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The Limehouse Text: A Novel (Barker and Llewelyn Book 3) Kindle Edition

47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Convincing period detail and memorable characters lift Thomas's fast and furious third Victorian whodunit (after 2005's To Kingdom Come) to feature enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his callow assistant, Thomas Llewelyn. A pawn ticket found among the effects of Barker's previous sidekick, Quong, leads the pair to Limehouse, London's Chinatown, where they discover an ancient Chinese book on martial arts. A number of parties seek the book, including someone willing to kill to gain its secrets. Barker draws on his encyclopedic knowledge of the London underworld and his extensive network of allies to advance the investigation. While the murderer's identity won't surprise many, and Barker's talents, which include mastery of the martial arts, border on the superhuman, Sherlock Holmes fans in particular will be pleased by how well Thomas evokes the Baker Street sleuth and the spirit of Conan Doyle's stories. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The streets of turn-of-the-century London teem with trouble in this third offering in Thomas' atmospheric series (following To Kingdom Come, 2005). Stoic Scottish private-enquiry agent Cyrus Barker remains haunted by the mysterious death of his loyal assistant, Quong, who left a tattered pawn ticket among his effects. With his new right-hand man, Welshman Thomas Llewelyn, Barker exchanges the ticket for a rare Chinese text containing secret martial-arts techniques so lethal that others are willing to, well, kill for them. "(It is a rather special manual," Barker explains to a constable at Scotland Yard. "It teaches, for one thing, a way to disrupt the body's internal functions, killing someone without a sign.") With its ominous opium dens and dark-hearted thugs, London's Chinatown district, called Limehouse, is a forbidding place. But Barker, who once served in battle on behalf of the Chinese, is able to navigate it with the help of some influential friends, including tattooed restaurant owner Ho, whose personal history is as unsavory as his establishment's cuisine. Narrated by plucky Llewelyn, the novel features a memorable cast of characters, from a monocled dandy named Woo to tart-tongued shopkeeper Hettie Petulengro, who gives the unsuspecting detectives a spirited dressing-down. A wholly satisfying twist ends this outstanding entry in what is fast becoming one of the genre's best historical-mystery series. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 439 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0743273354
  • Publisher: Touchstone (July 5, 2006)
  • Publication Date: July 4, 2006
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000NY12FK
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,911 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Thomas is the author of Some Danger Involved, the first novel featuring Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn, and now a Barry and Shamus Award nominee. He lives with his family in Oklahoma.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Hallinan on September 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Will Thomas is one of the freshest voices in the mystery field right now. Fine characterization, breakneck plotting, a dazzling evocation of Victorian London, and a funny, energetic first-person narrator, all add up to books that are pure pleasure to read. But one thing I don;t understand is why everyone seems to be comparing Thomas' characters to Holmes and Watson when it's so clear to me that they're more closely based based on Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, the heroes of the greatest traditional detective series ever written in America. Admittedly, the active and deadly Barker is no housebound 300-pounder like Wolfe, but the relationship (and especially the tone of the relationship) pays creative homage to Rex Stout's immortal creations. And since I love Wolfe and Archie, and am a complete sucker for Victorian novels (both the real thing and those written today) and since Will Thomas is a terrific writer in his own right, "The Limehouse Text" knocked me out. One thing I especially like is that Thomas is withholding so much information about Barker: what's his real background? Is he Chinese or part-Chinese? Where did he get his skills? Barker has an enormous, exotic, unexplored backstory, and I'm sure that's going to give Will Thomas material to work with for many books to come. And I'll be buying them as fast as they come out.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Will Thomas's third installment in his entertaining Victorian mystery series is "The Limehouse Text," featuring the formidable enquiry agent, Cyrus Barker, and his faithful young assistant, Thomas Llewelyn. The year is 1885 and the Limehouse is London's Chinese district, which is crime-ridden and dangerous. The text referred to in the title was stolen from the Xi Jiang Monastery in the Jiangsu Province of China and was later brought aboard ship to London. The book is an instruction manual containing secret and highly dangerous martial arts techniques practiced in China, and if the volume should fall into the wrong hands, the consequences could be disastrous. An unknown assailant has already murdered several people in an attempt to get his hands on this prized work.

One day, Inspector Nevil Bainbridge hands over a pawn ticket to Barker. The ticket was found among the effects of Quong, Barker's first assistant who was found dead a year earlier, "shot with a single bullet between the eyes." Barker has long reproached himself over his failure to find Quong's killer, and he thinks that this new development may break the case wide open. Barker has an advantage in this investigation since not only does he speak fluent Chinese, but he also spent years in China as a soldier. He even has a sobriquet, "Shi Shi Ji," which means Stone Lion in Chinese. Barker is an expert in martial arts and a courageous and determined fighter.

Indeed, the pawn ticket does lead to the famed Limehouse text, and the case sends Barker and Llewelyn into a labyrinthine world of intrigue. As always, Will Thomas's thorough research yields rich dividends.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts VINE VOICE on April 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn discover a pawn ticket in the suit of Thomas' predecessor, Quong, who had been murdered. The ticket leads to a rare book on forbidden martial arts techniques, stolen from a Chinese monastery. Many people want this book and many die, nearly including Barker himself, as he and Thomas try to protect themselves, save the book and discover who killed Quong.

It is always a delight to read the newest book in this series. Will Thomas paints a vivid picture of turn-of-the-19th Century London and the characters in it. Barker is delightfully enigmatic; we learn only bits of him with each book. Llewelyn is an impatient young man who has already seen much of the harsher side of life and yet is still somewhat naïve. The supporting characters, including Ham the pug, are fully drawn and add great dimension to the story. The plot is entertaining and even with the "gather the suspects" scene at the end, I was intrigued to learn how Barker determined the killer. I hope this series continues for a long time to come. If you've not as yet discovered Will Thomas and enjoy a Holmes-style investigator, I highly recommend these.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
In 1885 Inspector Nevil Bainbridge visits enquiry agent Cyrus Barker holding a pawn ticket found sewed in a robe owned by the late Quong, who was Barker's assistant before Thomas Llewelyn. Confused as Quong had no secrets, but assuming his former assistant was just learning about western ways with trips to out of the way shops, Cyrus, Nevil and Thomas visit the pawn shop in the Chinatown Limehouse section of London.

They learn the pawn store owner recently fell down a set of stairs and died, and someone broke into the shop. They retrieve a Chinese book so they next go to see Chinese cuisine Chef Ho for an interpretation of what they possess. He cautions them that the book is a sacred "hidden text of a boxing school" that should never have found its way to Europe. They soon learn first hand why Ho gave a "death touch" warning when several people, some willing to kill as Cyrus believes happened to the pawn shop owner and Quong, want to possess the book.

THE LIMEHOUSE TEXT is a terrific Victorian mystery that pays homage to Holmes and Watson as did the two previous enquiry thrillers (see SOME DANGER INVOLVED and TO KINGDOM COME). The whodunit is fun though the killer seems obvious early on while readers will appreciate Cyrus's tour of 1880s Limehouse section where many Chinese expatriates lived. Sort of like a cross between Derek Flint (see movies IN LIKE FLINT and OUR MAN FLINT) and Holmes, readers especially the Baker Street Irregulars will enjoy Cyrus' latest escapades.

Harriet Klausner
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It's ridiculous that Simon & Schuster is charging $21.99 for the trade paperback edition of "The Limehouse Text" and $16.99 for the Kindle version. That's overpriced and then some, especially considering (1) the book was published in 2006, and (2) an eBook costs them virtually nothing... Read More
Jun 5, 2015 by Todd V. Leone |  See all 2 posts
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