Imagine the twisted evil twins of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson and you have the dangerous duo of Professor James Moriarty - wily, snake-like, fiercely intelligent, terrifyingly unpredictable - and Colonel Sebastian Basher Moran - violent, politically incorrect, debauched. Together they run London crime, owning police and criminals alike. When a certain Irene Adler turns up on their doorstep with a proposition, neither man is able to resist.
An entertaining and wickedly humorous crime adventure from the best-selling author of Anno Dracula.
©2011 Kim Newman (P)2011 Audible Ltd
"It's witty, often hilarious stuff. The author portrays the scurrilous flipside of Holmes's civil ordered world, pokes fun at 'guest stars' from contemporary novels and ventures into more outre territory than Conan Doyle even dared." (Financial Times)
"Kim Newman has done something really audacious with Conan Doyle's criminal genius.... The notion of reinventing Moriarty and Moran as malign dopplegangers of Holmes and Watson may have been done before, but not with the firecracker exuberance that Newman brings to it." (Independent)
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
Nobody spins Victorian literature on its ear quite like Kim Newman. I'm already a shameless fan of his Anno-Dracula series, and I have yet to read anything else of his that I thought was less than sub-par. This book fits right in with his proven track record.
This particular story is actually a handful of stories, all written from the memoirs of Moriarty's right-hand thug, Col. Sebastian Moran. What's inside? Depravity, cunning, top-notch characterization, and humor.
Not only do we get to see inside Moriarty's genius through the eyes of his loyal operative, we also get a look at the likes of Raffles, Lupin, Irene Adler (a rather obnoxious but humorous take on her), and of course, Holmes himself. And there are plenty others. The more you know about the pulp greats of that age, the better Newman's books are, but don't let that deter you. These books are gateways to discovery. The plots for this one are ingenius. My personal favorite from this one? Moriarty defiles the reputation of a former student by staging a martian invasion. The weapon of choice: vampire squid. It's priceless.
I can't recommend this audiobook highly enough.
Kim Newman tells Moriarty's criminal exploits in his associate Colonel Moran's voice. Colonel Moran makes the novel. He's a charismatic, unapologetic sociopath with an unquenchable relish for action. He loves to hunt and bags tigers, natives and Moriarty's enemies with equal verve.
Tom Hodgkins delivers a pitch-perfect performance, with a very convincing accent for a Victorian English colonel. What really makes the performance is the way he transmits Colonel Moran's unabashed relish in his dastardly deeds.
Colonel Moran loves action, even when the odds are stacked against him. This is an action-packed narrative of unscrupulous derring-do, and Hodgkins' rendering of Moran's voice makes it come alive.
I enjoyed Anno Dracula and was so disappointed in Bloody Red Baron that I didn't go to this one for a long time even though it was already in my library. Mistake. This is by far Newman's best. I would take stars away from Anno and give extras to this if i could. at times funny, bawdy, adventurous. nod's to not only sherlock of course, but victorian lit all over the place and even some others. a lot of fun. the irene adler episode, the red planet league, and the hound are my favorites, but the others are fun too. narrator is great, the voice is great and the stories are great. enjoyed it.
Unlike Newman's Dracula book (I didn't find Anno Dracula interesting), this one is fast-paced, humorous and worth a listen for the bon mots alone. Colonel Moran is hilariously amoral and cynical. The Holmes-Watson world is turned inside-out. Moriarity, for instance, cultivates wasps and takes great satisfaction in their deadly effects on experimental subjects. The action rushes along a little too quickly in places. I don't know if I cared whether there was any action at all; I was that captivated by the language.
I was excited to listen to this 'take' on Moriarty and Moran and enjoyed most of it. I especially liked to pick out the parallels between Moriarty's life and that of the "thin man from Baker Street", ie: the hound, landlady, the Woman, wasps vs bees, etc. It was occasionally cumbersome, however, with so many details and characters who had no part in the story. My only other complaint was the author's treatment of Irene Adler. Added to that was the narrator's voice of The Woman as a whiney Jersey girl.
Having said that, it did hold my interest. The ending was PERFECT!
Just a fun, fun book.
Kim Newman handles these characters in a fresh, engaging way. His writing is entertaining and feels appropriate for a 19th century narrator without falling into the frequent pitfalls of a pastiche/vintage remix-I.E., slavishly following 19th century storytelling conventions that haven't translated well, shoehorning in too much period language, etc etc. He also manages to pack in plenty of cameos from turn of the century favorites without leaving the reader feeling like he's missing something if they don't pick up on them.
I also found narrator Tom Hodgkins' performance to be excellent. The characters sound distinct, and the numerous accents that crop up are handled well.
I will say that if you hold the canonical versions/stories of some characters-particularly the thin detective of baker street and his trusty companion-to be sacrosanct you may not like how Mr. Newman portrays them. However, to paraphrase a classic TV show, if you're wondering how this all can be reconciled with the original stories, and other literary facts, just repeat to yourself its just a book I should really just relax.
In short: its great fun.
I enjoy reading Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes but found this alternate version of Moriarty very tedious and difficult to follow. Most books keep my attention but this did not. I kept drifting away to other things while listening. I could care less about the characters or what they were doing. I didn't see any point to the story. I agree with Chelice's take on this novel, who said more eloquently what I thought.
