It is 1913. The clouds of war are gathering. The world’s great empires vie for supremacy. Europe is in turmoil, a powder keg awaiting a spark. A body is discovered on the shore below Beachy Head, just a mile from Sherlock Holmes’s retirement cottage.
The local police are satisfied that it’s a suicide. The victim, a young man, recently suffered a disappointment in love, and Beachy Head is notorious as a place where the desperate and depressed leap to their deaths. Holmes, however, suspects murder. As he and Watson investigate, they uncover a conspiracy with shocking ramifications.
There are some men, it seems, who not only actively welcome the idea of a world war but are seeking divine aid to make war a reality.
The setting of Holmes’ sleepy retirement cottage by the coast is in marked contrast to the mean streets of fog shrouded London, making this entry more interesting. It is also amusing to see two very nineteenth century figures experiencing twentieth century innovations in the car and the aeroplane.
Lovegrove has once again packed his novel with incident and suspense. The purists may shudder at the theatrical cloak and dagger stuff, the disguises and the secret societies, but they forget that these elements were a staple of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original canon. Lovegrove indulges the fantastical to satisfying and enjoyable effect.
It is always a joy to see just how Holmes and Watson will get out of their latest predicament. Their main nemesis now is time – their encroaching old age makes them more endearing and lovable. The stakes are certainly higher when you begin to creak more than you used to!
This is another triumphant return of the consulting detective and his loyal friend, this time given an original and entertaining twist.
Sherlock Holmes: Gods of War by James Lovegrove
Published 2014 by Titan
Review by Daniel Cann
8/10 from 1 reviews
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