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Death Cloud (Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins) Hardcover – February 1, 2011
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It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.
Andrew Lane Talks About Death Cloud (Young Sherlock Holmes)
Arthur Conan Doyle wrote fifty-six short stories and four novels about Sherlock Holmes. You can still find them in most bookshops. When he first appeared, Sherlock was around thirty-three years old and was already a detective with an established set of habits and abilities. In his last appearance he was around sixty, and had retired to the Sussex coast to keep bees. Yes, bees.
My intention with the Young Sherlock Holmes series is to find out what Sherlock was like before Arthur Conan Doyle first introduced him to the world. What sort of teenager was he? Where did he go to school, and who were his friends? Where and when did he learn the skills that he displayed later in life – the logical mind, the boxing and sword-fighting, the love of music and of playing the violin?
Arthur Conan Doyle gave little away about Sherlock's early years, and most writers since then have avoided that period of time as well. We know little about his parents, or indeed where he lived. We know he was descended on his mother's side from the French artist Vernet and that he had a brother called Mycroft, who appears in a few of the short stories, but that's about it. That has given me the freedom to create a history for Sherlock that is consistent with the few hints that Conan Doyle did let slip, but also leads inevitably to the man that Conan Doyle described.
I promise that there will be more adventures of Sherlock Holmes at school and university, but in the meantime you might want to seek out the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you want to go further, you could do worse than seek out the three more recent Holmes novels by Nicholas Meyer--The Seven Per-Cent Solution, The West End Horror, and The Canary Trainer--as well as Lyndsay Faye's Dust and Shadow.
Until next time, when Sherlock faces the repulsive Red Leech...
From School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Sherlock Holmes, 14, is expecting a quiet summer, relaxing with his family after a difficult term at school. However, political upheaval in India, his mother's illness, and brother Mycroft's position in the Foreign Office result in Sherlock being sent to distant relatives instead. Adapting to life at Holmes Manor in Farnham, he makes friends with a village ruffian and is soon given an American tutor to keep him out of mischief. When Sherlock and Amyus Crowe, the tutor, discover a body covered with mysterious swellings, they are thrown into a conspiracy of chemicals, knives, and money. Over the course of his investigation, Sherlock is kidnapped twice by pale and crippled Baron Maupertuis, once after a brutal boxing match, and the second time while with beautiful Virginia Crowe, daughter of Amyus. In their final confrontation, Sherlock and Virginia discover the Baron's plot to bring down the whole of the British Empire. Lane successfully blends the traditional Holmesian confidence with the teen's awkward self-consciousness. The vulnerability of the character is well illustrated through his relationship with Mycroft, as well as his friendship with Matty, the young orphaned longboat operator. While the crush on Virginia seems a bit shoehorned in, her character does provide some needed humor. Occasionally the action overwhelms the investigative components, but the narrative still flows smoothly. A menacing villain and an unexpected twist make for a thoroughly engaging read that will keep readers turning pages. Now, it's just a matter of waiting for the next tale.-Joel Shoemaker, formerly at South East Junior High School, Iowa City, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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The novel begins with 14 year old Sherlock waiting for his father to collect him from boarding school for the summer holiday. Instead he finds his brother, Mycroft, waiting in the headmaster's office. Mycroft informs Sherlock that their father has been sent to India and arrangements have been made with Uncle Sherrinford and Aunt Anna in Farnham to care for him during the summer.
Resigned to his fate, Sherlock tries to make the most of his situation. He meets a young orphan, Matty Arnatt, and the two boys become quick friends. Matty tells Sherlock of the Death Cloud he saw coming from a house in town. It came out of the window and went up the drain pipe. The man in the house had large boils on his face and hands reminiscent of the plague. This peaks Sherlock's curiosity and the two boys begin investigating.
About this time, Sherlock discovers that Mycroft has hired a tutor to help further his education. The tutor in question, Amyus Crowe, has come from America with his daughter Virginia, who Sherlock immediately becomes infatuated with. Later, while Amyus and Sherlock are hiking through the forest to learn about edible plants, another body is discovered bearing the same characteristics as the previous one. This time, it is Sherlock that witnesses the Death Cloud. He also finds some yellow powder near the body, which he collects in an envelope.
With the discovery of the second body, the community becomes worried about another outbreak of the bubonic plague, But Sherlock is not convinced. He had seen the second man earlier the same day the body was discovered, with no signs of any disease present. He and Matty's investigations lead to a secluded warehouse and a mysterious foreign Baron. With the help of Amyus and Virginia Crowe, the two boys are able to make sense of the clues and solve the case.
It is not surprising that Amyus Crowe reminded me of the grown Sherlock. With his vast amount of knowledge and deductive reasoning, he is the man Sherlock will become. At one point during the story, Sherlock notes that Amyus is trying to "teach me how to think," and indeed this is the case. Amyus would ask questions in such a way as to lead the young man in the direction of the solution without actually giving it to him.
The mystery set forth in the story is very clever, and while the villain is not typical of Doyle's Holmes character, I found the novel to be quite entertaining. If you are willing to believe that Holmes was not always the man he was portrayed as by Doyle, then I think you will enjoy this novel as much as I did.
So I would totaly recommend to read this book!! (also if you need an intersting book to read in class :-))
Owns your interest after the first pages
Moments of fear, shock and thougt
Soo damn clever
The book starts out with thirteen year old Sherlock Holmes getting read to leave Deepdene School for Boys. He's waiting for his father to pick him up, but unexpectedly Mycroft Holmes is the one to collect him. Mycroft did not come bringing good news. Sherlock's father has been called to duty in the East Indies and his mother is too sickly for him to come home. Neither does Mycroft have the time to watch in in London. Therefore he is going to stay with a uncle he's never met in a town called Farnham. Needless to say Sherlock is not the least bit pleased. Course Sherlock being who he is and destiny decided to come a knocking early. No sooner had he gotten settled in that a second man is found dead of a mysterious illness. Sherlock, along with his friend Matty, American tutor Amyus Crowe, Amyus's daughter Virginia, set out to discover why.
My impression of this book is that it definitely was worth it's endorsement by the Doyle estate. Written in a tone similar to Conan Doyle's you really feel like your reading about the earlier adventures of Sherlock. Not quite the detective mastermind yet you can see how Sherlock would turn into the man he would become. Interesting enough i'm quite curious as to see what happens to Matty and the Crowe's later on. To my knowledge they don't appear in any of the original stories.
Needless to say i'll be reading the sequel that is to come out. Whether i'll be getting it for my sister of myself is the question.
Final Rating: 4 1/2 stars. There were some minor flaws in the book that kept it from being a 5. Plus a 5 star book for me is one where i jadored it. I liked this book, but didn't love love love it.