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Posted March 2, 2011
This book is the first of a series of novels which Ms. Cypser is planning to describe Sherlock's life through University and his early career as a detective. In contrast to a number of recent Sherlockian efforts, this book was written and edited by a professional. I found only one trivial error, although I am sure there must be a few more. The writing is clear and direct, with prose that evokes the Yorkshire Dales and the people who have lived there from time out of mind. For a while I found myself recalling the first seasons of the series, "All Creatures, Great and Small" with it lovely scenery and wonderful characters. The story is sad, with Sherlock going through a late adolescence and having to cope with a very demanding tutor, one Professor James Moriarty. We are introduced to Mycroft and to their older brother, Sherrinford, as well as to Squire Siger and Mrs. Holmes. The wild and haunting scenery is a backdrop for a tale of madness, love and deceit with a few side trips into the normal world of family and friends. Sherlock's sickly childhood and family relations are explored in some depth as part of coming to understand his nature. There are several questions left unanswered, but I suspect that the author has a few more facts to pass along at opportune times. Certain actions by Squire Holmes and Professor Moriarty require explanation, and the futures of several introduced characters leave room for growth and development. The story ends with a recapitulation of the events in "The Gloria Scott" that put Sherlock firmly on path to be the world's first consulting detective. This is not a happy book nor is it light reading. It is a tale about forging a boy into a man, as one heats, pounds, tempers and quenches steel. It took me several sittings and I read it in the dead of Winter, a bad time to face snow in the fells and bitterness in the heart. This is a book that provides explanations for some of the odd qualities we have all remarked in the Master. Those qualities could not have come easily or pleasantly. Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, January, 2011Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.