The God of the Hive (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series #10)

The God of the Hive (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series #10)

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by Laurie R. King

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Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, have stirred the wrath of a murderous secret organization bent on infiltrating the government. Now they are separated and on the run, wanted by the police, and pursued across the Continent by a ruthless enemy with limitless resources and powerful connections.

Unstoppable together, Russell and Holmes will have to

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Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, have stirred the wrath of a murderous secret organization bent on infiltrating the government. Now they are separated and on the run, wanted by the police, and pursued across the Continent by a ruthless enemy with limitless resources and powerful connections.

Unstoppable together, Russell and Holmes will have to survive this time apart, maintaining contact only by means of coded messages and cryptic notes. But has the couple made a fatal mistake by separating, making themselves easier targets for the shadowy government agents sent to silence them?

A hermit with a mysterious past and a beautiful young female doctor with a secret, a cruelly scarred flyer and an obsessed man of the cloth: Everyone Russell and Holmes meet could either speed their safe reunion or betray them to their enemies—in the most complex, shocking, and deeply personal case of their career.

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.”—Washington Post Book World
“King enriches the Sherlockian legacy.”—Boston Globe

“The God of the Hive is mesmerizing—another wonderful novel etched by the hand of a master storyteller. No reader who opens this one will be disappointed.”—Michael Connelly, author of The Scarecrow

“A dazzling continuation of the adventures of the world’s most famous beekeeper, and his equally daunting ‘apprentice,’ The God of the Hive will astonish and delight even the most seasoned of Holmes’ devotees.”—Katherine Neville, The Fire

“The Mary Russell series is the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today, and this is the best installment yet.”—Lee Child, author of Gone Tomorrow

“Without a doubt, King is the master of Sherlockian authors.”—Gayle Lynds, author of The Book of Spies

“All it takes is the very first page of the newest installment in Laurie R. King’s brilliant series for and you’re gone . . . disappearing into an artfully crafted, creative and craft world . . . This is historical suspense at its best, rich with atmosphere, mystery, psychological insight and complex, fascinating characters. But it’s not just the plot of Russell’s world, or how she matches wits with Holmes that makes King’s books such standouts, it’s how she brings heart and soul to great detective novels.”—M.J Rose, author of The Hypnotist

Laurie R. King’s bestselling novels of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are . . .
“Audacious.”—Los Angeles Times • “Funny and fearless.”—Houston Chronicle • “Delightful and creative.”—The Wall Street Journal • “Clever, literate, and thoroughly knowledgeable.”—San Jose Mercury News “A lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company.”—The New York Times Book Review “Rousing . . . riveting . . . suspenseful.”—Chicago Sun-Times “Lush, colorful and utterly compelling.”—Detroit Free-Press • “Beguiling . . . tantalizing.”—The Boston Globe

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series, #10
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.04(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.82(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

    A child is a burden, after a mile.  

After two miles in the cold sea air, stumbling through the night up the side of a hill and down again, becoming all too aware of previously unnoticed burns and bruises, and having already put on eight miles that night—half of it carrying a man on a stretcher—evena small, drowsy three-and-a-half-year-old becomes a strain.  

At three miles, aching all over, wincing at the crunch of gravel underfoot, spine tingling with the certain knowledge of a madman's stealthy pursuit, a loud snort broke the silence, so close I could feel it. My nerves screamed as I struggled to draw therevolver without dropping the child. 

  Then the meaning of the snort penetrated the adrenaline blasting my nerves: A mad killer was not about to make that wet noise before attacking.

   I went still. Over my pounding heart came a lesser version of the sound; the rush of relief made me stumble forward to drop my armful atop the low stone wall, just visible in the creeping dawn. The cow jerked back, then ambled towards us in curiosity untilthe child was patting its sloppy nose. I bent my head over her, letting reaction ebb.

   Estelle Adler was the lovely, bright, half-Chinese child of my husband's long-lost son: Sherlock Holmes' granddaughter. I had made her acquaintance little more than two hours before, and known of her existence for less than three weeks, but if the maniacwho had tried to sacrifice her father—and who had apparently intended to take the child for his own—had appeared from the night, I would not hesitate to give my life for hers.  

She had been drugged by said maniac the night before, which no doubt contributed to her drowsiness, but now she studied the cow with an almost academic curiosity, leaning against my arms to examine its white-splashed nose. Which meant that the light wasgrowing too strong to linger. I settled the straps of my rucksack, lumpy with her possessions, and reached to collect this precious and troublesome burden.

   "Are you—" she began, in full voice.

   "Shh!" I interrupted. "We need to whisper, Estelle."  

