loving fidelity, THE HOUSE OF SILK sees the great detective in grisly and unfamiliar straits."―Vanity Fair

"Cliffhanger plotting... Watson's elegiac voice should silence the objections of even the most persnickety Sherlock scholar."―NPR

"A book firmly rooted in the style of Doyle, faithful to the character as created and with just enough wiggle room to allow the author to say all the things he's been longing to say about the world of 221B Baker Street...THE HOUSE OF SILK will satisfy."―The Huffington Post

"The hype surrounding what's being billed as the first pastiche ever officially approved by the Conan Doyle estate is amply justified ... authentic. Horowitz gets everything right-the familiar narrative voice, brilliant deductions, a very active role for Watson, and a perplexing and disturbing series of puzzles to unravel-and the legion of fans of the originals will surely be begging for Horowitz to again dip into Watson's trove of untold tales."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Nicely captures the storytelling tone of Holmes' inventor in a galloping adventure that boasts enough twists, ominous turns and urgent nocturnal escapades to make modern moviemakers salivate ... Author Horowitz delivers some dramatic tableaux in these pages, including a railway robbery, a prison escape and a horse-drawn carriage chase ... the Holmes we see here is just as cryptic and clever as we've come to expect."―Kirkus Reviews

"Horowitz truly pulls off the wonderful illusion that Arthur Conan Doyle left us one last tale... Close your eyes and you can smell the shag tobacco of Holmes' church warded pipe as he sorts through the evidence."―San Diego Union Tribune


"Worthy of [its] canonical inspiration ... an impressive read ... Horowitz plots masterfully, foregrounding Holmes' trademark investigative techniques against Watson's pacey narration."―The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"A tone-perfect, action-packed story of corruption, greed and dissolution, all the while capturing the sights, smells and social problems of 1890's London...This reader, albeit no Holmes expert, totally forgot the novel wasn't from Doyle himself."―The Cleaveland Plain Dealer

"An homage to the Holmes canon; Horowitz does a fine job with the atmospheric setting and tense plotting, and he captures Watson's voice and Holmes' character well. The crimes they uncover will, even in the 21st century, have a shocking ripped-from-the-headlines impact."―St. Petersburg Times

"The author excels at turning his readers into 'Watsons' who are devoted to Holmes and enthusiastically leap into danger just to follow the detective throughout a case...The characterization of Holmes and Watson is true to the original but also offers greater insight into a fascinating friendship...Horowitz even knows how to write a riveting chase scene that, were it filmed for Ritchie's movie franchise, would certainly be an adrenaline-fueled cinematic climax...for its attention to character, quality of plot, and Horowitz's familiarity with the original stories, it scores highly."―PopMatters.com

About the Author

Anthony Horowitz is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Alex Rider series and the award-winning writer of PBS's Foyle's War, Collision, Injustice as well as many other film and television projects. He lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Series: Sherlock Holmes
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books; Reprint edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316197014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316197014
  • ASIN: 0316197017
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (446 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Morris Massel on November 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz is a new Sherlock Holmes novel, which is the first officially sanctioned take-off of Sherlock Holmes by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate. For the Sherlock Holmes lover, this is a must read. For everyone else, I'd highly recommend it.

Anthony Horowitz is a famed writer of young adult action novels (the Alex Rider series) and also an acclaimed writer of the PBS series Foyle's War (a must see for mystery lovers/WWII buffs). His connections to Sherlock Holmes and the Canon were not as established.

Conan Doyle had a distinct writing style (somewhat sparse on detail of Victorian life but more than enough to fill the canvas) and created vivid and memorable characters. Although Holmes solved his share of murders, he also solved all kinds of other crimes and mysteries. Creating the perfect pastiche requires echoing Conan Doyle and remembering that Holmes was not a superhero (as he is portrayed in the Robert Downey, Jr. movies).

