Death Cloud (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)by Andrew Lane, BookSource Staff
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.
This first in a new series about Sherlock Holmes as a teenager finds the dismayed hero taken by his brother Mycroft to stay with a stuffy uncle in the country for his summer school holiday. Sherlock and his orphaned friend, Matty, probe two strange deaths associated with the appearance of a mysterious cloud. One of the strengths of this book is the immediacy of action—beginning chapters don't weigh readers down with details but introduce necessary clues and facts woven skillfully into the text. After the scene is thoroughly set, the plot takes off like a rocket, constantly building suspense to a shockingly violent climax and over-the-top conclusion in which justice prevails over evil. The main characters are well drawn, but the villains are underdeveloped caricatures whose evil is unmitigated by human qualities. A rollicking good read, this book will offer a solid introduction to the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for younger teens.It also offers enjoyable insight into how Sherlock Holmes became the future investigative wizard for established fans of the ultimate detective.(Mystery/suspense. 13-17)
Read an Excerpt
“You there! Come here!”
Sherlock Holmes turned to see who was being called and who was doing the calling. There were hundreds of pupils standing in the bright sunlight outside Deepdene School for Boys that morning, each dressed in immaculate school uniform and each with a leather-strapped wooden chest or an overstuffed pile of luggage sitting in front of him like a loyal dog. Any one of them might have been the target. The masters at Deepdene made a habit of never referring to the pupils by name—it was always “You!” or “Boy!” or “Child!” It made life difficult and kept the boys on their toes, which was probably the reason why they did it. Either that or the masters had given up trying to remember the names of their pupils long ago; Sherlock wasn’t sure which explanation was the most likely. Perhaps both.
None of the other pupils were paying attention. They were either gossiping with the family members who had turned up to collect them or they were eagerly watching the school gates for first sight of the carriage that was going to take them home. Reluctantly, Sherlock swung round to see if the malign finger of fate was pointing his way.
It was. The finger in question belonged in this instance to Mr. Tulley, the Latin master. He had just come round the corner of the school, where Sherlock was standing apart from the other boys. His suit, which was usually covered in chalk dust, had been specially cleaned for the end of term and the inevitable meetings with the fathers who were paying for their boys to be educated, and his mortarboard sat straight on his head as if glued there by the headmaster.
“Yes, sir. You, sir,” Mr. Tulley snapped. “Get yourself to the headmaster’s study quam celerrime. Do you remember enough of your Latin to know what that means?”
“It means ‘straightaway,’ sir.”
“Then move yourself.”
Sherlock cast a glance at the school gate. “But, sir—I’m waiting for my father to pick me up.”
“I’m sure he won’t leave without you, boy.”
Sherlock made one last, defiant attempt. “My luggage…”
Mr. Tulley glanced disparagingly at Sherlock’s battered wooden trunk—a hand-me-down from his father’s military travels, stained with old dirt and scuffed by the passing years. “I can’t see anyone wanting to steal it,” he said, “except perhaps for its historical value. I’ll get a prefect to watch it for you. Now cut along.”
Reluctantly, Sherlock abandoned his belongings—the spare shirts and underclothes, the books of poetry and the notebooks in which he had taken to jotting down ideas, thoughts, speculations, and the occasional tune that came into his head—and walked off towards the columned portico at the front of the school building, pushing through the crowd of pupils, parents, and siblings while still keeping an eye on the gateway, where a scrum of horses and carriages were all trying to get in and out of the narrow gate at the same time.
The main entrance hall was lined with oak panelling and encircled by marble busts of previous headmasters and patrons, each on its own separate plinth. Shafts of sunlight crossed diagonally from the high windows to the black-and-white tiled floor, picked out by swirling motes of chalk dust. It smelt of the carbolic that the maids used to clean the tiles every morning. The press of bodies in the hall made it likely that at least one of the busts would be toppled over before long. Some of them already had large cracks marring their pure marble, suggesting that every term saw at least one of them smashed on the floor and subsequently repaired.
He wove in and out of the people, ignored by everyone, and eventually found himself exiting the throng and entering a corridor that led off the entrance hall. The headmaster’s study was a few yards down. He paused on the threshold, drew a breath, dusted down his lapels, and knocked on the door.
