The Army of Doctor Moreau by Guy Adams

(8.8/10)

Following the trail of several corpses seemingly killed by wild animals, Holmes and Watson stumble upon the experiments of Doctor Moreau. Moreau through vivisection and crude genetic engineering is creating animal hybrids, determined to prove the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin.

In his laboratory, hidden among the opium dens of Rotherhithe, Moreau is building an army of ‘beast men’. Tired of having his work ignored – or reviled – by the British scientific community, Moreau is willing to make the world pay attention using his creatures as a force to gain control of the government.

The follow-up to author Guy Adams's The Breath of God is another larger than life adventure for the world’s most famous consulting detective.

The purists will prefer to stick to the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle canon and dismiss this as outlandish without even giving it a second glance which I think is a terrible pity. For the rest of us Adams has crafted another incident-packed thrill-fest which is rich in characters from history and fiction, as well as containing plenty of sharp wit and humour.

I thoroughly enjoyed the exchange of dialogue, banter and ideas between Holmes, Watson and Holmes’ brother Mycroft. Their relationship thoroughly convinces and amuses, with Adams making it clear that these men respect one another even though they are all very different in their ways.

This is a gloriously far-fetched adventure given a scientific twist, with the very future of the British Empire at stake.

Not your typical detective novel as the wonderfully outlandish title and cover suggests this combines crime thriller, mystery, horror and science fiction to great effect.

Like Adams admits in the afterward I too am a huge fan of the old Hammer films of the 1960s and 70s and this outing for the Baker Street duo is very much in their spirit.

I have no reservations whatsoever with Holmes testing his wits against the supernatural, the occult or science as long as I am entertained. Adams has pulled out all the stops for this adventure - The Army of Doctor Moreau moves at a cracking pace and is worth a read just for the sparkling dialogue between Holmes, Watson and Mycroft alone.

If you like Holmes you will enjoy this no matter what the setting. This is deftly handled and despite all the madness and chaos surrounding Holmes et al, Adams never loses sight of his main characters traits and he avoids compromising Conan Doyle’s original vision just to fit his own. This is a must read for all fans of adventure and fantasy literature.
Daniel Cann, 8.5/10

Published 2012 by Titan Books
ISBN: 97808576879337

www.danielcann.com

--

I have never read a Sherlock Holmes book before, I never focused on them before. When I was presented with The Army of Dr. Moreau my enthusiasm was directly way up. Even more after reading the blurb, “Wild Beasts Abroad”, this proved more than true. I cannot make a comparison with the original Sherlock Holmes books. Everything here is on how I got to know Holmes and Watson and all the others in The Army of Dr. Moreau.

The first thing that got me hooked was the narration. The chapters are each told through the eyes of a character, be it Watson, Holmes, Challenger etc. Though most parts are told by Watson. But the way Guy Adams manages this all throughout the book is just magnificent. It is told in a very catchy way that allows for an easy to understand read.

In The Army of Dr. Moreau Guy Adams uses the concept of The Island of Dr. Moreau written by H.G. Wells, using several characters and the vivisection which Moreau was famous for - combining animals with humans to create hybrids. He evens goes so far a using the natural selection/survival of the fittest and Darwinism in his story, which was for me quite interesting to read. With the creating of animal/human hybrids I thought that this book would be ladled with waves of grotesque scenes but this was not the case, although there is highlighting of several of the hybrids like, Kane, who has a dog's head. There weren't any gory scenes. Instead The Army of Dr. Moreau focuses around Holmes and Watson carrying out their investigation is a serious but often light-hearted manner. And moreover very funny and witty at times, especially Holmes. But that does not take away that there is a tone in which Watson and Holmes are deadly serious in solving their case.

For me Holmes was a piece work! Saying that in a good way of course. His character is just so great, he is funny, witty, smart and even annoying at times. But above all he does have an air of smugness surrounding him that actually makes his character more enjoyable. Watson is also a great character, more reserved, serious and careful than Holmes. Holmes and Watson are complete opposite poles of each other, but they manage to greatly complement each other. The best thing about these two were the dialogues, they were just good, strong and made me laugh more than a few times. The introduction of Mycroft, the brother of Sherlock, was crafty.

Another part that I enjoyed, which put the ending of the book in an acceleration was the last part of the book where each character gets his own chapter. Here you get to read the quick thought on the last moments when Watson and Holmes solve the case. Very ingenious to see how it was solved and what Watson did in the end with Kane! With a reference to what Holmes earlier said to Watson with the piece of yarn. Just brilliant.

All I can say is that I’m still thrilled that I read this book. It had a great pace, a great plot line but above all marvelous characters and the dialogue between them was just one of the best and funniest I have read. I can definitely recommend this to everyone, even if you’re not a Holmes fan. A shows a gtreat combinations of horror, detective and cleverness.

I’d like to thanks Titan Books for kindly providing me with the review copy.
Jasper de Joode, 9/10

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