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Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell, #12)

4.2 out of 5 stars 350 customer reviews
Book 12 of 13 in the Mary Russell Series

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ISBN-10: 0553907557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553907551
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

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By Sharon Isch TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A few things longtime fans of the series should know straight off: 1. This novel has a confusing start and a complex, convoluted ending, but I think, by the time it's all over, most readers will have agreed that that turned out to be a GOOD thing. 2. Our heroine's husband, Sherlock Holmes, is back as a full-fledged co-star in this one, something many King fans have been begging for for a long time. 3. The high page-count padding that others of us have groused about is gone. 4. This 13th in the series starts out looking like it's a going to be a sequel to the last one, "Pirate King," but it really isn't, except as a way of explaining how the couple happened to be in Morocco (to the relief of this reader, who didn't much like that book).

Other things you may find worth knowing from the get-go: 1. The story opens with heroine/narrator Mary Russell waking up with a head injury, not knowing where she is or even WHO she is. Readers will spend much of those early pages sharing her amnesic confusions over what's going on and where this story is headed. 2. Unless you know the basics of Moroccan colonial and tribal history circa 1924, you may find it useful to consult an encyclopedia or Wikipedia for a quick primer before digging in. 3. The Hazr brothers, who play key roles in this novel, have appeared previously in the series-in O Jerusalem (Mary Russell Novels)(1999) and Justice Hall (Mary Russell Novels)(2002). 4. Arabic words crop up frequently, but only a few are defined in the glossary at the back. 5.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I took a look at some other reviews just now, and I've got to say, I'm a bit shocked. I had expected all 5-stars and tearful rejoicing at the return of Laurie R King to the land of OMG-I-can't-wait-a-whole-year-for-the-next-book authors.

And, indeed, there are some reviews which say almost exactly that -- with an extra layer of "and thank heavens King is back on form."

Amen.

But what shocked me were the 3 reviews making, roughly, this argument:

~there's too much Mary Russell in this Russell/Holmes book
~there's too much history and politics to learn
~there's not enough action [in a book where no one sits down for 5 minutes altogether unless concussed or chained]
~there's not enough Sherlock Holmes.

According to this trio, King should return to "the premise that Sherlock Holmes had lived into an amazingly hearty old age, adopted an apprentice and then fallen in love with -- and married her.

Holmes, you'll note, operates in the active voice, while Russell is his to adopt, to love, and to marry. Wait!?!! Did I miss our mass relocation to the 1950s? (1850s, 1750s, 16 . . ???)

Now I'm not saying that King hasn't deserved some chiding in the last few years -- 2 half-books passing as wholes and pirates-light (or even lite.) But, viewed from a distance, we might see a larger pattern here.

The trip to India gives us an adventure with Russell and Holmes separated for considerable chunks of action, and -- more symbolically -- the threshold-crossing act of Mary cutting her iconic hair. The San Francisco book (one of my favorites) is a foray into Mary's childhood as well as a long-delayed space for her to consider herself as a woman, not as a mind in a woman's body.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the 12th novel in the MARY RUSSELL series and picks up only a few weeks after the events of PIRATE KING.

Once again Holmes and his wife, Mary, find themselves caught up in the 'Great Game' this time in war torn Morocco. The pair had been looking forward to being reunited now that dreadful assignment Mycroft had given Mary was ending but when Holmes arrived to meet with her Mary was missing, and had left behind very few clues for him to follow. Mary meanwhile had woken up in a strange place, with a throbbing headache and no idea of who she was or how she had gotten there. The only thought that was clear to her was that she was in danger and needed to flee. Eventually the pair reunite but only to discover that all is not as it seems, and that once again their lives are moved by unseen forces.

This, like the rest of this series, is a light hearted adventure story, this time set in exotic Morocco. The colorful location and confused political situation of North Africa provide an intriguing setting for a plot that is full of twists and turns. King once again brings life to her characters, especially Mary and Sherlock as she tells this tale. Fans of the series will be happy to meet some old friends from earlier novels (O JERUSALEM and JUSTICE HALL) in this adventure, as well as to meet a new one who will hopefully return in later ones.

The overall story arc of this series is quite pronounced and so to fully appreciate this one I would recommend reading at least of some the earlier novels. An even better idea would be to begin at the beginning (THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE) and proceed in order.
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