Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series #12) [NOOK Book]

Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Laurie R. King’s New York Times bestselling novels of suspense featuring Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, comprise one of today’s most acclaimed mystery series. Now, in their newest and most thrilling adventure, the couple is separated by a shocking circumstance in a perilous part of the world, each racing against time to prevent an ...
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Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series #12)

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Laurie R. King’s New York Times bestselling novels of suspense featuring Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, comprise one of today’s most acclaimed mystery series. Now, in their newest and most thrilling adventure, the couple is separated by a shocking circumstance in a perilous part of the world, each racing against time to prevent an explosive catastrophe that could clothe them both in shrouds.
 
In a strange room in Morocco, Mary Russell is trying to solve a pressing mystery: Who am I? She has awakened with shadows in her mind, blood on her hands, and soldiers pounding on the door. Out in the hivelike streets, she discovers herself strangely adept in the skills of the underworld, escaping through alleys and rooftops, picking pockets and locks. She is clothed like a man, and armed only with her wits and a scrap of paper containing a mysterious Arabic phrase. Overhead, warplanes pass ominously north.
 
Meanwhile, Holmes is pulled by two old friends and a distant relation into the growing war between France, Spain, and the Rif Revolt led by Emir Abd el-Krim—who may be a Robin Hood or a power mad tribesman. The shadows of war are drawing over the ancient city of Fez, and Holmes badly wants the wisdom and courage of his wife, whom he’s learned, to his horror, has gone missing. As Holmes searches for her, and Russell searches for herself, each tries to crack deadly parallel puzzles before it’s too late for them, for Africa, and for the peace of Europe.
 
With the dazzling mix of period detail and contemporary pace that is her hallmark, Laurie R. King continues the stunningly suspenseful series that Lee Child called “the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today.”

Praise for Garment of Shadows
 
“As always, the relationship between Holmes and Russell is utterly understated yet traced with heat and light.”—Booklist (starred review)
 
“[A] taut tale . . . original and intriguing . . . This tantalizing glimpse into the life and times of a rapidly evolving Arabic society has remarkable resonance for our own uncertain times.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Those new to the series are in for a treat.”—Bookreporter

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The great marvel of King’s series is that she’s managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes’s character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
Praise for Garment of Shadows
 
“As always, the relationship between Holmes and Russell is utterly understated yet traced with heat and light.”—Booklist (starred review)
 
“[A] taut tale . . . original and intriguing . . . This tantalizing glimpse into the life and times of a rapidly evolving Arabic society has remarkable resonance for our own uncertain times.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Those new to the series are in for a treat.”—Bookreporter

The award-winning novels of Laurie R. King are . . .
 
“A lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company.”—The New York Times
 
“Erudite, fascinating . . . by all odds the most successful re-creation of the famous inhabitant of 221B Baker Street ever attempted.”—Houston Chronicle
 
“Intricate clockworks, wheels within wheels.”—Booklist (starred review)
 
“Imaginative and subtle.”—The Seattle Times
 
“Impossible to put down.”—Romantic Times
 
“Remarkably beguiling.”—The Boston Globe

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553907551
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series , #12
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 38,532
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, and the acclaimed novels A Darker Place, Folly, Keeping Watch, and Touchstone. She lives in Northern California.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I was in bed. A bed, at any rate.

I had been flattened by a steam-roller, trampled under a stampede of bison. Beaten by a determined thug. I ached, head to toe, fingers and skin. Mostly head.

My skull throbbed, one hot pulse for every beat of my heart. I could see it in the rhythmic dimming of an already shadowy room. I wanted to weep with the pain, but if I had to blow my nose, my skull might split like an overripe melon.

So I lay in the dim room, and watched my heart beat, and ached.

Some time later, it came to me that the angle of the vague patch of brightness across the opposite wall had changed. Some time after that, an explanation slipped out between the pain-pulses: The sun had moved while I slept. A while later, another thought: Time is passing.

