Author: Andrew Lane
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (April 24, 2012)
Description: Fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes knows that Amyus Crowe, his mysterious American tutor, has some dark secrets. But he didn't expect to find John Wilkes Booth, the notorious assassin, apparently alive and well in England—and Crowe somehow mixed up in it. When no one will tell you the truth, sometimes you have to risk all to discover it for yourself. And so begins an adventure that will take Sherlock across the Atlantic, to the center of a deadly web—where a friend is in peril and a defeated army threatens to rise again.
My Thoughts: What an action-packed adventure! I loved this new Sherlock Holmes story. Sherlock is fourteen, living with an aunt and uncle, being tutored by Amyus Crowe, and honing the skills he will have as an adult detective. The time is just after the American Civil War. Mycroft comes to Amyus to have him investigate the rumor that John Wilkes Booth didn't die shortly after Lincoln's assassination but rather escaped and is currently in England. Sherlock and his friend Matty go to investigate the house where Booth is supposed to be and run into a real nest of villains. This leads to Matty's kidnapping. In order to rescue him and track down Booth, Amyus, his daughter Virginia, and Sherlock need to go to America.
The company travels on a paddle steamer owned by Cunard Lines. Sherlock is chased into the engine room by a villain and the description is so good that I could feel the heat and hear the thundering roar of the engines. His ocean voyage also introduces him to Rufus Stone, the violinist who introduces Holmes to the instrument. Holmes also meets Graf von Zeppelin on the ocean crossing.
Once in America, Sherlock explores New York searching for Matty. He and Virginia end up on a train bound for Virginia when they finally manage to free Matty. However, this just throws all three of them into the hands of the creepiest villain I have read about for a long time. Duke Balthassar reminds me of the most over-the-top of the James Bond villains. He is extremely tall and thin, dresses in white, wears a porcelain mask, and lets leeches feed on him. He also collects rare animals and attempts to feed Sherlock, Virginia, and Matty to some monitor lizards. He also has a plan to restore the Confederacy by conquering Canada.
The action is non-stop and Sherlock is a hero to admire. I can't wait for the next adventure in this series. I strongly recommend this book and the first book in the series - Death Cloud - to all adventure lovers.
Sherlock shook his head. "I think there's always danger, wherever you go. You can either ignore it, or you can wrap yourself in blankets so it doesn't hurt you, or you can walk towards it and dare it to do its worst. If you do the first thing, then the danger takes you by surprise. If you do the second thing, then you spend all your time swaddled up in the dark, letting the world pass you by. The only logical course of action is to go towards the danger. The more you get used to it, the better you can deal with it."I received this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.