The Breath of God by Guy Adams

(7.5/10)

‘The Breath of God’ finds Sherlock Holmes up against it again when a body is found crushed to death in the London snow with no footprints anywhere near it. It is almost as if the man was killed by the air itself.

Holmes and his loyal companion Dr Watson travel to Scotland to meet with the one person they have been told can help: Aleister Crowley.

With dark powers encircling them they gather the most accomplished occult minds in the country: Dr John Silence, the so-called ‘Psychic Doctor’; supernatural investigator Thomas Carnacki; runic expert and demonologist, Julian Karswell... But will they be enough?

As the nineteenth century draws to a close it seems London is ready to fall and the infernal abyss is growing wide enough to swallow everyone.

As with most of the ‘Further Adventures’ series Holmes and Watson find themselves up against the supernatural. Adams displays a vivid imagination and is skilful in his descriptions and crucially of maintaining reader interest.

Like ‘The Hound of The Baskervilles’ Conan Doyle’s most famous supernatural Holmes tale, the consulting detective takes a back seat for much of this outing leaving his reliable friend Dr Watson to investigate and chronicle events.

Silence and Carnacki are interesting and uniquely individual companions for Watson. Karswell is aloof, arrogant and has something in common with many ‘celebrities’ of today, he is tireless in his shameless self-promotion! The action moves from the cold, harsh fog of London to the dismal conditions of the windswept, wild Scottish highlands.

What I enjoyed most of all was Adams portrayal of Watson. He depicts him as a strong, resourceful and most importantly an emotional man who is still grieving the loss of his beloved wife Mary (from ‘The Sign of Four’) something that Conan Doyle and so many other authors have previously failed to address.

This line from Watson himself in this adventure encapsulates his character: ‘I am particularly good at two things in life: being a soldier and being a doctor, taking lives and saving them. The irony doesn’t amuse me one bit.’

I preferred this more harder-edged, world-weary and introspective Watson who appears as a much more believable individual and not the portly, avuncular foil which some writers and filmmakers have managed to misinterpret over the years.

Remember Watson is ex-military, something of a ladies’ man and is as tough as nails, he may not have Holmes’ deductive qualities and unique intellect but he is nobody’s fool. It was great to see Adams celebrate the good doctor as he does here; otherwise one is left wondering why would Holmes have him around if he did not respect and need him?

The scene stealer is of course someone from history, in this novel he is seen as a young ambitious man on the cusp of his later notoriety: the (in)famous occultist and Satanist Aleister Crowley, eventually dubbed by the press as ‘the wickedest man in the world.’

Fans of conventional Holmes fare may baulk at this latest novel and it is clearly aimed at those who enjoyed ‘The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes’ which contained his more fantastical and far-fetched stories. Whilst reading I was reminded of Dennis Wheatley’s occult thriller ‘The Devil Rides Out’ and Adams notes this as an influence at the back of the book. The secret society known as ‘The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’ is a nice touch as Conan Doyle’s adventures were renowned for this kind of plot device.

Adams novel is fast-paced, original and exciting. He has nailed the characters of Holmes and Watson and managed to make them interesting in his own way, quite a feat as many writers would have found this project intimidating. For example I enjoyed it when Watson drew attention to Holmes’ apparent dislike of the countryside yet years later retired to rural Sussex. It is touches like this that elevate this above the average outing.

I would have liked to have seen more of Holmes and for all its thrills it does tend to be superficial and lightweight at times. It is nonetheless enjoyable and easy to devour, the perfect companion for a holiday or to liven up a long dull journey.

This is the perfect vehicle to see the logic and reason of Holmes pitted against the supernatural and unknown. Adams is another author in the non-Conan Doyle canon who has managed to perfectly blend fact with fiction to create an exciting and engaging new adventure. An excellently researched debut novel and above all a fun romp which is all a Sherlock Holmes fan can ask for.

www.danielcann.com

Published 2011 by Titan Books
ISBN: 9780857682826

Review by

1 positive reader review(s) in total for the The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series

All reviews for Guy Adams's The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series


Seance for a Vampire
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
8.9

When two suspect psychics offer Ambrose Altamont and his wife the opportunity to contact their recently deceased daughter, the wealthy British aristocrat wastes no time in [...]


