Publisher's Note:  

It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Farrar Straus and Giroux

Death Cloud

by Andrew Lane

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Overall Review:  

In the fabulously titled Death Cloud, Andrew Lane introduces the reader to a fourteen year-old Sherlock Holmes, who is yet to discover or develop his legendary skills of logic and deduction.  A thin and somewhat stilted beginning with an unlikely set-up of the meeting of Sherlock and a friend, Matthew Arnatt, coupled with some character inconsistency hamper the first fifty pages of the text.  However, after that, Lane settles into his narrative which begins to clip along at an increasingly satisfying pace.  Filled with action, rousing chases, and fascinating and bizarre characters, the book nicely accelerates to its climax.  Addressing the early years frees Lane to create fresh villains, who are reminiscent of some of James Bond’s most creative enemies.  Concluding with a set-up for a forth-coming sequel, readers enjoying rapid-paced mystery may look forward to more of the young Sherlock.

Content Analysis:  

Violence included the death of a couple of characters, presumably by the plague; encountering a corpse in the woods; a character trying to slit another character’s throat; a character being hit with a boathook resulting in a gash revealing blood and bone; a presumed drowning; a boxing match; torture with a whip; a chase involving shoving, punching, kicking, hitting with a mace; a chase where a man is stabbed and killed; a fire where clothing is ignited; a kidnapping; a sword fight; a fight where a character is knocked unconscious with a helmet; a fight involving a whip; a somewhat gruesome death by inflicted by some insects; a fire and explosion.  

The three instances of profanity were the use of a word in reference to a place or state of being.  The word was not actually used as an exclamation or oath. 

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Other content of note was the drugging of two characters with laudanum.

Reviewed By Cindy
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