And with that, a tendril of urgency unfurled. I could not lie in bed, I had to be somewhere. People were depending on me. The sun would go down: I would be late.

Rolling onto my side was like pushing a motorcar up a hill. Raising myself up from the thin pad made me cry out--nearly black out--from the surge of pressure within my skull. My stomach roiled, my ears rang, the room whirled.

I crouched for a long time on the edge of the bed. Slowly, the pounding receded. My vision cleared, revealing a snug roughly plastered room; hand-made floor tiles; a tawny herringbone of small bricks; a door of some dark wood, so narrow a big man might angle his shoulders, a hook driven into it, holding a long brown robe; a pair of soft yellow bedroom slippers on the floor--babouches, my mind provided: new leather, my nose told me. The room's only furniture was a narrow bed with a rough three-legged stool at its head. The stool served as a table, its surface nearly covered with disparate objects: in the centre stood a small oil lamp. To its left, nearest the bed, were arranged a match-box, a tiny ceramic bowl holding half a dozen spent matches, a glass of water, and a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles that appeared to have been trod upon. The other side of the lamp had an even more peculiar collection: a worn pencil stub, a sausage-shaped object tightly wrapped in a handkerchief, some grains of sand, and one pale stone.

I studied the enigmatic display. The little bowl caused a brief memory to stir through the sludge that was my brain: As I slept, the sound of a match scratching into life would wake me; the sharp smell would bite my nostrils; faces would appear and make noises; I would say something apparently sensible; the faces would bend over the light, and with a puff, I would be back in the shadows, alone.

My hand reached out, hesitated over the water, rejected it, and picked up the spectacles instead. I winced as they settled between my ears and the snug head wrap I wore, but the room came into focus.

The matches also came into focus: a cheap, bright label, in French. I picked up the box, slid it open, my nose stung by the smell of sulphur. Four matches. I took one, scraped it into life, held it to the oil lamp. A spot of warmth entered the room.

By its thin light, I looked down at what I wore. Drab homespun trousers and tunic. Bare feet. The clothing was clean, but not my hands. They looked as if someone had tried to wipe away a layer of some dark greasy matter, leaving stains in the deeper creases and under the nails.

I stretched the left one out nearer the lamp. Motion caused the flame to throw dancing shadows across the room. When it had steadied, I frowned at the finger-nails to which I was attached.

Not grease.

Blood.

The light of a candle/the sunshine smell of linen/the slope of ceiling/the soft throat of a young girl asleep/the blood on my hands--

The bolt of memory shocked me to my feet. I swayed, the room roaring in my ears, my eyes fixed on the flat, slope-free ceiling. Don't look down (blood on my hands)--don't think about the hand's memory of the smooth, intimate glide of sharp steel through flesh.

I ventured a step, then another, towards the shuttered window.

To my surprise, the latch flipped beneath my awkward fingers, and when the hinges creaked open, there were no bars. Why had I expected to be a prisoner?

The brilliance was painful, even though the sky was grey with unshed rain. I lifted a hand to shade my eyes, and squinted at the view: a dirty, cobbled lane far too narrow for any motorcar. One could have passed an object between opposing windows--had there been windows. I saw only one, higher even than mine, tiny and tightly shuttered. I could see two entranceways off this diminutive alley: One had been painted with brightly coloured arabesques, long ago, and comprised a small door inside a larger one, as if the carpenter had learned his craft on castles and cathedrals. The door across from it was a single rectangle, black wood heavily studded with rusting iron circles the size of my thumb-nail. Around them, grubby whitewash, a fringe of grass on the rooflines, chunks of plaster flaking from walls that bulged and slumped. In one place, wooden braces thirty feet from the ground kept two buildings from collapsing into each other.

The house I was in seemed to be the lane's terminus; thirty feet away, beneath the slapdash web of braces, the passageway turned to the right and disappeared.

