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The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 300 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
For Horowitz, in his novel, poverty comes in two parts. The first part is how he represents the lower classes and poverty stricken being kept in their place by the upper classes, while the second major part is the homeless boys that live on the streets. Horowitz uses these dual points of poverty to help paint the picture of what Victorian London was like for many living there during that time. In Victorian London, poverty was a major issue that Doyle seemed to almost completely ignore. Anthony Horowitz successfully portrays Victorian London and some of the many issues that plagued it while still writing an entertaining story, something Doyle had trouble doing.
While Horowitz fantastically displayed the poverty, a hard topic to do successfully, he seemingly lost focus when it came to the characters Doyle created for him. We all know Sherlock Holmes, the cold calculating machine. In the canon he cares about very little and ignores things that are irrelevant, such as the fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Horowitz seems to have forgotten that fact. He shows a caring, angry, and beaten down Holmes. The mystery of the House of Silk disgusts and revolts Holmes, to the point where he actually sets things on fire. In the canon, Holmes only breaks the law when he believes it is for the greater good. The only reason for arson in The House of Silk is disgust and bad memories, things that definitely wouldn’t cut it in the canon. Another weird deviation from the typical Holmes character was the fact that he blamed himself for the death of Ross. In canon, Holmes couldn’t have cared less. For god sakes in the Hound of the Baskervilles, Holmes literally uses a man as bait for a vicious man killing beast which sends the man into shock and permanently scars him and Holmes didn’t care. The only thing he was worried about was whether or not he caught the criminal.
Watson was also changed from canon. Watson is known as being totally for anything Holmes is doing, but in the House of Silk he is irritated and angry at Holmes for his constant insults and digs. Doyle’s Watson would never have showed that much anger towards Holmes in any capacity.
All of this couples with the fact that Horowitz sprinkles in so many unneeded references to characters and events. We hear about Irene Adler. We have a very unneeded and awkwardly written scene with Moriarty. There is the constant mentions of past cases. It all seems clumsily added in there as a tribute to Doyle.
In my opinion, Horowitz had tried to hard to be Doyle. If he just would have focused on his case and left out the many different references that book would have been even more fantastic than it already was. Horowitz’s portrayal of London during the Victorian era was incredible and more accurate than Doyle’s. The plot had many unexpected twists and turns and the resolution was, at least in my case, unanticipated and went a completely different direction than I thought it would. Despite its flaws, The House of Silk was a great ADAPTATION that I will definitely read in the future. So, if you’re looking for a true to the canon Holmes story, this is not your read. But if you want an adaptation of the Holmes universe, you should definitely pick this up.
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