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The Language of Bees Audio, Cassette – 2009

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: RecordedBooks (2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1436128900
  • ISBN-13: 978-1436128902
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,196,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On the one hand, it was gratifying to find that our heroine Mary Russell has returned to her old smart, formidable self and partnership with Sherlock Holmes, after that maudlin, but probably necessary, detour in San Francisco in "Locked Rooms." And the introduction of Damian Adler, the surrealist painter, suggests new and interesting possibilities ahead for the series.

On the other hand, after slogging through this overly long and drawn out tale, it was a definite downer to come in for a landing at page 442, only to find:

"to be continued..."

Alas, I don't think I'm going to be up for yet another several hundred pages about the case of the religious nutcase. As villains go, he's just not all that interesting or, to my mind, sequel-worthy.

Some years ago, not long after she changed publishers, I heard Laurie King tell a book fair audience that Bantam was pushing her to up her page counts. And she's certainly done that. It seems to me her novels are getting more and more bogged down in beautifully written, but frequently irrelevant, detail and description that disrupts the pace and doesn't advance the plot. Weary of what reads to me as padding, (the plot here doesn't begin to kick in till page 159), I'm thinking that maybe, instead of ordering her next book at the first announcement of a pub date, as I've always done before, I'll just hang back and wait to see what the page count and reviews here tell me. Meantime I think I'll revisit some of the old 300-pagers like "Beekeeper's Apprentice" and "The Moor" that once made me such a huge Mary Russell/Laurie King fan.

ADDENDA MARCH 1, 2010: Great news, King fans!!!
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Paige Morgan on April 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I got very little done today, because I was far too busy devouring the latest installment of Holmes' and Russell's adventures. Laurie R. King, after developing Mary Russell's past and vulnerabilities (and strength!) in _Locked Rooms_, undertakes a similar sort of character development for Holmes himself.

I'm almost surprised that I enjoyed it so much. I'm not a Holmes purist, but even to me, this seemed like a risky gambit -- it has so much potential to change his character ... but I should not have been worried. What King accomplishes makes the character of Sherlock Holmes more richly complex, and in the course of doing so, provides a chilling mystery, of a different sort than has been featured in the earlier volumes of the series.

If I'm vague, it's only that I'm trying to avoid spoilers. In this volume, readers are treated to more Mycroft (a treat!), Russell solving a different sort of mystery than usual, and a case involving an Aleister Crowleyesque cult. I felt as though there was a more meditative cast to parts of the book, which is to say that readers see Russell musing over human error, and forgiveness, and the ability to move past human error, and loneliness, a little more than in earlier entries of the series. But the book isn't dominated by these musings -- they are skillfully woven into the action.

I was satisfied by the ending, despite the fact that the last words are "to be continued...". Sometimes novels that end with cliffhangers feel like half-books that were only published accidentally. _The Language of Bees_ is unquestionably a whole book, and one that I will no doubt read again, while waiting for the sequel. I only wish I knew when the sequel was due to be published!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even though The Language of Bees came out at the over-full end of the semester, I fell into it instantly, neglecting piles of blue books and papers. At first, I was in ecstasy -- posting non-spoiler updates on Facebook and burbling to friends at morning coffee -- but I got quieter as pages turned and the narrative gave me more and more about less and less. I've always admired King's ability to bring together disparate topics and, rather like the metaphysical poets, to yoke them into a new reality. Here, she certainly laid out the material for another great work, but that unifying alchemy was missing.

Bee-keeping, standing stones, Aleister Crowley, French painters, an eclipse, and Holmes' son ~ how could this add up to anything other than the Philosopher's Stone?

Dunno, folks, but it didn't achieve critical mass.

I found very interesting the remarks of another reviewer who said that King's publisher was pushing for a higher page count. Well, if that's true, I don't see why it should obviate the possibility of an even better book. Look at the first in this series, The Bee-Keeper's Apprentice. It had the action and resolutions of several novels packed into one cover: fabulous. In many ways, the book is its mirror image: few plots, none resolved. "To be continued" is a total cheat. Unlike the 19th-century novels that came out in serial form, this wait will be not weeks, but years. And I don't think anyone is going to go down to the docks, al la The Old Curiosity Shop, for the next installment of this story.

For me, introducing the references to Crowley without following through was close to criminal.
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