“Enter!” boomed a theatrically loud voice.
Sherlock twisted the doorknob and pushed the door open, trying to quell the spasm of nervousness that shot through his body like lightning. He had only been in the headmaster’s study twice before—once with his father, when he first arrived at Deepdene, and once again a year later with a group of other pupils who had been accused of cheating in an examination. The three ringleaders had been caned and expelled; the four or five followers had been caned until their buttocks bled and allowed to stay. Sherlock—whose essays had been the ones copied by the group—had escaped a caning by claiming that he knew nothing about it. In fact, he had known all along, but he had always been something of an outsider at the school, and if letting the other pupils copy his work got him tolerated, if not accepted, then he wasn’t going to raise any ethical objections. On the other hand, he wasn’t going to tell on the copiers either—that would have got him beaten and, perhaps, held in front of one of the roaring fires that dominated the dormitories until his skin began to blister and his clothes to smoke. School life was like that—a perpetual balancing act between the masters and the other pupils. And he hated it.
The headmaster’s study was just the way he remembered it—vast, dim, and smelling of a combination of leather and pipe tobacco. Mr. Tomblinson was sitting behind a desk large enough to play bowls on. He was a portly man in a suit that was slightly too small for him, chosen presumably on the basis that it helped him believe he wasn’t quite as large as he obviously was.
“Ah, Holmes, is it? In, lad, in. Close the door behind you.”
Sherlock did as he was told, but as he pushed the door shut he caught sight of another figure in the room: a man standing in front of the window with a glass of sherry in his hand. The sunlight refracted in rainbow shards from the cut glass of the schooner.
“Mycroft?” Sherlock said, amazed.
His elder brother turned towards him, and a smile flickered across his face so rapidly that if Sherlock had blinked at the wrong moment then he might have missed it. “Sherlock. You’ve grown.”
“So have you,” Sherlock said. Indeed, his brother had put on weight. He was nearly as plump as the headmaster, but his suit was tailored to hide it rather than accentuate it. “You came in Father’s carriage.”
Mycroft raised an eyebrow. “How on earth did you deduce that, young man?”
Sherlock shrugged. “I noticed the parallel creases in your trousers where the upholstery pressed them, and I remember that Father’s carriage has a tear in the upholstery that was repaired rather clumsily a few years ago. The impression of that repair is pressed into your trousers, next to the creases.” He paused. “Mycroft, where’s Father?”
The headmaster harrumphed to attract attention back to him. “Your father is—”
“Father won’t be coming,” Mycroft interrupted smoothly. “His regiment was sent out to India to strengthen the existing military force. There has been some unrest in the North West Frontier region. You know where that is?”
“Yes. We’ve studied India in geography lessons and in history.”
“I didn’t realize the natives there were causing problems again,” the headmaster rumbled. “Not been in The Times, that’s for sure.”
“It’s not the Indians,” Mycroft confided. “When we took the country back from the East India Company, the soldiers out there transferred back under Army control. They’ve found the new regime to be a lot … stricter … than the one they were used to. There’s been a great deal of bad feeling, and the government has decided to drastically increase the size of the force in India to give them an example of what real soldiers are like. It’s bad enough to have the Indians rebelling; a mutiny inside the British Army is unthinkable.”
“And will there be a mutiny?” Sherlock asked, feeling his heart sinking like a stone dropped into a pond. “Will Father be safe?”
Mycroft shrugged his massive shoulders. “I don’t know,” he said simply. That was one of the things that Sherlock respected about his brother. He always gave a straight response to a straight question. No honeying the pill. “Sadly, I don’t know everything. Not yet, anyway.”
“But you work for the government,” Sherlock pressed. “You must have some idea of what might happen. Can’t you send a different regiment? Keep Father here in England?”
“I’ve only been with the Foreign Office for a few months,” Mycroft replied, “and although I am flattered that you think I have the power to alter such important things, I’m afraid I don’t. I’m an advisor. Just a clerk, really.”
“How long will Father be gone?” Sherlock asked, remembering the large man dressed in a scarlet serge jacket with white belts crossing his chest, who laughed easily and lost his temper rarely. He could feel a pressure in his chest but he held his feelings in check. If there was one lesson he had learned from his time at Deepdene School, it was that you never showed any emotion. If you did, it would be used against you.
