Shadowfall: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes by Tracy Revels
|Shadowfall: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes by Tracy Revels|
|Genre: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Madcap but hugely enjoyable action thriller which sees a half-Fae Holmes try to save Watson’s soul from the queen of the fairies, only to stumble into darker mysteries. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 206||Date: March 2011|
|Publisher: MX Publishing|
You remember Sherlock Holmes, yes? Deerstalker, pipe, leetle grey cells… (Oh, sorry, that was Poirot, but same kind of deductive ability), naked winged-woman on, or at least floating above, the sofa in Baker Street… wait a minute? Seriously?
Well, ‘seriously’ is probably not the word to be used to describe this delightful pastiche, but I can happily tell you that mixing Sherlock and Watson with Titania, Spring-Heeled Jack, Charon, and other lesser known tales works surprisingly well. Chiefly this is because Tracy Revels manages to capture the tone of Arthur Conan Doyle’s originals fairly faithfully, just with the twist that Sherlock is only half-human. And looking at his detective skills, it’s a wonder we hadn’t figured that out before.
The characters come at us fast and furious here, and part of the pleasure is there’s no need to spend any time establishing them. We know what to expect from Holmes and Watson, Revels shows us enough to realise that this is still the recognisable duo, despite Watson’s shock at finding out about his friend’s true origins, and that allows the majority of the book to be spent throwing ever-more bizarre obstacles at the pairing and watching them stretch themselves to their limits trying to overcome them. Full marks, as well, for a Watson who is significantly more of a man of action, as in the original stories, than the bumbling fool found in some of the pastiches.
The supporting cast is a mixture of cameos from the usual suspects such as Lestrade, Mrs Hudson, and Mycroft, and the legendary characters thrown in to the tale. I won’t spoil too much by listing the other adversaries – everyone mentioned above comes into the first 30 pages or so – but they’re interesting foes who present a worthy challenge for the great detective and his sidekick, and my blood was well and truly pumping as we reached the final showdown.
The author’s Twitter feed informs me there’s a sequel in progress at the moment, and it’s found a place rather high on my ‘most wanted’ list.
High recommendation to Sherlockians with a sense of fun, in particular, but more generally to anyone looking for a fast-paced thriller.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: When reviewing Holmes stories these days, I always recommend The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Man From Hell by Barrie Roberts, but that’s because it’s absolutely fantastic so I won’t change the pattern here. If this has got you in the mood for more adventures of the kind of fairies Arthur Conan Doyle probably wasn’t imagining in Victorian times, Firebrand by Gillian Philip is highly recommended to all, not just young adults.
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