"Are you tired?" she tried again, in a voice that, although far from a whisper, at least was not as carrying. 

  "My arms are," I breathed in her ear, "but I'm fine."  

"I could ride pickaback," she said.  

"Are you sure?"  

"I do with Papa."  

Well, if she could cling to the back of that tall young man, she could probably hang on to me. I shifted the rucksack around and let her climb onto my back, her little hands gripping my collar. I bent, tucking my arms under her legs, and set off again.  

Much better.

   It was a good thing Estelle knew what to do, because I was probably the most incompetent nurse-maid ever to be put in charge of a child. I knew precisely nothing about children; the only one I had been around for any length of time was an Indian streeturchin three times this one's age and with more maturity than many English adults. I had much to learn about small children. Such as the ability to ride pickaback, and the inability to whisper.

   The child's suggestion allowed me to move faster down the rutted track. We were in the Orkneys, a scatter of islands past the north of Scotland, coming down from the hill that divided the main island's two parts. Every step took us farther away from myhusband; from Estelle's father, Damian; and from the bloody, fire-stained prehistoric altar-stone where Thomas Brothers had nearly killed both of them.  

Why not bring in the police, one might ask. They can be useful, and after all, Brothers had killed at least three others. However, things were complicated—not that complicated wasn't a frequent state of affairs in the vicinity of Sherlock Holmes, butin this case the complication took the form of warrants posted for my husband, his son, and me. Estelle was the only family member not being actively hunted by Scotland Yard.  

Including, apparently and incredibly, Holmes' brother. For forty-odd years, Mycroft Holmes had strolled each morning to a grey office in Whitehall and settled in to a grey job of accounting—even his longtime personal secretary was a grey man, an ageless,sexless individual with the leaking-balloon name of Sosa. Prime Ministers came and went, Victoria gave way to Edward and Edward to George, budgets were slashed and expanded, wars were fought, decades of bureaucrats flourished and died, while Mycroft walkedeach morning to his office and settled to his account books.   Except that Mycroft's grey job was that of eminence grise of the British Empire. He inhabited the shadowy world of Intelligence, but he belonged neither to the domestic Secret Service nor to the international Secret Intelligence Service. Instead, he hadshaped his own department within the walls of Treasury, one that ran parallel to both the domestic branch and the SIS. After forty years, his power was formidable.  

If I stopped to think about it, such unchecked authority in one individual's hands would scare me witless, even though I had made use of it more than once. But if Mycroft Holmes was occasionally cold and always enigmatic, he was also sea-green incorruptible,the fixed point in my universe, the ultimate source of assistance, shelter, information, and knowledge. 

  He was also untouchable, or so I had thought. 

  The day before, a telegram had managed to find me, with a report of Mycroft being questioned by Scotland Yard, and his home raided. It was hard to credit—picturing Mycroft's wrath raining down on Chief Inspector Lestrade came near to making me smile—butuntil I could disprove it, I could not call on Mycroft's assistance. I was on my own.   Were it not for the child on my back, I might have simply presented myself to the police station in Kirkwall and used the time behind bars to catch up on sleep. I was certain that the warrants had only been issued because of Chief Inspector John Lestrade'spique—even at the best of times, Lestrade disapproved of civilians like us interfering in an official investigation. Once his point was made and his temper faded, we would be freed.  

Then again, were it not for the child, I would not be on this side of the island at all. I would have stayed at the Stones, where even now my training and instincts were shouting that I belonged, hunting down Brothers before he could sail off and starthis dangerous religion anew in some other place.  

This concept of women and children fleeing danger was a thing I did not at all care for.  

But as I said, children are a burden, whether three years old or thirty. My only hope of sorting this out peacefully, without inflicting further trauma on the child or locking her disastrously claustrophobic and seriously wounded father behind bars, wasto avoid the police, both here and in the British mainland. And my only hope of avoiding the Orcadian police was a flimsy, sputtering, freezing cold aeroplane. The same machine in which I had arrived on Orkney the previous afternoon, and sworn never to enteragain.  

The aeroplane's pilot was an American ex-RAF flyer named Javitz, who had brought me on a literally whirlwind trip from London and left me in a field south of Orkney's main town. Or rather, I had left him. I thought he would stay there until I reappeared.  

I hoped he would.        