“Six weeks for the ship to reach port, six months in the country, I would estimate, and then another six weeks returning. Nine months in all.”
“Nearly a year.” He bowed his head for a moment, composing himself, then nodded. “Can we go home now?”
“You’re not going home,” Mycroft said.
Sherlock just stood there, letting the words sink into him, not saying anything.
“He can’t stay here,” the headmaster muttered. “The place is being cleaned.”
Mycroft moved his calm gaze away from Sherlock and on to the headmaster. “Our mother is … unwell,” he said. “Her constitution is delicate at the best of times, and this business with our father has distressed her greatly. She needs peace and quiet, and Sherlock needs someone older to look after him.”
“But I’ve got you!” Sherlock protested.
Mycroft shook his large head sadly. “I live in London now, and my job requires me to work many hours each day. I would not, I’m afraid, be a fit guardian for a boy, especially an inquisitive one such as you.” He turned towards the headmaster, almost as if it was easier to give him the next piece of information than to tell Sherlock. “Although the family house is in Horsham we have relatives in Farnham, not too far from here. An uncle and aunt. Sherlock will be staying with them over the school holidays.”
“No!” Sherlock exploded.
“Yes,” Mycroft said gently. “It is arranged. Uncle Sherrinford and Aunt Anna have agreed to take you in for the summer.”
“But I’ve never even met them!”
“Nevertheless, they are family.”
Mycroft bade farewell to the headmaster while Sherlock stood there blankly, trying to take in the enormity of what had just happened. No going home. No seeing his father and his mother. No exploring in the fields and woods around the manor house that had been home to him for fourteen years. No sleeping in his old bed in the room under the eaves of the house where he kept all of his books. No sneaking into the kitchens where Cook would give him a slice of bread and jam if he smiled at her. Instead, weeks of staying with people he didn’t know, being on his best behaviour in a town, in a county that he didn’t know anything about. Alone, until he returned to school.
How was he going to manage?
Sherlock followed Mycroft out of the headmaster’s study and along the corridor to the entrance hall. An enclosed brougham carriage sat outside the doors, its wheels muddy and its sides dusty from the journey that Mycroft had already undertaken to the school. The crest of the Holmes family had been painted on the door. Sherlock’s trunk had already been loaded on the back. A gaunt driver whom Sherlock did not recognize sat in the dicky box at the front, the reins that linked him to the two horses resting limply in his hands.
“How did he know that was my trunk?”
Mycroft gestured with his hand to indicate that it was nothing special. “I could see it from the window of the headmaster’s study. The trunk was the only one sitting unattended. And besides, it was the one Father used to have. The headmaster was kind enough to send a boy out to tell him to load the trunk onto the carriage.” He opened the door of the carriage and gestured to Sherlock to enter. Instead, Sherlock glanced around at his school and at his fellow pupils.
“You look as if you think you’ll never see them again,” Mycroft said.
“It’s not that,” Sherlock replied. “It’s just that I thought I was leaving here for something better. Now I know I’m leaving here for something worse. As bad as this place is, this is as good as it gets.”
“It won’t be like that. Uncle Sherrinford and Aunt Anna are good people. Sherrinford is Father’s brother.”
“Then why have I never heard about them?” Sherlock asked. “Why has Father never mentioned having a brother?”
Mycroft winced almost imperceptibly. “I fear that there was a falling-out in the family. Relations were strained for a while. Mother reinitiated contact via letter some months ago. I’m not even sure Father knows.”
“And that’s where you’re sending me?”
Mycroft patted Sherlock on the shoulder. “If there was an alternative I would take it, believe me. Now, do you need to say goodbye to any friends?”
Sherlock looked around. There were boys he knew, but were any of them really friends?
“No,” he said. “Let’s go.”
