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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Laurie R. King has won or been nominated for every major award in mystery writing. King's beloved sleuth Mary Russell here attempts to reverse her legendary husband, Sherlock Holmes', greatest failure.
©2009 Laurie R. King (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"A one-woman case for the defense of unauthorized literary sequels...intelligent, witty, complex and atmospheric." ( Washington Post Book World)
"Along the way, we are treated to a great deal about ancient sites in England; a major supporting role from Holmes' brother, Mycroft; information on an occult set of beliefs possibly related to Aleister Crowley; a terrifying set piece on the horrors of early air travel; and discourse on the queasy pleasures of surrealist art - all in Mary Russell's wry, brilliant, and occasionally utterly deluded voice." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mike
  • Springville, NY, United States
  • 06-04-10

To all Holmes buff's,

I have read all of the short stories that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about Sherlock Holmes in the Strand, I have seen every movie that I could find about Holmes, I have read other author's that have written about Holmes, and I even countinue to watch the British T.V. series about Sherlock Holmes...needless to say I am a Holmes Buff, and I can pick out a phony in a second (in my eyes a phony is someone that writes about Holmes but has not done their home work about him and his manorizisms)...
Laurie King should be considered the reincarnated Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!!!
Laurie hits the essence of Sherlock Holmes out of the park, and it feels as though I am listening to Doyle tell new stories about Holmes and his new apprentice.
These audiobooks are great whether you are a Holmes reader or not and I highly recommend this story and any others written by Laurie King to anyone that loves mystery, suspense, and a little brain work also!

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jayne
  • st charles, IL, USA
  • 03-04-10

Enjoyable Book, great narrator

I have read or listened to all the Mary Russell books and have enjoyed them all. I knew from other reviewers that this book was 'to be continued' so that didn't worry me. I fully enjoyed the story and the details. I find the pace very calming and didn't feel that there was too much padding. I think the narrator did a great job with the voices and accents of the characters. I find her voice quite melodic and a pleasure to listen to. Enjoy the details for what they reveal about life at the time. If you want a face paced action adventure story this is not for you but if you fancy a well reasoned mystery with a lot of insight into life in Britain in the 1920s then give it a go. I will certainly listen to part 2 when it becomes available.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars. Is it me?

I love Laurie R. King, and particularly this series, but for the first time I wasn't able to get into one of her books. It was interesting, and any time spent with Russell and Holmes can't possibly be a waste, but this time I thought the plot was a bit overly melodramatic. At least the reading was. Jenny Sterlin (who is normally fantastic) read sooooo slowly, with so many pauses, that I felt myself getting frustrated.
She conveyed none of the action. What should have gone off like a rifle shot, instead felt like a slowly filling balloon. I have to wonder if I wouldn't have enjoyed it more if I had read it myself. (FYI: I did just finish listening to O'Jerusalem, which was fantastic -- so perhaps it's just the comparison that affects my opinion.) Love to know what you think.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • New Deal, TX, United States
  • 02-03-11

I Can't Quit Listening Now,

but I hope the next one in the series picks up the pace a bit. While I love to enter a completely furnished and populated 'world', these last few Mary books are tedious. The mystery parts are overshadowed by the narrative and that is not acceptable!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Not Laurie King's Best

This novel is a bit odd. For one thing, it seems to be only half a story [and indeed, Mrs. King is writing what seems to be the sequel at present]. Secondly, it is really a Mary Russell novel with Sherlock Holmes a secondary character, and lastly, once again, and, I think, once too often, Mrs. King delves into the world of theological irrationality. I personally find the interactions between Holmes and Russell to be the most interesting aspect of their books, and it's largely missing here. Also, I found myself disappointed by the use of "chase" tactics to add suspense to the story [don't want to give too much away] instead of tighter plotting.

Jenny Sterlin, as usual, does an excellent job of narration; indeed, her effort is what made me give this 4 instead of 3 stars.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Carol
  • Massachusetts
  • 04-02-11

If you like the rest of the series...

... you will probably like this one. I've enjoyed all these Russell/Holmes books in varying degrees. The first one,"The Beekeeper's Apprentice" is a classic not to be missed. Other books in the series are more a matter of taste. In this one, the introduction of Holmes's adult son (by Irene Adler) is a welcome addition. The cliff-hanging ending leaves Mary Russell in charge of her stepgranddaughter, Mycroft Holmes (possibly) under arrest, and Sherlock gone off to who-knows-where. Stay tuned!

I found the "cult religion" plot interesting but scattershot; something (I'm not sure what--perhaps the presence of a more tangible villain, or just a tighter concept) was lacking. The ending chase (Mary rides an aeroplane!) to stop a human sacrifice goes on a little too long, but has some unexpected turns that keep you listening. As others have pointed out, this is clearly "part one of two," but since Part Two ("The God of the Hive") is readily available, that shouldn't deter anyone.

I've had mixed reactions to Jenny Sterlin's narrations of other material, but having listened to most of the series, I find her renditions pitch-perfect for these books. She has become the voices of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes to me.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Edge of your seat Mystery

Yet another excellent Mary Russell novel. The pace, tension and suspense of this installment in the series comes close to equaling the edge of your seat reading contained in her stand alone novel "Folly".
Some have complained about the post script, but if you follow the author, this is not a surprise and was planned for.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

enjoyable; great reader

I am a L.R.King fan and before joining Audible had read all of her books save this one. Since I have read all those books silently it was a real novelty to be able to hear the voices of the by-now very familiar characters and remarkable how well they matched the ones I have heard in my head.

I had no problem with the scarcity of Holmes; to me this whole series has really been about Mary Russell all along, Holmes being more of a prop. And since his was about the only voice I didn't care for every much I minded it even less. Well, his and Estelle's and the American pilot's....but none were irritatingly bad; in the plethora of voices the reader did that's a pretty good success rate.

The reader was excellent; I am hoping when the second part of this book comes out she reads it as well; am looking forward to it.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tamela
  • Charlotte, NC, United States
  • 12-16-12

I don't know how she does it

What did you love best about The Language of Bees?

King weaves into this fast-paced and spellbinding plot the history and historical figures of the day, along with descriptions of everyday items like Bakelite, medical procedures, and esoteric religious beliefs true to the age. What a mind! I haven't enjoyed all books in this series equally; this one is among my favorites for the plot, the characters and the narration. I especially enjoyed the new character, Robert Goodman, and his poignant back story.

What other book might you compare The Language of Bees to and why?

King's other novel, "A Monstrous Regiment of Women" also deals with the power of a charismatic religious figure.

What about Jenny Sterlin’s performance did you like?

Excellent characterizations, yet she gets out of the way and lets the plot move. Nothing show-offish, which I appreciate.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Oh yes. Most definitely.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Columbia, TN, United States
  • 05-17-10

Bee ware

There was a long time in setting up the plot, but once the game was set afoot, it was worth the time spent in the set-up. If you like British Mysteries you will want to listen to this. If Sherlock is akin to Superman then his wife is surely Supergirl.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful