Pirate King

Monday, October 24, 2011



Pirate King
Laurie R. King, 2011

FYI: This is the eleventh book featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. See my reviews of books 1: The Beekeeper's Apprentice and 10: The God of the Hive.

Premise: After the tumult of the recent months, Mary Russell is looking forward to some time away from tangled politics and mysteries. Her plans are cast awry, however, when she is asked to investigate sinister happenings surrounding Britain's premier silent film company. When movies, pirates, and Gilbert and Sullivan are involved, you can guarantee that nothing will be what it seems.

This was an extremely enjoyable read, although it falls a hair short in the climax of the plot. It's much more fun than the most recent Russell books, making it a welcome change of pace. The hectic world of early film is a fantastic milleu to visit, and all of the supporting characters were fascinating.

My favorite parts of the book, though, were the few moments of connection between Russell and Holmes, who are apart for much of the book. King has a lovely light touch here, writing her romance into word choice and pauses, tiny character beats that perfectly communicate meaning without betraying the sensibilities of two reserved, intellectual characters. After the craziness of the last few books, it feels good to see them comfortable with each other. This series can put more passion and depth into taking hands than many romance novels put into sex.

I didn't love the ending, though. I felt that while the action plot resolved satisfactorily, the resolution to the mystery plot was kind of thrown away, which begs some awkward questions about the set-up at the very beginning. It's still a very fun ride.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book

Pirate King is available on Amazon.com

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