There is no possible way this deviation from the norm could have been a 4-5 star book. From the boring, laborous extremely long set up to the cardboard cutout supporting characters, the author indeed, to use Holmes words in the being of this drivil, "conducted an experiment". It failed miserably. It got to the point where I was daydreaming, missed some plot, and DIDN'T CARE. Just wanted it to end.
And end it did, with a abysmal Hollywood wrapup, shallow and contrived. This was simply a "pay the mortgage" piece of work, done purely for revenue or to sastify a contractual obligation.
Not write it. That being said, Russell on her own is simply not a strong enough character to carry a plot for such an extended time. It is her interplay with Holmes, much like Nick and Nora, and other detective couples of note, that makes the work have legs. Too little Holmes and all the rest of the trappings sag into tedium. Russell's independence streak becomes annoying, the exigious on the historical milieu become irritating and the pacing become lumbering. Stay true to your original muse, Ms. King and you will create a portfolio to rival and yea, surpass Robert Parker. "Experiment" at your peril.
Holmes. But even he could not save this work.
A third of the first 2/3rds. But then it would have become a short story.
I have enjoyed every previous novel in this series by Laurie R. King but this one really is a dud IMHO. The plot is as boring as it is preposterous. It is difficult to listen as the intelligent and resourceful Ms. Russell is reduced to a secretary and gal Friday for an annoying troupe of theatrical types. The worst of all is having to listen to our heroine whine and complain about the absurd and incomprehensible situation in which she finds herself. She has arrived at this low point in her career ostensibly to avoid spending time with Mycroft Holmes. I can only say that had she decided to hang out with her brother-in-law a much better novel may have been the result. No spoiler alert from me - I gave up after listening for only 2 hours.
I eagerly await the release of Laurie R. King's books that are part of this series. Were it not for the solid ending, this book would have only received 1 star. I powered through it because I remain hopeful that the next book will be better.
I found this book tedious to listen to, and the story not easy to follow. There were too many names to unforgettable characters to keep my interest. I did finish listening, but just barely.
I listened to the next sequel, Garment of Shadows, and was delighted to have a great Holmes story back again.
OK whiners - get over it. It was time for King to have a bit of fun. This is a splendid romp -- a happy-dance through two iconic British set pieces that beg for satire: the world of Conan Doyle, and the world of Gilbert & Sullivan. King has earned the right to do something unexpected with her characters, in this case to let Russell do something just a little less grand (and stuffy) than saving the empire. And to do it on her own. On every page, King is asking us to bring a little more to the table as readers -- to contribute our own brains and education and sense of fun. Do we really have to care that Holmes isn't the big man in this? Isn't that what the series is about anyway? Russell? So, gentle readers, get over yourselves and dance this little gig -- just for fun.
I am gobsmasked!!! I have been blissfully pouring through the books in this series and, after the fabulous development of Book 8 and 9, this book is hurled into the mix. It seems to taint the rest of the series. Yes, that dreadful. The book reads more like a disappointing docu-drama about the making of a silent film with drab characters and boring plot lines. How could anyone make pirates boring??? Well, this book manages to do just that. For anyone reading this series for the first time - do yourself a huge favor and omit this book. It is insulting to the reader and to the characters of Holmes, Russell and even Mycroft. What a shame to include such an inferior book in this great series.
Mary goes solo.
I enjoyed the different flavor of this novel as compared to the previous volumes. Mary was more on-her-own then the other stories where Sherlock and she were often separated for a short time but very much on the same case and he was in the lead. This case was all her own and I enjoyed seeing how King let her shine in her own right.
I have enjoyed Sterlin's performances and find them an integral part of my experience in the Mary Russell stories.
As in the other books, Mary grows in her knowledge of herself and her abilities as an investigator. But in this story she was learning from her own evaluation of her experiences instead of Sherlock???s tutoring. Her discovery of Edith as a boy and Anne as the inside man at first shocked her self confidence but after reflection she adjusted her image by herself. This is the main reason I like King???s stories. While Sherlock is the ???I???m always right??? man, Mary is willing to adjust her opinion of herself and the world around her to fit what she has learned in the situation she has gone through. Females have always been the better adjusters to change while men often falter from their insistence that their values must fit the situation and not the other way around.
I am egerly awaiting King's next novel.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I have enjoyed this series -- really respectful of the Sherlock Holmes mythology, but with a feminine twist -- so I always look forward to a new Mary Russell. This one, however, was missing something for me. Probably Sherlock -- he's barely there! The characters aren't compelling or particularly well drawn and the mystery is pretty predictable. Just not as good as others in the series. If you're starting out on Laurie R. King, try an earlier adventure. If you are a fan, I'd recommend getting this one to read from the library and saving your credit or money for another listen.
The first half of the book was very confusing. I only hung on because I have loved her other Mary Russell offerings. The second half did improve but as a whole, this was my least favorite volume.