Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes have travelled the world since they met on the Sussex Downs in 1915 (The Beekeeper’s Apprentice) and now they find themselves in Morocco. It takes some time before Russell knows quite where, since she wakes in a strange city with no memory, in unfamiliar clothes, and with blood on her hands. And to make matters even more interesting, there seems to be a war on. Holmes, meanwhile, is swanning around in the Atlas Mountains, ducking bullets, happily oblivious to both the war and his missing amnesiac wife. Just another another day in the life of Russell & Holmes.
It’s 1924, and the French, the Spanish, and the Rif (inhabitants of a mountainous region in northern Morocco under the brothers Abd el-Krim) struggle for control of Morocco. Another pair, Ali and Mahmoud, known to Russell and Holmes from their adventures in O Jerusalem (1999), figure strongly here. With the amnesiac Russell narrating, we are plunged into her mind as she tries to recover her identity and as she finds languages and defensive skills in herself. No detail is merely atmospheric, but rather we taste and feel and touch what Russell does with sensuous clarity: the tile and wood interiors; the riot of aromas sweet and foul; the colors; and the layer upon layer of political machination. The language is incredibly rich but always precise, the history of this time in Morocco woven with a contemporary eye on the wheels within wheels. As always, the relationship between Holmes and Russell is utterly understated, yet traced with heat and light.
Laurie R. King is a third generation Californian with a background in theology, whose first crime novel (1993′s A GRAVE TALENT) won the Edgar and Creasey awards. Her yearly novels range from police procedurals and stand-alones to a historical series about Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (beginning with THE BEEKEEPER’S APPRENTICE.) Her books have won the Edgar, Creasey, Wolfe, Lambda, and Macavity awards, and appear regularly on the New York Times bestseller list.
To learn more about Laurie, please visit her website.