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The Limehouse Text: A Novel (Barker and Llewelyn Book 3) by [Thomas, Will]
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The Limehouse Text: A Novel (Barker and Llewelyn Book 3) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 52 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: 676 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • 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: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,535 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Will Thomas' Victorian mysteries echo the place, time and relationship of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classics, but with a fresh take on the genre. This offering is set in Limehouse, a part of east London just as seedy and dangerous as Whitechapel, but with a less notorious reputation. The text to which the title refers is a secret book that discloses the "dim mak" or "death touch" of B-grade kung-fu movies; due to its lethality, several groups compete for its possession - with predictably lethal consequences.

The story is solid - the reveal is a surprise, the red herrings believable, and the pace of the action rapid. What I especially enjoyed about the book is the relationship between characters - and how as the Barker-Llewellyn series continues, pieces of the history of both are revealed as the depth of the partnership deepens.

_The Limehouse Text_ is a fun read, with winks and nods both to other Victorian detective writers (like Doyle) but also to contemporary film. A great addition to a great series. Recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not sure how this book came to me (as It sat on one of my book shelves for almost a year!), but once I started reading it I couldn't stop. This was one of my 'train books' as I read it for 40 minutes a day as I traveled to and from work. I eventaully just started reading it at home when I got a chance. I LOVE Barker and Llewelyn! The people, places, and era as so beautifully done. The writing is well crafted in every way imaginable. I honestly cannot think of even one miniscule thing that could have been different or better. From the first word to the last Mr. Thomas had my full attention. I was as stunned as everyone at Ho's who the killer was.....!

I have now started the 4th B and L book, and once again enthralled. Mr. Thomas you are such a gifted and talented author, and I thank you for all your hard work (his research must have been very in-depth) and talent. Will we ever know what lurkes behind those dark glasses of Barker? Will Barker ever tell more about his past? Will Barker and Llewelyn ever find Lady Loves? (Barker would make a great 'Book Boyfriend', however he is a tad too much of a curmudgeon Lol!).

I would recommend this writer to anyone that wants a good solid Victorian Era read.
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