Sherlock Holmes, eternally popular, practically invites spoofing, and this is one of the greatest spoofs ever, especially fun if you enjoy that very English game of Literary References. If you've read a few thousand English books, you'll catch the many references, including, of course, the title itself. The stories also bring to mind George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series, but this is a lot more discreet about sex (and overall, Flashman was pretty discreet in his own jaunty way, too). The stories are intricate; the evil characters are evil, and Moriarty makes a perfect foil for the "thin man," and the book ends, as one might expect, at Reichenbach Falls. A ripping good read or listen. The reader, Tom Hodgkins, was excellent throughout.
I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery and a healthy dose of British wit. Hodgkins does a great job as "Basher" Moran, the narrator. His sibilant rendition of Moriarty is also very enjoyable.
I'd have to say Moriarty. We so often see things from Holme's point of view. It was refreshing to taste the "dark" side, so to speak. Interestingly, as amoral as the narrator would have us believe Moriarty is, he still is not some raging psychopath that one would have a hard time sympathizing with.
It made me laugh in some spots...Moran is quite descriptive.
Hearing stories from the bad-guys also spotting characters from other books in the stories.
When Moran met all three Moriarty brothers, all named James or also the interactions with Irene Adler. I think my favorite story in this book is The Adventure of the Six Maledictions.
It's a toss-up between Moran or Moriarty. Irene Adler was well done though.
I wouldn't call this one a "moving" type book, funny yes.
It's a fun and quick listen. I can't decide how I feel about the ending and if I want a sequel written.
Sebastian 'Basher' Moran (the 2nd most dangerous man in London) details a few of his adventures with a certain Professor Moriarty.
Whilst similar in structure to those of their more famous contemporaries, it's all just a lot more fun.
The book is a rather lovely combination of Kim's love of the original source topped with an application of some superior characterization and, I know I'm repeating myself here, 'fun'. I was a little uncertain before downloading, but both the book and the narration had me grinning like a loon throughout. It dovetails beautifully with the stories of the now almost insufferable goody-goody pair to such an extent I find myself wondering what these two were up to throughout those more pedestrian chronicles.
I want more of this. Please?
This is a fantastic story, beautifully read. The author has put flesh on the bones of some of Sir Arthur’s villainous characters. It’s amazed me to discover how much they got away with before they fell foul of Mr Holmes.
I listen to audiobooks while I do housework etc to make the time go a bit quicker and I found myself clearing out wardrobes simply to listen to the next chapter. I am not a huge Sherlock holmes fan but I know the basic characters and they are all woven very skillfully in this excellent tale.I would recommend to anyone.
Kim Newman writes this as an interesting take on the Sherlock world from the other side of the table, namely Moriarty and his 'right hand man' Colonel Sebastian Moran who is the main narrator of this book. Do not expect just one 'case' but a series of short stories that do link with each other. Also, it is very funny and I did get a few odd looks when laughing out loud when listening to this in a public place. It is book that I know I will be returning to time and time again. If you are a Holmes purist it may not be for you but give it a go and you might be surprised.
"Fantastic Fantasy that fills in the blanks"
If you are a fan of the good Mr Holmes, do treat yourself to this.
And a treat is what it will be, filling in the other side of the story. I only wish more was written to continue the tales
Kim Newman has captured the spirit of Conan doyles villan and his co-hort in this thrilling turn on the classic Holmes stories. An absolute must for all Holmes fans and non Holmes fans alike
"Holmes meets his match !"
Having revived my interest in the Sherlock Holmes stories by the recent tv series, I have read and downloaded a few of the novels and generally speaking have enjoyed them, but have always had a sneaking admiration for Moriarty, so when I came across this novel, it sounded an intriging take on the whole Holmes & Watson genre. I found it to be hugely entertaining, it was very well written and the naration was excellent. The storylines were well constructed although some may say a little far fetched, if it's entertainment you are after then read this book, even if you take a dislike to Moriarty, you can't help but be taken aback by the so un-politically correct Basher Moran, a man who has put back the cause of women by a few decades, but is so unashamedly forthright in his perhaps misguided views, that the pairing of the 2 main characters in this excellent novel was a masterstroke !!
As a fan of both Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories and many of the newer stories written by other writers since, I found this to be a brilliant interpretation of Holmes's famous nemesis. Although presented as a series of short stories this is really a novel in episodic form. Moran is a compelling narrator and Tom Hodgkins realises him brilliantly, his cynicism and misanthropy make for a great love-to-hate Flashmanesque caricature.
Newman does an excellent job of riffing on many of the great Holmes stories, while at the same time avoiding the trap of formulaically sticking to flipped perspective stories by branching our in a number of unexpected directions. My particular favourite is the mars-ian invasion!
"Amusing Literary Mashup"
A lot going on in this book, and a great initial conceit.
A couple of caveats though:
1) You really do need a decent grounding in the existing Holmes books (and a few others of the same period wouldn't hurt).
2) Read it episodically - I went through the whole lot in one run, but by the end I was wishing I'd rationed it out a bit. I hadn't realised this was the way these original stories were delivered in the first place, but it makes sense.
"Excellent from start to finish"
This has to be one of my favourites. This book kept me wanting to come back for more. Each story had enough to keep my attention and still surprised.
The performer did a great job of maintaining the characters feel throughout the story.
Baker street seen from the outside.
I have already bought more Kim Newman books and am looking forward to starting the next. If this book is anything to go by I'll have a happy start to 2014.
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