Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Review: Snake Bite by Andrew Lane

Snake Bite
Author: Andrew Lane
Series: Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins (Book 5)
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (October 21, 2014)

Description: Kidnapped and taken to China, teenage Sherlock finds himself plunged into the heart of a deadly mystery. How can three men be bitten by the same poisonous snake in different parts of Shanghai? Who wants them dead, and why? The answers seem to lie in a message hidden in a diagram that looks like a spider’s web. But solving one puzzle only leads to an even more urgent question: What has all this got to do with a plot to blow up an American warship? To unravel the strands that entangle him, Sherlock must brave terrors greater than any he has faced before.

Sherlock Holmes: Think you know him? Think again.

My Thoughts: This 5th adventure of a teen-aged Sherlock Holmes begins with him on a ship bound for China. He was abducted, drugged, and left on the ship before it sailed. Sherlock is adapting pretty well to his new life and learning lots of things. Through the efforts of the ship's cook Wu Cheng, Sherlock is learning both Cantonese and T'ai chi ch'uan - his first martial art. He misses his brother, his teacher and his friends Matty and Virginia but is making the best of his situation.

The action picks up when Mr. Arrhenius - a passenger with a weird skin condition - boards the ship and when the ship is attacked by pirates in the China Sea. Things get even more intense when they reach Shanghai and his friend Wu Cheng dies of an unexpected and mysterious snake bite. Sherlock has met and been befriended by a young American living with his parents in Shanghai. When his friend Cameron's father also dies from a mysterious snake bite, Sherlock, Cameron and Wu Cheng's son Wu Fung-Yi band together to solve the puzzle and stop an act that could lead to war between China and the United States.

I really enjoy this series because I like finding out how the Sherlock Holmes of the Conan Doyle series came to be. The one difference that I have noted in these novels is that the young Sherlock still knows how to make and keep friends. Somehow, he has lost that ability in the Conan Doyle novels. Maybe the disappointment at the end of this novel is a contributing factor in his disillusionment with other people.

Young readers will enjoy the adventure and should be eager to read the Sherlock Holmes novels by Conan Doyle to learn about what Sherlock did as an adult.

Favorite Quote:
Sometimes, he thought, doing the right thing was much harder than doing the wrong thing. Sometimes, doing the right thing was the hardest thing in the world. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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