Shadowblood: A Novel Of Sherlock Holmes by Tracy Revels

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Shadowblood: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes by Tracy Revels

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Category: Crime (Historical)
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: This supernatural Sherlock sequel is even better than the brilliant first book. For a hugely enjoyable adventure with a perfectly captured pairing of Holmes and Watson, look no further.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: November 2011
Publisher: MX Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1780920474

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At least one major spoiler for the first book, Shadowfall, lies ahead. You’ve been warned!

For those picking up a Tracy Revels novel for the first time, she writes Sherlock Holmes fiction with the twist that Holmes is a supernatural being, coming from the Shadows. In the hugely enjoyable romp Shadowfall, Watson discovered this, and was plunged headlong into an adventure involving Titania, Spring-Heeled Jack, voodoo, and various other dark and mysterious beings. That one ended with the good doctor losing his memory of the story – but I was always hoping that was merely a temporary measure, and indeed, it’s not long here before he starts to recall Holmes’ true nature.

Well, it may not be long in terms of pages, but by the time it happens we’ve heard a man claim to be over a hundred years old and to have found the Fountain of Youth, confess to terrible crimes, and we’ve seen our first brutal murder. To say this is fast-paced is something of an understatement! We then plunge headlong into a chase which takes the pair to Europe, then America, on the trail of a witch who’s invoking seriously evil magic for purposes known only to her. Oh, and we get Mephistopheles, Doctor John Dee, and various others whose identities I won’t spoil for you.

I always find this kind of story, throwing fictional and historical characters together in a mix, to be rather hit or miss – sometimes it works brilliantly, sometimes it reads like a cut and paste of various other stories. I was keen to get my hands on this one as I think Revels pulled it off very well in the previous book – but as good as that was, this is definitely superior. For one thing, the action is even more fast and furious, since the world of the Shadows has been established and there’s no need to do any scene-setting there. For another, and the main reason I love the book so much – Revels captures Holmes and Watson absolutely perfectly. Everything Holmes does – from the detective skills he employs, to the moral decisions he makes – fits in completely with the canon of Arthur Conan Doyle novels. Revels is clearly hugely familiar with the originals and while I was originally planning on warning purists that the supernatural theme may put them off, I actually think the characters are captured so well that even the vast majority who wouldn’t normally touch a Holmes story by an author other than ACD will still love this one.

Huge recommendation to all, but particularly Holmes fans, of course. Have been trying to see if there’s a third book in the offing – can’t find anything, but if there is, sign me up for a copy!

The other non-canon Holmes book which I think captures the characters perfectly is The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Man From Hell by Barrie Roberts. It's very different from this one - despite the title, it's much more firmly rooted in the real world - but both of them demand to be read by Sherlockians!

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LaNora Zipperer said:

I had never read a Sherlock Holmes story completely until Shadowfall. I could not put it down. I am into Shadowblood and it is even more intriguing. LaNora Zipperer