Death on a Pale Horse: Sherlock Holmes on Her Majesty's Secret Service

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Overview

Holmes and Watson travel abroad upon the behest of Queen Victoria to solve an international conspiracy, from critics' favorite and master Sherlockian Donald Thomas.
In a momentous period of British history, Donald Thomas’s latest Sherlock Holmes adventure pits the Great Detective and his faithful biographer, Dr. John Watson, against an international conspiracy led by a disgraced English officer. Colonel Hunter Moran bears upon him “The Mark of the Beast”; his satanic ingenuity ...

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Death on a Pale Horse: Sherlock Holmes on Her Majesty's Secret Service

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Overview

Holmes and Watson travel abroad upon the behest of Queen Victoria to solve an international conspiracy, from critics' favorite and master Sherlockian Donald Thomas.
In a momentous period of British history, Donald Thomas’s latest Sherlock Holmes adventure pits the Great Detective and his faithful biographer, Dr. John Watson, against an international conspiracy led by a disgraced English officer. Colonel Hunter Moran bears upon him “The Mark of the Beast”; his satanic ingenuity leaves a spectacular trail of devastation. It runs from the annihilation of a British armored column by Zulu tribesmen armed only with shields and spears, to a life-and-death struggle on the sinking passenger steamer Comtesse de Flandre.The heir to the French empire lies dead in the African dust. Europe is brought to the brink of war by forged dispatches, designed to enrich gun-runners and assassins. The gold-fields and diamond mines of South Africa become the playground of organized crime.
Only the detective genius of Holmes can prove a match for the unfolding criminality of Moran and his associates. With Watson and Mycroft at his side, Sherlock Holmes again demonstrates although the powers of the state and the underworld may try to overpower him, they will never out-think his splendid analytical mind at the height of its powers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Master pasticher Thomas demonstrates that his gifts at creating new Holmes short stories, most recently in 2010’s Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly, extend to the harder task of sustaining character, atmosphere, and plot over a full-length novel, something that Conan Doyle himself struggled with. The opening section consists of the narrative of Col. Rawdon Moran (brother of Moriarty’s chief of staff, Sebastian), who took his revenge on English forces arrayed in southeast Africa in 1879, after he was drummed out of his regiment for conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. The colonel’s betrayals come to the attention of Holmes and Watson while they’re in India consulting on the mysterious death of another army man. As with the best emulations of the originals, Thomas maintains both the proper tone and spirit, while presenting new facets of both the doctor and the detective that ring true. Agent: Charles Schlessiger, Brandt & Hochman Literary. (Mar.)
Library Journal
A brilliant outing for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson! Beginning with the 1879 British defeat by Zulu tribesmen at Isandhlwana in South Africa, major events in British military and diplomatic history serve as loci in a connect-the-disasters puzzle box that becomes the most dangerous game the sleuthing partners have played since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Final Problem. Watson’s own military past is detailed as it reveals a personal connection to the case. Holmes is as lovingly portrayed as ever, and though he receives less page time than usual, the reasons are eventually revealed. In the meantime, he sends Watson, and readers, a cipher that this reviewer was thrilled to put pen to paper to crack!

Verdict Thomas’s (The Execution of Sherlock Holmes; Sherlock Holmes and the King’s Evil; Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly) latest Holmes adventure is a thinking man’s thriller, which should come as no surprise to fans of the series, and will bring much delight to Sherlockians, fans of cerebral thrillers and historical fiction, military history enthusiasts, and amateur cryptographers.—Liv Hanson, Chicago

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Spurred on by a well-informed war veteran, Sherlock Holmes revisits several homicides in war-torn South Africa and India. As both a useful historical note and an intolerably overextended prologue illustrate, the record is clear: Two weeks after the 1879 assassination of Louis Napoleon, Prince Imperial and claimant to the throne of France, by rebels in Natal, Capt. Jahleel Brenton Carey, commander of the prince's bodyguard, was court martialed. The reversal of the verdict merely dragged out Carey's life four more years until he died in India under suspicious circumstances. Not long after Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson have taken rooms together at 221-B Baker Street, Watson gets his own case. Rev. Samuel Dordona, who was with Carey when he died, is convinced that his friend's death was murder and that the Prince Imperial's death bears closer examination by a qualified veteran like Watson. Since Holmes' brother Mycroft, permanent secretary for Cabinet Affairs, has an unofficial finger in every government pie, Holmes quickly assumes a leadership role in the case. The murder of Capt. Joshua Sellon in London implicates Col. Rawdon Moran--the older brother of the infamous Col. Sebastian Moran, whom the faithful will recall from Conan Doyle's tales of Sherlock Holmes--and incidentally provides a chance for Holmes to do what he does best: investigate crime scenes, make lightning inferences, unmask secrets and propose explanations as dazzling as they are logical. Unfortunately, Holmes the detective, who's enjoyed a vigorous afterlife in Thomas' pastiches (Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly, 2010, etc.), is upstaged by Holmes the secret agent for the final act, which finds Moran behind yet another historical outrage. Thomas' attempt to intertwine the Holmes saga with the political fortunes of the empire is more ingenious than convincing, unless your idea of Holmes is Errol Flynn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605983943
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 3/13/2013
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 864,852
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald Thomashas published forty books, including poetry, fiction, biography, and true crime. A stage-play based on his workThe Return of Sherlock Holmes, was recently produced in Wales. His biography of Robert Browning was short-listed for the Whitbread Award and he received The Gregory Award from T. S. Eliot personally for his poetry collectionPoints of Contact.The Execution of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes and the King's Evil and Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly are all available from Pegasus Books. He lives in Bath.

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