The journey to Farnham took several hours. After passing through the town of Dorking, which was the closest group of houses to Deepdene School, the carriage clattered along country lanes, beneath spreading trees, past the occasional thatched cottage or larger house, and alongside fields that were ripe with barley. The sun shone from a cloudless sky, turning the carriage into an oven despite the breeze blowing in. Insects buzzed lazily at the windows. Sherlock watched for a while as the world went past. They stopped for lunch at an inn, where Mycroft bought some ham and cheese and half a loaf of bread. At some stage Sherlock fell asleep. When he woke up, minutes or hours later, the brougham was still moving through the same landscape. For a while he chatted with Mycroft about what was happening at home, about their sister, about Mother’s fragile health. Mycroft asked after Sherlock’s studies, and Sherlock told him something about the various lessons that he had sat through and more about the teachers who had taught them. He imitated their voices and their mannerisms, and reduced Mycroft to helpless laughter by the cruelty and humour of his impersonations.
After a while there were more houses lining the road and soon they were heading through a large town, the horses’ hoofs clattering on cobbles. Leaning out of the carriage window, Sherlock saw what looked like a guildhall—a three-storey building, all white plaster and black beams, with a large clock hanging from a bracket outside the double doors.
“Farnham?” he guessed.
“Guildford,” Mycroft answered. “Farnham is not too far away now.”
The road out of Guildford led along a ridge from which the land fell away on both sides, fields and woods scattered about like toys, with patches of yellow flowers spreading across them.
“This ridge is called the Hog’s Back,” Mycroft remarked. “There’s a semaphore station along here, on Pewley Hill, part of a chain that stretches from the Admiralty Building in London all the way to Portsmouth Harbour. Have they taught you about semaphores at school?”
Sherlock shook his head.
“Typical,” Mycroft murmured. “All the Latin a boy can cram into his skull, but nothing of any practical use.” He sighed heavily. “A semaphore is a method for passing messages quickly and over long distance that would take days by horse. Semaphore stations have boards on their roofs that can be seen from a distance, and have six large holes in them that can be opened or closed by shutters. Depending on which holes are open or closed, the board spells out different letters. A man at each semaphore station keeps watch on both the previous one in the chain and the next one with a telescope. If he sees a message being spelled out, he writes it down and then repeats it via his own semaphore board, and so the message travels. This particular chain starts at the Admiralty, then goes via Chelsea and Kingston upon Thames to here, then all the way to Portsmouth Dockyard. There’s another chain leading down to Chatham Dockyards, and others to Deal, Sheerness, Great Yarmouth, and Plymouth. They were constructed so that the Admiralty could pass messages quickly to the Navy in the event of a French invasion of the country. Now, tell me, if there are six holes, and each hole can be either open or closed, how many different combinations are there that could signify letters, numbers, or other symbols?”
Fighting the urge to tell his brother that school was over, Sherlock closed his eyes and calculated for a moment. One hole could take two states: open or closed. Two holes could take four states: open-open; open-closed; closed-open; closed-closed. Three holes … He quickly worked through the calculation in his mind, and then saw a pattern emerging. “Sixty-four,” he said eventually.
“Well done.” Mycroft nodded. “I’m glad to see that your mathematics, at least, is up to scratch.” He glanced out of the window to his right. “Ah, Aldershot. Interesting place. Fourteen years ago it was named by Queen Victoria as the home of the British Army. Before that it was a small hamlet with a population of less than a thousand. Now it is sixteen thousand and still growing.”
Sherlock craned his neck to look over his brother at what lay outside the other window, but from this angle he could only see a scattering of houses and what might have been a railway line running parallel to the road at the bottom of the slope. He settled back into his seat and closed his eyes, trying not to think about what lay ahead.
After a while he felt the brougham heading downhill, and shortly after that they made a series of turns, and the sound of the ground beneath the horses’ hoofs changed from stone to hard-packed earth. He screwed his eyes more tightly shut, trying to put off the moment when he would have to accept what was happening.
The carriage stopped on gravel. The sound of birdsong and the wind blowing through trees filled the carriage. Sherlock could hear footsteps crunching towards them.
“Sherlock,” Mycroft said gently. “Time for reality.”
He opened his eyes.
The brougham had stopped outside the entrance to a large house. Constructed from red brick, it towered above them: three storeys plus what looked like a set of rooms in the attic, judging by the small windows set into the grey tiles. A footman was just about to open Mycroft’s door. Sherlock slid across and followed his brother out.
