Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Book Review - Death Cloud

Title: Death Cloud
Author: Andrew Lane
Series: Young Sherlock Holmes (book 1)
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: 4 Jun 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0330511988

The year is 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. His life is that of a perfectly ordinary army officer’s son: boarding school, good manners, a classical education – the backbone of the British Empire. But all that is about to change. With his father suddenly posted to India, and his mother mysteriously ‘unwell’, Sherlock is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire. So begins a summer that leads Sherlock to uncover his first murder, a kidnap, corruption and a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent . . . 

My Review
I have read a couple of Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes books and have really enjoyed them, but have wondered what made Sherlock the man we all know. Andrew Lane clearly had the same questions and has done a great job of trying to answer them.
In this book we meet Sherlock at 14 years of age, attending an all boys boarding school and generally a bit bored with life. Summer holidays are about to start and he is looking forward to going home. However his brother comes to tell him that he can't go home as his father as had to go away in the army and his mother is too ill to look after him so he must go and stay with his aunt and uncle - though they have never met before. 
Thinking summer will be long and boring Sherlock is surprised when two bodies turn up dead, one on the estate of his uncles house. Covered in pustules, locals fear a plague outbreak but Sherlock isn't so sure, he makes friends with a street boy named Matty and together they try to solve the murders.
I really enjoyed this book, their are some gruesome bits in it, but it's to be expected from a crime detective novel. The writing is fluid and the research done to create the book is very thorough. There were definite quirks that made Sherlock the person we know he becomes, and they were included. However at other points Sherlock was like any other boy in any adventure story, but then Lane would put in one of his comments or thoughts or mannerisms that make up Holmes and it would bring it all back.
The story itself is well planned and moves well, the crime is mysterious and kept me guessing throughout. There are exciting action scenes that make you clue your eyes to the page.
I have to admit I was slightly disappointed with the revealing of the Villain and I found the final battle scene quite silly. Just didn't seem believable, but it didn't really take away from my overall enjoyment.
I was definitely impressed with this book, and I hope Lane continues writing this series. It brings a whole new dimension to Sherlock Holmes.

My Rating
I would give this book 8/10, very exciting gripping adventure that opens up a world I already love. 

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