I enjoy King's extension of the Holmes story very much. This happens to be one of my favorites of the series, revisiting as it does two characters I loved from an earlier novel, Ali and Mahmoud. Other reviewers complain that the book is uneventful, though perhaps they are misremembering Holmes stories as proceeding like James Bond novels. King doesn't rush the story's progression, certainly, but most readers will enjoy the slow building of tension and the sudden revelation of relationships, motives, and crime. The excerpts from the diary of a young soldier are fascinating. As for one reviewer's dismissal of the story as "unbelievable" because two Englishmen pass as Arabs, I wonder why they would bother with a spy/detective novel at all. Besides, there are plenty of people in the world who speak more than one language fluently, and who are at home in more than one culture.
My only quibble with this otherwise excellent performance was the narrator's rendition of a Canadian accent. One character in the novel is supposed to be from Toronto, but sounded like a speaker from Tennessee trying to imitate the speech of Manhattan.
This is one of my favorite Lois McMaster Bujold novels--which is high praise, since her body of work is so fine.
The reader is marvelous. Each character has a distinct "voice," creating nearly an audio play for the listener. When I re-read the novel, it is now Kate Reading's voice I hear. Her voicing of the main character is particularly fine.
Fantasy and Science Fiction are my favorite genres, and I've read widely, so I know all too well that the bookstores and library shelves are jam-packed with beautiful heroines...aged 18 or so. As a reader in my forties, this makes me a little wistful, so reading Ista's story was a delight. There are few compelling "mature" female lead characters in fantasy literature. If it weren't for Ista and Granny Weatherwax, I'd just have to start reading--gasp--REALISTIC fiction. Though Bujold's richly imagined worlds are real enough to the reader.
Women characters who THINK! Woohoo!
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