In The House of Silk, Horowitz gets it right on all counts. The tone, the writing, the characters and even the plotting matches up beautifully with Conan Doyle. Horowitz also brings back other minor characters from the Canon for non-distracting cameo appearances, which is a delight for lovers of the Canon. Yet, Horowitz makes Sherlock his own, creating a story with a bit more action than Conan Doyle gave us, which will keep you glued to the book. The story is a classic tale of Holmes and Watson, with Watson as the narrator. Watson writes the story after Holmes has passed away and seals it away for one hundred years because the story is to explosive to be shared during their lifetimes. From there, the story unfolds with two unrelated story lines, the action builds and Horowitz captures your imagination. If like mysteries at all, this is one not to miss. If you love Sherlock Holmes, this is a must read.
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163 of 179 people found the following review helpful By Aftermath on November 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
60 years ago, as a teenager, I devoured the complete Sherlock Holmes lexicon with the greatest of excitement and joy. Since then I have read, watched and listened carefully -- Holmes-like -- to all things Sherlock. Sometimes pleased (the early Britt portrayals) sometimes disgusted (Robert Downey, Jr, need I say more?) I have hungered and thirsted for the real Sherlock. And here he is, in his full and real glory, on the trail of the bad guys, making progress from the slightest of clues, adding two and two and getting the real answer, not the four I get with the evidence. This is the real Holmes in the real London with the real characters we knew and loved but with devilishly new crimes to stop and perplexing trails to follow. As anyone who watched "Foyle's War" knows, Horowitz is a genius, never more than here. Every nuance, every phrase, every fog-lit street, everything is right -- Sherlock and Watson are back, and we can all say hallelujah!
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113 of 126 people found the following review helpful By G. Peter Wityk on November 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The House of Silk is over hyped which probably caused me to rate it lower than I might have had it not been touted as the second coming of Conan Doyle.

First, there have been many authorized additions to the Canon. This is hardly the first and most definitely not the best. My personal favorite is The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes by Adrian Conan Doyle ( son and 'literary executor' of Arthur Conan Doyle ) and John Dickson Carr ( well worth reading for his own stories under his name and his pen name of Carter Dickson ).

Second, Horowitz seems to have attempted to modernize the attitudes, actions and style to suit today's audience. We lose some of the Victorian charm and the feeling of being in another era. I find that detracts from the book.

Third, both the Holmes' seem somewhat out of character. Sherlock is less the analytic machine, cold and emotionless and more moody, brooding and a bit weepy. It takes too long for him to return to character. Mycroft is more concerned with keeping his position than doing what is right for the country. It feels like Horowitz takes book time to allow his characters to find their pace.

Fourth, Horowitz finds it necessary to provide a back story in the preface that is not necessary to the story. I didn't find that it added much beyond page count.

In spite of all those negative words, Horowitz is an experience and capable writer. It may take a while to for the reader to discover that. And, eventually there is a sufficiency of action and mystery to keep the puzzle solver distracted and attracted.

The bottom line is that it is a book worth reading. It's just not as good or as unique as the publisher would like us to believe.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robert Pater on October 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading "The House of Silk" a few hours ago. I'm a lifelong Sherlock Holmes aficionado, at least since receiving the complete canon on my 13th birthday. Since then, I've read any even-halfway-promising pastiche that has come out. Of course, these range from very good to dreadful (for the latter, see my Amazon review of "Sherlock Holmes And The Lyme Regis Horror").

I rate the House of Silk (read an Advanced Reader's Copy) by far the best pastiche I've ever read. The story line is exciting and interesting. Holmes' and Watson's characters are remarkably consistent with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's (ACD) portrayals. And, unlike numerous other pastiches, Holmes is at the top of his deduction and detection form.

Though the writing seems consistent overall with that in the canon, the only note of discordance, as mentioned in the title of my review, is that Horowitz's writing is superior to that of Doyle's - more flowing and clear. Purportedly written by Watson towards the end of his life, the faithful doctor is more reflective and revelatory than in his "earlier stories." Comments on Mycroft, Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade were original, illuminated their and Watson's characters and relationships, and, again, consistent with how they were portrayed by ACD - just "deeper." These expansions were all believable, coming from an older, more experienced, more thoughtful Watson, who accepts he's nearing the end of his natural life.

Can't recommend this book highly enough. Only strongly hope that this is just the beginning of Horowitz's Holmes' novels.
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