Young Sherlock Holmes 5: Snake BiteHardback
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- Publisher: MACMILLAN CHILDREN'S BOOKS
- Format: Hardback | 320 pages
- Dimensions: 138mm x 218mm x 34mm | 440g
- Publication date: 27 September 2012
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 023075886X
- ISBN 13: 9780230758865
- Edition: Unabridged
- Edition statement: Unabridged
- Sales rank: 215,539
Kidnapped and taken to China, Sherlock finds himself plunged into adventure. How can three men be bitten by the same poisonous snake in different parts of Shanghai? Who wants them dead, and why? The answer seems to lie in a message hidden in a diagram like a spider's web. But solving it leads to an even more urgent question: what has all this got to do with a plot to blow up an American warship? Sherlock is about to brave terrors greater than any he has faced before ...Sherlock Holmes: think you know him? Think again.
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Andrew Lane is an author, journalist and lifelong Sherlock Holmes fan. This is his first series for young adults. He lives in Dorset with his wife and son. Andrew's passion for the original novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his determination to create an authentic teenage Sherlock Holmes made him the perfect choice to work with the Conan Doyle Estate to reinvent the world's most famous detective as a teenage boy.
By Glenn George 16 Oct 2012
Right from the first word, Lane has created a mystery for his audience. However, the mystery is not solved by Sherlock as readers would have expected. In fact, Sherlock doesn't seem to solve any mysteries at all. Although it is true that Sherlock solves a puzzle, the answer comes too easy due to the plot's obvious direction.
The first 150 or so pages are wasted on what seems to be a useless trip to China. Kidnapped by the Paradol people and stowed on board a ship, Sherlock's trip stinks of cliches: he survives a storm at sea; he fights pirates (and wins)... well, you get the idea.
Lane seems to be lost for ideas in his fifth installment of Young Sherlock Holmes. The plot is weak with its lack of mystery (a necessity in a Sherlock Holmes story). The novel's plot seems to be kidnapped with the young detective - it is M.I.A. Sherlock makes new friends, while losing others for numerous reasons. The Paradol chamber (responsible for his kidnapping) seems to be nowhere in sight on his forced trip to China.
On the other hand, the story is an easy read, with a lot of figurative language to aid imagination. It is pleasing for this avid reader to see Lane's improvement of his use of bought and brought (a negative found in the third book in the series, Black Ice). However, he now needs to focus on his misuse of colons in place of semi-colons.
In terms of Sherlock's progression to his later life of detective fame, Lane is taking the long road with no real sense of direction. As a reader of the previous novels, I feel that we are no closer to Sherlock's adult life.
I highly recommend another version of Sherlock's young life to any fans (or ex-fans) of Lane's series. Shane Peacock has written a more plausible life for the young detective, and has finally reached the conclusion after only six highly entertaining novels. Peacock takes the reader to Sherlock's youth with a series of vivid tales starting with the first, The Eye of the Crow.
I will read Lane's next installment with the hope that the plot line will be improved when Sherlock is back in England. Perhaps he can take a strong plot back with him for Lane to use.