Chapter Two

The wind was not as powerful as it had been the day before, crossing from Thurso, but it rose with the sun, and the seas rose with it. By full light, all the fittings in the Fifie's cabin were rattling wildly, and although Damian's arm was bound to hisside, half an hour out of Orkney the toss and fret of the fifty-footlong boat was making him hiss with pain. When the heap of blankets and spare clothing keeping him warm was pulled away, the dressings showed scarlet.   Sherlock Holmes rearranged the insulation around his son and tossed another scoop of coal onto the stove before climbing the open companionway to the deck. The young captain looked as if he was clinging to the wheel as much as he was controlling it. Holmesraised his voice against the wind.  

"Mr Gordon, is there nothing we can do to calm the boat?"  

The young man took his eyes from the sails long enough to confirm the unexpected note of concern in the older man's voice, then studied the waves and the rigging overhead. "Only thing we could do is change course. To sail with the wind, y'see?" 

  Holmes saw. Coming out of Scapa Flow, they had aimed for Strathy, farther west along the coast of northern Scotland—in truth, any village but Thurso would do, so long as it had some kind of medical facility.  

But going west meant battling wind and sea: Even unladen, the boat had waves breaking across her bow, and the dip and rise of her fifty-foot length was troubling even to the unwounded on board. 

  Thurso was close and it would have a doctor; however, he and Russell had both passed through that town the day before, and although the unkempt Englishman who hired a fishing boat to sail into a storm might have escaped official notice, rumour of a youngwoman in an aeroplane would have spread. He hoped Russell would instruct her American pilot to avoid Thurso, but if not—well, the worst she could expect was an inconvenient arrest. He, on the other hand, dared not risk sailing into constabulary arms.  

"Very well," he said. "Change course." 

  "Thurso, good." Gordon sounded relieved.  

"No. Wick." A fishing town, big enough to have a doctor—perhaps even a rudimentary hospital. Police, too, of course, but warrants or not, what village constable would take note of one fishing boat in a harbour full of them?  

"Wick? Oh, but I don't know anyone there. My cousin in Strathy—" 

  "The lad will be dead by Strathy."

   "Wick's farther."  

"But calmer."  

Gordon thought for a moment, then nodded. "Take that line. Be ready when I say."    

   The change of tack quieted the boat's wallow considerably. When Holmes descended again to the cabin, the stillness made him take two quick steps to the bunk—but it was merely sleep. 

  The madman's bullet had circled along Damian's ribs, cracking at least one, before burying itself in the musculature around the shoulder blade—too deep for amateur excavation. Had it been the left arm, Holmes might have risked it, but Damian was an artist,a right-handed artist, an artist whose technique required precise motions with the most delicate control. Digging through muscle and nerve for a piece of lead could turn the lad into a former artist.  

Were Watson here, Holmes would permit his old friend to take out his scalpel, even considering the faint hand tremor he'd seen the last time they had met. But Watson was on his way home from Australia—Holmes suspected a new lady friend—and was at themoment somewhere in the Indian Ocean. 

  He could only hope that Wick's medical man had steady hands and didn't drink. If they were not so fortunate, he should have to face the distressing option of coming to the surface to summon a real surgeon.  

Which would Damian hate more: the loss of his skill, or the loss of his freedom?  

It was not really a question. Even now, Holmes knew that if he were to remove the wedge holding the cabin's hatch open, in minutes Damian would be sweating with horror and struggling to rise, to breathe, to flee.  

No: A painter robbed of his technique could form another life for himself; a man driven insane by confinement could not. If they found no help in Wick, he might have to turn surgeon.  

The thought made his gut run cold. Not the surgery itself—he'd done worse—but the idea of Damian's expression when he tried to control a brush, and could not.

Imagine: Sherlock Holmes dodging responsibility.  

Standing over his son's form, he became aware of the most peculiar sensation, disturbingly primitive and almost entirely foreign.  

Reverend Thomas Brothers (or James Harmony Hayden or Henry Smythe or whatever names he had claimed) lay dead among the standing stone circle. But had the corpse been to hand, Sherlock Holmes would have ripped out the mad bastard's heart and savagely kickedhis remains across the deck and into the sea.