A woman was standing in the deep shadows at the top of three wide stone steps that led up to the portico in front of the main entrance. She was dressed entirely in black. Her face was thin and pinched, her lips pursed and her eyes narrowed, as if someone had substituted vinegar for her cup of tea that morning. “Welcome to Holmes Manor; I am Mrs. Eglantine,” she said in a dry, papery voice. “I am the housekeeper here.” She glanced at Mycroft. “Mr. Holmes will see you in the library, whenever you are ready.” Her gaze slid to Sherlock. “And the footman will transfer your … luggage … to your room, Master Holmes. Afternoon tea will be served at three o’clock. Please be so good as to stay in your room until then.”
“I will not be staying for tea,” Mycroft said smoothly. “Sadly, I need to return to London.” He turned towards Sherlock, and there was a look in his eyes that was part sympathy, part brotherly love, and part warning. “Take care, Sherlock,” he said. “I will certainly be back to return you to school at the end of the holidays, and if I can I will visit in the meantime. Be good, and take the opportunity to explore the local area. I believe that Uncle Sherrinford has an exceptional library. Ask him if you can take advantage of the accumulated wisdom it contains. I will leave my contact details with Mrs. Eglantine—if you need me, send me a telegram or write a letter.” He reached out and put a comforting hand on Sherlock’s shoulder. “These are good people,” he said, quietly enough that Mrs. Eglantine couldn’t hear him, “but, like everyone in the Holmes family, they have their eccentricities. Be aware, and take care not to upset them. Write to me when you get a moment. And remember—this is not the rest of your life. This is just for a couple of months. Be brave.” He squeezed Sherlock’s shoulder.
Sherlock felt a bubble of anger and frustration forcing its way up his throat and choked it back. He didn’t want Mycroft to see him react, and he didn’t want to start his time at Holmes Manor badly. Whatever he did over the next few minutes would set the tone for the rest of his stay.
He stuck out his hand. Mycroft moved his own hand off Sherlock’s shoulder and took it, smiling warmly.
“Goodbye,” Sherlock said in as level a tone as he could manage. “Give my love to Mother, and to Charlotte. And if you hear anything of Father, let me know.”
Mycroft turned and started up the stairs towards the entrance. Mrs. Eglantine met Sherlock’s gaze for a moment, expressionless, then turned and led Mycroft into the house.
Looking back, Sherlock saw the footman struggling to hoist the trunk onto his shoulders. When it was safely balanced he staggered up the stairs, past Sherlock, who followed disconsolately.
The hall was tiled in black and white, lined with mahogany, with an ornate marble staircase flowing down from the upper floors like a frozen waterfall with several paintings of religious scenes, landscapes, and animals on the walls. Mycroft was just passing through a doorway to the left of the staircase into a room that, from the brief glance Sherlock caught, was lined with sets of books bound in green leather. A thin, elderly man in an old-fashioned black suit was rising from a chair that had been upholstered in a shade of leather that perfectly matched the colour of the books behind it. His face was bearded, lined, and pale, his scalp mottled with liver spots.
The door closed on them as they were shaking hands. The footman headed across the tiles to the bottom of the stairs, still balancing the trunk on his shoulders. Sherlock followed.
Mrs. Eglantine was standing at the bottom of the stairs, outside the library. She was staring over the top of Sherlock’s head, towards the door.
“Child, be aware that you are not welcome here,” she hissed as he passed.
Copyright © 2010 by Andrew Lane
Meet the Author
Andrew Lane has written numerous spin-off novels based on the BBC sci-fi television series Doctor Who, as well as definitive guides to Babylon 5 and the Wallace and Grommit films, and is the author of The Bond Files: An Unofficial Guide to the World's Greatest Secret Agent. He lives in Dorset, England.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
DEATH CLOUD, by Andrew Lane, is a great beginning to a new series which explores the life of Sherlock Holmes as a fourteen year old boy. Mystery books rarely enter my TBR pile, but when asked to review a Sherlock Holmes novel I could not resist. I always enjoyed the characters in the original works and I was interested to see how much of that Lane put into his new novels. The character of Holmes, even as a young teen, was a pleasure to read. Holmes was a very curious boy but his sleuthing skills were magnified with the help of his side-kick, Matty, and American tutor, Amyus Crowe. Lane molded a young Sherlock Holmes and created a character that you can visualize turning into the classic character. Crowe taught Holmes how to ask the right questions to get satisfactory answers. The relationship between teacher and student was refreshing and added the importance of education. I also enjoyed the relationship between Matty and Sherlock. They were from different social backgrounds but their commonality in crime-solving made them quite a pair. Although I do admit I missed the absence of Watson! But, my favorite character had to be Virginia. Where Holmes is a male icon, Virginia is definitely a strong female-icon. Her 'American' ways were exploited to make her desirable to Holmes, but she definitely gave him a run for his money! Overall, I think this series is a great introduction to the classic character of Sherlock Holmes to a younger generation. Lane created fabulous characters and a great mystery. I look forward to the next one!