I pushed the shutters wider open, intending to lean out and examine the face of the building below me, then took a step back as the left-hand door came open and a woman emerged. She was swathed head to toe in pale garments, with a straw bag in one hand and a child's hand in the other. She glanced down the alleyway, her eyes on a place well below me, and I could see her brown, Caucasian features and startling blue eyes. She pulled her scarf up over her face and tugged the child down the lane, vanishing around its bend.

Arabic; French; woman in a robe--djellaba, the internal dictionary supplied, although that did not seem quite right. Those clues combined with the woman's Berber features suggested that I was in North Africa. Algeria or perhaps Morocco. In a suq.

The knowledge of where was just beyond my grasp, like an elusive name on the tip of one's tongue. Similarly, how I came to be here. And what had been so urgent it drove me to my feet. Or why I had blood on my hands.

Or, my name.

Who the hell was I?


Chapter Two

Sweat broke out all over my body, despite the cold of the room. There was a good explanation, for everything. One that I would remember in a minute, once I could think around the pounding in my head. Or . . .

I turned to consider the narrow door. The shutters hadn't been locked. Yes, the window was high and the drop to the lane sheer, but perhaps it meant that my situation was not the source of that feeling of urgency. That the water in the glass was not drugged. That the door led to assistance, to information. To friends, even.

My bare feet slapped across the cold tiles. I stopped beside the bed, transferring everything but the lamp, water, and bowl into my pockets, then moved over to the door and put my ear to the crack: nothing. My fingers eased the iron latch up until the tongue came free; the wood shifted towards me. I was not locked in.

The odours that washed over me threatened to turn my stomach over. Frying oil, onions, chicken, a panoply of spices--for some reason, I felt that if I were more experienced with their names, I would be able to identify each individual element of that sensory cloud.

I pushed aside the evidence of my nostrils, concentrating instead on my vision. The scrap of corridor was no more revealing than the view from the window: the same rough herringbone on the floor, cobalt-and-cream tiles halfway up the walls, with crisp whitewashed plaster above; another door; a tidy stack of straw baskets; the suggestion of a house off to the left. I took a step out: To my right, a stone stairway curled upward out of view--to the roof, I felt, although I could not have said why. Then I heard a voice--two voices, so distant, or behind so many doors, that I could not determine the language, much less the words.

But I could hear the tension.

For some reason, I reached around to the back of my waist-band, my fingers anticipating a cold weight nestled against my spine, but there was nothing. After a moment's consideration, I drew a breath, and stepped out. Nothing happened.

I crept down the hall to the left and took up a position just before the bend, not venturing my head into the open. The voices were clearer now, the rhythms suggestive of Arabic. Cool air moved across my face and the light around the corner was daylight, not lamps, as if the walls of the house had been sliced away. Words trickled into my mind. Dar: a house of two or three storeys built around a ground-level courtyard, open to the sky; halka: its wide central sky-light; riad: a house whose inner courtyard was a garden.

Another brief internal flash: clipped green rectangle/rain-soaked brick walls/figures in academic gowns/the odour of learning--

I was gathering myself for a step towards that light when a harsh sound juddered through the house, coming from below and behind me at the same time. I hurried back into my tiny cell and across the tiles to peer downwards into the narrow lane--

Soldiers!

No mistaking that blue uniform and cap: two armed French soldiers, pounding on the door below.

Aimless urgency blew into open panic: I could not be taken by them, it was essential that I remain free, that I get to--

To where? To whom? But while I might have given a single gendarme the benefit of the doubt, armed soldiers could only be a declaration of war. I snatched the robe from the hook, stepped into the slippers, and made for the curve of steps leading up.

The upper door's iron latch opened easily. Outside was a terrace roof around an iron-work grid, open to the house below. On one side was strung a bare laundry line; the furniture consisted of six pots of winter-dead herbs and a pair of benches. The rooftop was empty--had I known it would be?--but it smelt of rain, the drips on the clothes-line showing that it had been recent. The air was very cold.

