Young Sherlock Holmes: Fire Storm by Andrew Lane
|Young Sherlock Holmes: Fire Storm by Andrew Lane|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: A mysterious villain is so determined to kill Sherlock's friend Virginia that he tattoos her name on his forehead. Sherlock and his friend Matty solve clues and evade villains as they travel to Edinburgh in a desperate attempt to save her.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: October 2011|
|Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
The estate of Arthur Conan Doyle has authorised Andrew Lane to write a series of books about the early years of Sherlock Holmes, and if this book is typical then they made an excellent choice. Through these stories we see the development of the complex and sometimes contradictory aspects of Sherlock's personality, set in the context of the most thrilling adventures and courageous acts of derring-do a young person could desire.
The young hero finds himself in such dire straits at times that the reader will have to keep reminding himself that Sherlock lives to adulthood: nonetheless, it is hard to imagine just how he will escape the various perils he finds himself in, never mind rescue his friends. The book is definitely not one for those who suffer from a weak stomach, although there is nothing here you would not find in the contemporary adventures of, say, Alex Rider. The story teems with strange and formidable villains, dangers galore and enough mysteries, codes and clues to satisfy any fan of the crime genre.
In this particular volume, Sherlock uncovers a connection between a vicious housekeeper and a family secret which almost destroys his confidence in his own abilities. He battles a cruel felon bent on deadly revenge, he solves the enigma of the walking dead men, and in the midst of it all he experiences, to his astonishment, the first stirrings of young love.
From the very first pages of the book we learn that the life of Virginia Crowe, a feisty and courageous young girl who has won Sherlock's heart, is under threat. Sherlock and his good friend Matty return from fighting a sordid blackmailer to discover that the girl and her father have suddenly disappeared, taking all their belongings with them. Fortunately they leave behind a single, subtle clue to their destination. Sherlock's brilliant and logical mind, combined with the more emotional, intuitive insights of Matty, lead them at last to their friends, although they do have to endure some rather horrible tortures on the way.
What is fascinating and distinctive about these books is the way they seek to foreshadow the later life of Sherlock Holmes. For adult readers, familiar with Conan Doyle's stories, the hints are very obvious, but they are not, of course, the target audience. Few young people will have read an original Holmes story, although they will be familiar with him through general culture and television adaptations. Here he is already, at fourteen, a wild mix of logic and sensitivity, with a passion for justice which frequently puts him in mortal danger and an abundance of headstrong courage. We even see him, as this story opens, beginning to understand that playing the violin is not merely a question of getting the notes in the right order.
This combination of dramatic adventure and curious mysteries, set in the murky underbelly of nineteenth century England, will give its young readers a great deal of pleasure.
Many thanks to Macmillan Children's Books for sending this excellent story to Bookbag.
A more contemporary adventure story, though still full of thrilling escapes, will be found in Night on Terror Island by Philip Caveney.
You can read more book reviews or buy Young Sherlock Holmes: Fire Storm by Andrew Lane at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Young Sherlock Holmes: Fire Storm by Andrew Lane at Amazon.com.
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