Death Cloud is a good start to the teenage life of Sherlocke Holmes. It gives you some of the background information of how Sherlock becomes Sherlocke. It is a great way to be introduced to character and the stories. The story is a good mix of information about the characters, and you do find yourself invested in their lives. You see Sherlock make friends and solve his first case, with a good bit of danger. It does start to lag somewhat about three quarters of the way through, but picks up pace towards the end. Parts of the story are a bit beyond belief, but keep you guessing.
Death Cloud by Andrew Lane was an exhilarating book! Featuring a young Sherlock Holmes at age 14 and his friends, several murders, a very creepy bad guy with an evil plot, some romance, and whole lot of action. I loved this mystery! Sherlock was depicted exactly as I would have imagined him to be at this age! I enjoyed seeing how the talent he already had and the skills he learned would turn him into the famous detective so well known. I also enjoyed seeing the word "deduced." It's probably my new favorite word. Sherlock's tutor Mr. Crowe quickly became one of the best characters. Between the random bits of intelligence he was always giving, and the fact that he helped me understand a story problem that long has confused me, it was almost inevitable. Here's the problem, a small taste of some of the problems and mysteries in this book: Three men decide to split the cost of a thirty shilling hotel room. Each fellow pays the manager ten shillings. The next morning the manager realizes he made a mistake in that a special rate was being charged on the room because of construction on the hotel. He sends a bellboy to give back five shillings. The men are so pleased they decide to each keep a shilling and give two to the boy as a tip. So each man ends up only paying nine shillings and the boy makes two. But, nine times three is twenty-seven shillings, and when you add the two shillings the boy got, it's still only twenty-nine. Where did the missing shilling go? Not taken exactly from the text, I took out all the dialogue of them thinking it out, but it's from pages 120 and 121. That problem has tortured my poor head since middle school and I actually squealed when the answer was explained! I leave you, dear reader, to the awful pondering that follows this story. But, unlike the evil classmate who posed this story to me, I've given you a way to find out the answer. Read Death Cloud!
this book was definitly one of my favorites! it exceded all of my expectations and was schocking! 5 out of 5 stars!
I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and their insights. A great read!
Andrew Lane has successfully made a series that is a perfect introduction to young Sherlock Holmes. Lane's ingenious use of elements in all his books explain wonderfully how Sherlock comes to know detective skills and other useful aspects that line up flawlessly with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works. Lane's books will make you think about the world in new and exciting ways, learn fresh vocabulary, hold your breath in anticipation, laugh out loud, and cry alongside the characters. The entire series leaves you awash in awe. Finally you will have the pieces of the puzzle you have been waiting for; an amazing explanation that brings closure to Doyle's works: also an inspiring beginning. I applaud Lane's creativity and ingenuity. You won't be disappointed; you will receive more than you could ever hope for. Enjoy, my fellow readers in these great works of literature, truly art.
I enjoyed this book alot, I'm going to read the next book in this series very soon i recommend it to anyone who likes adventure and/or mystery books.
The best book ever its worth reading!!