I worked the robe over my head--it was like a sack with a hood, and to my relief smelt only of wool and soap. I picked up the stick supporting the centre of the clothes-line and brought down one slippered foot on its centre, snapping it in two; jamming the sharp end beneath the door would slow pursuit. And the rope itself--that would be useful. I reached for my ankle, but found only skin where my fingers seemed to expect a knife.

Neither knife nor handgun: not friends, then.

I abandoned the line to make a quick circuit of the rooftop, keeping well clear of the open grid, lest someone looking up see me. All around lay a tight jumble of buildings, their rooftops--squared, domed, and crenellated; brick and stone and tile; crisply renovated or crudely patched or on the point of collapse--at a myriad of levels, like the world's largest set of children's blocks. The town covered slopes dropping into a valley; higher hills, green with winter rains, lay in the distance. Here and there, tree-tops poked up between the structures, but there was no discernable break for roads, and the buildings were so intertwined that they appeared to be resting atop one another. Certainly they were holding each other upright--I had seen that from the window below. Several green-roofed minarets sticking above the architectural confusion confirmed that I was in North Africa.

As I circled the rooftop, my fingers automatically laid claim to a few small items left by the women-folk whose territory this was--a pocket-mirror with cracked glass, a tiny pot of kohl, a pair of rusting scissors too delicate to part the laundry rope--and automatically thrust them through the djellaba's side-slits to the pockets beneath.

The circuit ended, I was faced with a decision: The easiest descent was the most exposed; the most surreptitious way might well kill a person with a head as dizzy as mine.

I looked out over the town, where a faint suggestion of emerging sun was bringing an impression of warmth to the grey, tan, and whitewashed shapes. Weeds sprouted on every flat surface, and storks' nests. Weren't those supposed to be good luck? I hoped so. The town's overall texture had an almost tactile satisfaction that reminded me of something. Something I had seen, touched--honeycomb! But not comb neatly bounded by a wooden frame: wild honeycomb, with orderly hexagons filling up the bumps and hollows of rock or tree. My eyes squinted, making the town blur; the aroma of honey seemed to rise up . . .

Stop: time for decisions, not distractions. I went to the low wall overhanging a neighbour's house--then ducked down as a door twenty feet away scraped open and two women came out, arguing furiously in a language I did not know. As I vacillated between waiting for this safer route and risking the other, the door behind me rattled.

Without further consideration, I scurried across the rooftop, pushed through a narrow gap, and dropped down to a wall-top eight feet below. My earlier glance had shown me a glimpse of tiled courtyard through the branches of an orange tree, with this foot-thick wall separating it from a derelict garden next door. I settled my yellow babouches onto the weedy bricks, fixed my gaze on the vestigial window-sill twenty feet away, then balanced like a tight-rope walker across the ragged surface to the abandoned building beyond. Fearful of pursuit, I stepped over the gap and inside--and my heart instantly seized my throat: The brick walls bled light like lace-work; the floor was mostly missing. The entire structure seemed to sway with the addition of my weight.

I stood motionless until bits of mortar and wood stopped drifting down. The breath I took then was slow, but fervent.

Moving with extreme caution, I drew the hand-mirror from my inner pocket and, keeping it well away from the light, held it up to reflect the rooftop behind me. The soldiers came into view.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Mary Russell is back!

    It's hard to write a review about a familiar character without spoilers. I'll just say that Russell and Holmes do not disappoint. It is obvious that Ms. King does her research about the intricate workings of exotic locations and people in the early part of the 20th century. She is able, once again, to describe both so that by the end of the book you feel as though you were sitting in the salon or around the campfire alongside the main characters. Some favorite characters are back and some new ones that you will want to get to know better. Bravo to Ms. King for another gem!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Latest Edition

    An entertaining read, Laurie Kings newest novel is full of historical gems and fun plot curves.
    I highly recomened it to any Russel fans.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    A much welcomed return to the fine story-telling and writing we

    A much welcomed return to the fine story-telling and writing we lost in PIRATE KING! I could not quit reading this one--the setting, fast-paced plot, careful characters--the depth we've come to expect from Laurie King. Anxiously awaiting the next one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2012

    Another Winner from Laurie!