The Seventh Bullet
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
8.0

Sherlock Holmes’ desire for a peaceful life in the Sussex countryside is dashed when true-life muckraker and author David Graham Phillips is assassinated, leaving beh [...]


The Breath of God
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
7.5

Holmes and his loyal companion Dr Watson travel to Scotland to meet with the one person they have been told can help: Aleister Crowley. With dark powers encircling them the [...]


The Army of Doctor Moreau
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
8.8

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 cru [...]


Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
8.8

A mysterious schooner runs aground in an English harbour. Its cargo is fifty boxes of earth; its only living passenger, a black dog. The captain’s body is lashed to t [...]


The Man from Hell
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes #5
8.0

In 1886, wealthy philanthropist Lord Backwater was found beaten to death in the grounds of his estate. As Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson strive to unravel the mystery, many [...]


The Stalwart Companions
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Book 6
8.0

Before Sherlock Holmes formed his longstanding alliance with the imitable Dr Watson, one of his earliest investigations was alongside the future President of the United Sta [...]

More Guy Adams reviews


The Good, the Bad and the Infernal
8.7

One day every hundred years, a town appears, its location and character different every time. It is home to the greatest miracle a man could imagine: a doorway to Heaven it [...]


Deadbeat - Makes You Stronger
9.0

Max and Tom are old, old friends, who used to be actors. Tom now owns a jazz nightclub called Deadbeat which, as well as being their source of income, is also something of [...]


The Clown Service
9.0

The Department: Section 37 Station Office, Wood Green. The Boss: August Shining, an ex-Cambridge, Cold War-era spy. The Mission: Charged with protecting Great Britain and i [...]


A Few Words for the Dead
9.0

Section 37 is under attack. Toby Greene, a Clown Service agent, is on the hunt. But catching someone whose bodyguard is the relentless Rain-Soaked Bride can be a deadly gam [...]

15+

The Breath of God reader reviews

7.5/10 from 1 reviews

Write a reader review

There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy

The Cheapside Corpse

by Susanna Gregory

London in the spring of 1665 is a city full of fear. There is plague in the stews of St Giles, the Dutch fleet is preparing to invade, and a banking crisis threatens to lea [...]

Series: The Exploits of Thomas Chaloner: Book 10
Published: 2015

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

The House of Silk

by Anthony Horowitz

THE GAME'S AFOOT...It is November 1890, and London is gripped by a merciless winter. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated [...]

Series: Sherlock Holmes (Horowitz) #1
Published: 2011

Score: 91

Our rating: 9.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

15+

Joyland

by Stephen King

College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of [...]

Series: Hard Case Crime Series
Published: 2013

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Seance for a Vampire

by Fred Saberhagen

When two suspect psychics offer Ambrose Altamont and his wife the opportunity to contact their recently deceased daughter, the wealthy British aristocrat wastes no time in [...]

Series: The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Published: 0000

Score: 89

Our rating: 8.9 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula

by Loren D Estleman

A mysterious schooner runs aground in an English harbour. Its cargo is fifty boxes of earth; its only living passenger, a black dog. The captain’s body is lashed to t [...]

Series: The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Published: 0000

Score: 88

Our rating: 8.8 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Made To Kill

by Adam Christopher

When a familiar-looking woman arrives at the Los Angeles offices of Raymond Electromatic - PI turned hit man and the world’s last robot - he takes on the case of a mi [...]

Series: The LA Trilogy #1
Published: 0000

Score: 88

Our rating: 8.8 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Sherlock Holmes: The Stuff of Nightmares

by James Lovegrove

It’s the autumn of 1890, and a spate of bombings has hit London. The newspapers are full of fevered speculation about anarchists, anti-monarchists and Fenians. But on [...]

Series: NA
Published: 0000

Score: 85

Our rating: 8.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box

by George Mann

Summer, 1915. As Zeppelins rain death upon the rooftops of London, eminent members of society begin to behave erratically: a Member of Parliament throws himself naked into [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2014

Score: 85

Our rating: 8.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

The Osiris Ritual

by George Mann

Death stalks London and the newspapers proclaim that a mummy's curse has been unleashed. Sir Maurice Newbury is drawn into a web of occult intrigue as he attempts to so [...]

Series: A Newbury and Hobbes Investigation #2
Published: 0000

Score: 85

Our rating: 8.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+