I've never read any of the Sherlock Holmes books in my life (I know, I know, I'm a horrible excuse for a human being). And my reference when someone says Sherlock Holmes is the 2009 movie (to which I hope they're making a sequel). But I'm happy to say that this was a good introduction to the character. So much so, that I have an inclination to go and pick up the originals and the varied spin-offs done by other authors. In this book, Sherlock isn't yet the detective mastermind we all know him to be (thank you, Robert Downey Jr.). He is a young boy just released for summer break from an all boys school. His brother arrives to tell him that he will not be coming home to London with him, but will be staying with his estranged uncle, aunt, and their evil house keeper (all though his brother doesn't come out and say as much, Sherlock is able to deduce that much on his own the moment he steps foot in their house). While bored out of his mind, Sherlock befriends a street urchin named Matty (Jude Law a.k.a Watson??? Like I said, I'm clueless here folks, and the movie is my reference on which I base all things, including the meaning of life--which, if you're curious--is getting a jar full of flies to fly together in a counter-clockwise fashion). Matty tells Sherlock of a 'death cloud' he saw and the dead man that turned up as a seeming result. His brother hires an American tutor for the summer. I deduce that this is where Sherlock learns all of his mad skills. As nosey as he is, Sherlock goes gallivanting on private property of a mysterious albino Barron who he thinks is a part of this entire 'death cloud' business. Trapped in a blazing barn and almost murdered (I still cringe when I remember Lane showing us that scene), Sherlock escapes and goes back to his uncle's house for his lesson with the American. There they find a dead man on his uncle's property. Sherlock is convinced that the two deaths are connected and somehow the Barron (Arch Nemesis Moriarty??) is a part of it all. Together, Sherlock, Matty, the American, and his attractive daughter, Virginia (Rachel McAdams?) try and solve the mystery. And that's all I'm gonna say about the plot. Lane did a great job of interweaving seemingly unrelated events into one conspiracy for Sherlock to discover. He also did a great job of letting the reader follow Sherlock's brain waves in figuring out the mystery and the conspiracy happening around him, without the notion that my hand was being held through the process. I can see where this will be set up for many more books to come as Lane did a very good job of tying up lose ends, but leaving enough mystery for the next book (which I am going to ask for an ARC of). Lane also did a superb job of setting up the world in which the story takes place, giving us the sights, sounds, smells and ambiance of 1868 Hampshire.I strongly recommend picking up this book and reading it for yourself. It's interesting and an easy read, and while it took me a little while to get into it (although, I was rather busy at the time), it was well worth it.
Summer 1868: After an interminable year away at boarding school, fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes is eager to return to the family home where he can explore to his heart's content and see his father and mother. Sherlock is crushed when his older brother Mycroft instead tells Sherlock he will be staying with distant relatives in Hampshire. Dismayed at this horrible turn of events, Sherlock is prepared for a terrible summer. Then he meets a drifter about his own age named Matty Arnett as well as an unconventional tutor named Amyus Crowe. Together the trio are soon drawn into a mystery involving a dead body, noxious gasses and--strangest of all--a cloud that seems to move with purpose. Death Cloud is the first book in Lane's Young Sherlock Holmes series. Mystery fans and fans of the worlds greatest detective will all find something to enjoy in this action-packed adventure. Lane gains momentum throughout the narrative seemingly becoming more comfortable with writing about this famous character as the story progresses. Much in the grand tradition of Arthur Conan Doyle's original novels, Lane offers a madcap mystery with imaginative devices and a villain that will likely follow young Sherlock throughout the series. Lane also offers nods to what seasoned readers know lies in store for Sherlock as well as new insights into how Crowe, Shelock's tutor, helped shape his deductive reasoning. In fact, the biggest problem with Death Cloud is reconciling this young boy who is observant but often also less-than-learned with the brilliant detective that has become part of the public consciousness. While some teachable moments between Sherlock and Crowe feel forced (as Lane tries to use what Sherlock doesn't know to anticipate that which younger readers may not know) the story and characters come together nicely here. Death Cloud is an approachable, engaging mystery that will appeal to readers (and Sherlock fans) of all ages.
Do they have a movie
Amazing book compliments to the author!
Read it it has adventure and mystery
This is one of the best books I have read. I read all the original stories and after finding these, I immediately wanted to read them. Lane does a great job of keeping these books true to form and introducing a lot of the things in the original stories (his love for bees, playing the violin, etc.). Filled with fast paced action and adventure, The Young Sherlock Holmes series is a must read.
This was an awesome book full of action and I can't wait to read the rest of this series
I love this book
Really really really really good