    Laurie King's series about Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell is one of the best mystery series ever written. I love these books and can't wait until the next one comes out. Ms. King's characters are rich and varied, her plots are imaginative and her knowledge of other cultures make her books compelling.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2012

    Nice History Lesson

    Political intrigue abounds in this story of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes immersed in the history and culture of Morocco. Mary is her usual indomitable self and Sherlock lives on, a believably accurate projection of the character Conan Doyle created. The loving and spirited relationship between the two is a literary delight.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Entertaining

    Wonderful addition to this series

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Super book and series!  Well written and intelligent and without

    Super book and series!  Well written and intelligent and without graphic sex that so many books seem to include.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    Fez!

    There is a place called Fez. Doctor, is that you?

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  • Posted October 4, 2013

    Enjoyable, but...

    There is the feeling that Sherlock and Mary's adventures are coming to an end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    I didn't enjoy this book much but finished it.  I didn't care fo

    I didn't enjoy this book much but finished it.  I didn't care for the the characters or the country in which it
    took place.  Please Ms. King get back to England....fast!

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  • Posted September 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This series never disappoints. Russell and Holmes were just as e

    This series never disappoints. Russell and Holmes were just as entertaining a partnership as ever as they continue in their habit of sticking their noses into other people's hornet nests. In this case, Morocco on the edge of war.

    I have a weakness for stories involving amnesia, so when Russell woke up in a strange bed with no memory of her own name or anything else, I was delighted. Using only her wits and some skills she is surprised to find herself possessing, she sets out to find out where she is, who she is, and why someone is after her. She gains an ally in the form of a mysterious, mute urchin who seems to know more about her than she does.

    A substantial part of the story is told from Holmes' perspective. Seeing him worried over his missing wife and partner to such a degree that it neared true discomposure was oddly entertaining. He shows emotions so subtly that certain phrases and facial expressions are as close as he comes to hysteria. I rather wish that Russell's amnesia was drawn out more just to prolong Holmes' understated concern. Is that mean of me? My favorite moment of the entire novel is when amnesiac-Russell finds worried-Holmes whilst having no knowledge of who he is.

    As is usual in Laurie King's books, the mystery is set against a fascinating historical background. In this case, mid-1920s Fez approaching the Rif Revolt. Starting out with very little previous knowledge of this time and place in history, I found it very interesting. A real-life historical figure, Hubert Lyautey, is introduced as Holmes' cousin, thus drawing our hero and heroine into the intrigues and troubles of the day.

    I enjoyed the new characters introduced, particularly Lyautey and Idir, the mute boy who helps them along the way. I also loved the appearance of a some old friends (whose names you will have to discover for yourselves).

    This is a wonderful addition to one of my favorite series. It is neither my favorite nor my least favorite of Holmes' and Russell's adventures, but rather falls somewhere in the middle and perhaps leaning toward the favorites end. I would definitely recommend it to fans of the series; it should not be read out of order as it references multiple previous novels, though the mystery itself is stand-alone.

    I received an advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    Andrea the Abstinent

    She sat at the kitchen table, sipping Herbal tea.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012

    Good she's back!!

    Loved it

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2012

    Recommend.

    Retirn to form for Mary Russell.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    Disappointing, Especially to a Fan

    Bummer. I pre-ordered this book because I am a Laurie King fan, but I could not get beyond page 44. The opening is not bad: Mary Russell has amnesia...though I found it hardly credible that, although she could not remember her own identity, she could remember all sorts of things about the culture that she was in and how to defend herself (now where is that knife hidden at my waistband?). It was when I got to the exposition with Holmes speaking to Morocco's Resident General, Lyautey, about Spain and Rif rebels and Hohammed and M'hammed bin Abd el-Krim that the narrative got so dense with tactical details that I said, Enough. This is not fun to read or even interesting. Darn.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews

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