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Pirate King (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes) Paperback – April 17, 2012
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“Brilliant . . . [This] tangled web includes some very high comedy from Gilbert and Sullivan, pirates, and early moviemaking.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Fast-paced and funny.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
LAURIE R. KING’S BESTSELLING NOVELS OF SUSPENSE FEATURING MARY RUSSELL AND SHERLOCK HOLMES ARE . . .
“Audacious.” —Los Angeles Times
“Delightful and creative.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Rousing . . . riveting . . . suspenseful.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“Beguiling . . . tantalizing.” —The Boston Globe
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Top Customer Reviews
But then something strange happened. King began separating Holmes and Russell. When this trend began, the books would describe each of the partners' doings, which were bookended with scenes of them together. Later on, though, their time together became strictly limited and Mary's separate role was emphasized.
Pirate King takes this trend even further. In this book, Holmes is entirely absent for a good two-thirds of the book and the pair are together for very few pages. I would estimate that scenes of the two of them together total only about 20 pages or so out of more than 300 pages.
Mary is persuaded by Holmes and Inspector Lestrade to go undercover as a director's assistant with Fflytte Films as they head to Lisbon and Morocco to make a silent film about Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. "How can there be a silent film about an operetta?," I hear you ask. It turns out the project is about a film crew trying to make a film about The Pirates of Penzance. The play-within-a-play conceit becomes ever more elaborate, as Mary works with actors playing the parts of pirates, constables, British officers and coquettish daughters, and many of the actors turn out to be something other than what they seem.Read more ›
The Pirate King of the title is a reference to the Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan, a reference appropriate both in plot and motif. William S. Gilbert himself might have appreciated the ending, which mixes Gilbert's fairytale style with a mercantile Machiavellianism. It is much to her credit that Laurie King actually pulls it off. (Though some might disagree, the only part that seems implausible to me is the pace of those particular events.)
King's narrative is generally good and her descriptive skills a bit better. I found them actually moving in spots; others may disagree.
The story's weaknesses are the tangle of story layers necessary (a story about an adventure whilst filming a movie about the making of a play) and a certain formulaic feel to some of the Russell-Holmes scenes. One in particular has me wondering whether King lost touch with her characters or whether she is planning some future development. In my opinion, the best books in the series are the early ones that develop that relationship. At this point, it may be hard to sustain continued development, especially as King has castled Holmes queen-side, moving him well out of the reader's eye for most of the story.Read more ›
In Pirates, Ms King has abandoned all this and appears to have chosen to write a completely dumbed down novel. Holmes and Mary Russell have each lost 40 IQ points. The plot is a farce, in both senses. It is as if she decided to write a screenplay for a summer tentpole movie where any trace of thought, complex ideas or character development has to be carefully expunged to leave something understandable by a four year old. The transition from the earlier novels is so gross, and the author so intelligent, that one feels this must have been a decision rather just a tired author throwing out the next in a series to garner some cash.
In short, if you enjoyed the earlier Mary Russell novels save your dollars and don't buy this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
...but still a decent read. A bit too campy for my taste, but so is Penzance. Less Russell/Holmes than usual as well.Published 56 minutes ago by Olivia Leigh
Different ion tone from a number of the other works in the Mary Russell series, this has been a most enjoyable read with a bit more footwork, for lack of a better term, than in... Read morePublished 9 days ago by C. Lee
I was warned it was a bit of off track story for Mary Russell and it was. Characters good and parts I learned as always but the feel of this one did not satisfy.Published 21 days ago by Marsha L. Breitling
It was hard to keep reading this. There was no suspense or mystery great enough to keep me engaged. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Musubi2
Not enough Sherlock and practically no action, let alone adventure or mystery. Just a travelogue about Russell's trio with a film crew. Very tiring to slog through it all. Read morePublished 2 months ago by MsProspero
This is a decent book, but not as strong as most of the books in this series. The plot somehow failed to catch me entirely. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Patricia M