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God of the Hive 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 78 reviews.
Michele-from-Maine More than 1 year ago
Deliciously creepy. Seriously delicious. I love several things about Ms. King's style. I love the mix of 1st person (Mary Russell's chapters) and the 3rd (everyone else). I love that the memoirish intimacy of the 1st person chapters does not prevent, but enhances the story-telling intimacy of the 3rd person chapters. I love that she introduces new characters that make you sorry that you haven't met them before now. This book, in particular, introduces several intriguing new characters. (Especially one!) I love that her characters are as smart as they are made out to be. Obviously Ms. King is wickedly clever and intelligent herself or her stories and characters couldn't hold up to their promise. I am always a little wary of new entries in a series based at least in part on the partnership/relationship between a pair in which the partners are separated, but as always, Ms. King finds a way. Russell and Holmes find ways to communicate and their enforced separation merely heightens the sense that they are at opposite ends of a gradually stretching rubber band, and when, as must happen, the rubber band snaps back to its regular position in the final chapters of the book, it gives the ending a new snap and energy. As I said, Ms. King is smart, and has heart. Great mystery. A great week for me, teaching teenagers, raising daughters, making dinners, helping neighbors...but going home to a...really. good. read.
Dr-Felicia More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Laurie King's novels and await each new one with a combination of anticipation and trepidation. All have enthralled me and the God of the Hive is no exception. Her previous Russell/Holmes novel ended in a cliffhanger which this novel completes. Set post World War I, as are so many contemporary mystery novels, God of the Hive presents us with a remarkable new character, a shell shocked veteran who has metamorphosed into someone very like the Green Man of legend who dances and tootles his way through the grim events as Holmes and Russell are forced to split up each operating alone as they face their most diabolical foe yet. Holmes, Russell and Mycroft must fight for their own lives as those of Holmes' new found son and elfin grandchild. As always the suspense is ladled out in rich literate prose. I am a professor of literature and King is an author that I binge on and recommend to students.
jdstri More than 1 year ago
As usual, Laurie R King brings an informative and dramatic ending to her latest tale of Holmes and Russell. I find that Ms King's stories are both exciting and educational and every book brings a different perspective to religious studies, in this case the role that cults may take in our society. Russell, as always, is the strong adventurous woman who is also aware of her weaknesses and Holmes still bears all the characteristics with which we have become familiar through Conan Doyle. I like the way that Mycroft has developed and the relationship that they all have with Lestrade of Scotland Yard. As a British citizen, living in the San Francisco Bay area for the past nine years I have found Ms. Kings novels particularly close to my heart and look forward to the next installment.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1924, married couple Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes survived the murderous cult that they got involved with as they resolved the mysterious Language of Bees. Both hope the terror is over, but they will soon learn it has just begun. Reverend Thomas Brothers believes he can harness psychic energies through human sacrifice. As such he shoots Holmes's son, Damian Adler. With his offspring dying, Holmes' rushes off to Holland for specialized medical care to save the life of his son. At the same time Mary tries to protect her husband's granddaughter Estelle from Brothers and his fanatical cohorts. Nothing seems to go right for either one of the couple as danger is everywhere in England and on the continent. This direct sequel to the Language of the Bees is a tense historical suspense thriller in which the couple separated and learns that the sum is greater than the two parts. The story line is fast-paced from start to finish with plenty of danger assaulting the lead couple in their separate subplots. Although each obtains too much help expediting them from on peril after another, The God of the Hive is an entertaining Russell-Holmes 1920s thriller. Harriet Klausner
HappyNook More than 1 year ago
This book is another amazing Mary Russell series from author Laurie R. King. Each one has a rich plot. Each one takes you deeper into the main characters and each one seems to have been given as much time and care in the research and writing as the previous books in the series. I particularly liked learning more about Sherlock's brother Mycroft and his world in this one.
murflaw More than 1 year ago
I am a Mary Russell/Holmes addict for sure. Lauri R. King is so gifted as a writer. This current book did not leave me disappointed. After so many exceptionally good books in this series, you would think it would be difficult for Ms. King to come up with ideas. However, I was gripped from the first chapter. As always, King's descriptive style makes you feel like you are there. Russell and Holmes entertain another adventure that is extremely personal in this book. A lot of their detecting is done separately (physically apart). The introduction of a Puckish character makes this read all the more enigmatic and lends some much-needed humor, at times. Of course, there are some dastardly people that you love to hate. This book is a continuation of her last Russell/Holmes adventure. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The publishers are charging $5 more for the e-book than the member price of the hardback. Another book that I would have once have bought for for the pleasure of reading straight away but now I will either wait for a library copy or spend my time finding an author from a non agency publishing house. These prices have made me realise that my spending on books needed to be reigned in and that I dont get pleasure from reading a book if I feel ripped off by the price.. How does loosing sales (and readers) like this make sense?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was so clever of Mycroft to fake his death the way he did to take the pressure off the case.
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Divided couple getting boring and we want a simple murder with the usual characters of watson mrs hudson baker street irregulars and more interaction by these two perhaps they could get a dog watson had a bull terrior maybe a pup from the mighty tracker perhaps they might have one of their own or adopt or watson come up with a grandson
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I really am enjoying this 10 book in the series. It seems to read smoother and is still interesting and suspenseful. If you liked her others, youwill definitely enjoy this.
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