Fresh out of Cambridge University, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name for himself in government, working for the Secretary of State for War. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to the faraway island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancée Georgiana Sutton was raised.
Mycroft’s comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports from home. There are rumors of mysterious disappearances, strange footprints in the sand, and spirits enticing children to their deaths, their bodies found drained of blood. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for Trinidad. Near panic, Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take...
Written by NBA superstar Kareem Abdul- Jabbar and screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, Mycroft Holmes reveals the untold story of Sherlock’s older brother. This harrowing adventure changed his life, and set the stage for the man Mycroft would become: founder of the famous Diogenes Club and the hidden power behind the British government.
As a center for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1975 to 1989, American basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, originally Lew Alcindor, led the all-time scores in history of national basketball association in 1984.
This former professional player current serves as assistant coach. Typically referred to as Lew Alcindor in his younger days, he changed his name when he converted to Islam.
So this is all about the young Mycroft Holmes, written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse. I don’t know enough to comment on the contribution of each author but if the 7ft 2" 68 year old record scoring basketball player is the main writer then hats off to the guy he’s done a pretty good job.
The story is set in 1870, Mycroft Holmes is 23 and proficiently working his way up the ranks in the Secretary of State’s office, it's an interesting period in British history where they had many protectorates and territories around the world and for the main part the story is based in Trinidad.
Sherlock is still at school and we meet him briefly in the library of all places, a snapshot of the brother’s dysfunctional relationship as Mycroft takes his leave before his voyage across the North Atlantic Ocean.
Mycroft has his own Watson on-board, he's not a doctor though, he's a tobacco salesman, best friend and confidante. Cyrus Douglas is a black man living in London. The book shows and doesn't shy away from the attitudes of the time, Cyrus constantly has to act as Mycroft’s servant but Holmes is open minded, indifferent at times and even a little oblivious to the difficulties their friendship harbours.
The story starts with Cyrus receiving word of the heinous murders of children in his families village on Trinidad, that coupled with Mycroft’s fiancé fleeing to Trinidad where her family own a plantation and Holmes is intrigued enough to engineer travel over there for him and Cyrus at the behest of the British government. The use of the words "douen" and "lougarou" give a supernatural feel to the murders, there’s plenty of personal interest and of course Mycroft has his own agenda to pursue.
A long voyage at sea ensues with poisoning, violence and mysteries aplenty. We arrive in Trinidad and the story fairly rockets along, there's pick pockets and drug dens of old keeping the attention and interest. The historical side is impeccably researched culminating in a scheme to revive slavery heralding from the U.S. and surrounding countries. There’s Gatling guns, a marvellous secret society of Chinese Trinidadian martial artists called the Brotherhood of the Harmonious Fist and to cap it all, a gang of different races and people coming together to embark on an invasion of a secret island using crocodile lungs as flotation devices.
The strongest point of the story is the relationship between Holmes and Douglas, echoing Sherlock and Dr Watson, hell it worked for them just a little so why not Mycroft and his friend. Mycroft is quite bright as you would expect, he's also pretty deadly in hand to hand combat, you can get immersed in comparing him to Sherlock but the international flavour steers you in a slightly different direction. There's very much a classic mystery feel about the story with the odd slice of dry British humour, the protagonist is certainly an interesting character it's difficult to give him a completely unique identity as you can't help but attribute some of Sherlock’s ways and manners to Mycroft. That's part of the mystery of Sherlock and it’s almost like an early feel of what shaped the man himself, it is extremely difficult not to talk about the great detective though but all told we have an enjoyable Victorian romp in far off shores with a couple of fascinating characters.
I was aware that being a successful author was just one of the many things keeping KAJ busy post retirement from the NBA, but this is the last book I expected him to write. Mycroft Holmes has everything that a great Mystery should. A great supporting cast, and a story that keeps you reading until the end. I didn't enjoy this characterization of a young Mycroft as much as I thought I should, perhaps this is because I am so used to the mature version of the character as showcased in the original stories, and many subsequent novels. I also wished that there had been more Sherlock, although I really enjoyed his characterization as an annoying younger brother. I look forward to reading more about Mycroft and Douglas friendship in future books. Overall, a strong first entry into the genre, which will hopefully make for a fun series.
Fans of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes will enjoy this glimpse into the young life of his old brother, Mycroft Holmes. Mycroft has recently graduated from Cambridge and at the age of 23, he is secretary to the Secretary of War.
I found the plot, the settings and the characters to be authentic to the tone of the Holmes' saga. A thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. I would be only too happy to learn KAJ is writing a second book -- and perhaps even more.
I am a major Sherlock Holmes fan. I have read every one of the Arthur Conan Doyle tales and many of the tributes aka “Pastiches” writtenby others since then. Not surprisingly none of them ever rise to the equivalent of the original but there have been some noble attempts. In Mycroft Holmes written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes, that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Anna Waterhouse, the authors do a very wise move. They avoid the imposing Sherlock and concentrate on his smarter and older brother Mycroft. Sherlock does appear but only for a brief chapter. Mycroft only appears in four stories by Doyle. In this reworking, we are introduced to a younger Mycroft when he is still in good physical health and he hasn’t developed his phobia about field work. Sherlock is a university student who Mycroft is indulgent to, maybe slightly condescending, but sees real potential.
Mycroft is a promising young civil servant working for the British Secretary of State. He has his own “Doctor Watson”, a black man from Trinidad by the name of Cyrus Douglas who runs a tobacco shop. This friendship moves much of the friction in the tale as the writers are quite aware of and deftly use the racial friction of the times as a major theme in the story. In fact, one of the strengths in the book is that the authors are quite knowledgeable and skilled in portraying the social and psychological tones of the 19th century. But Douglas and Mycroft‘s girlfriend, Georgiana, have secrets about their Trinidadian homeland that comes into play when a string of children disappear, allegedly taken by an evil spirit called the Douen. The novel moves swiftly from London to Trinidad with much of it happening on the ship’s journey. Not surprisingly, Mycroft is very smart, very perceptive and surprisingly quick on his feet for an employee of the Crown. Yet Cyrus also has a number of skills and resources that become a surprise to Mycroft as he gets to know his friend better. The novel works on making both Mycroft and Douglas likable and it succeeds. My only complaint is that I wonder what happened to Mycroft that made him into the sedentary and somewhat haughty man that Doyle describes. I suspect there may be some sequels here and perhaps I will find out.
I applaud Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse for creating an exciting character, one that Doyle did not really seem all that interested in developing in the long run. Of course it is poetic license but that what makes these pastiches work when they do. Mycroft Holmes does work and if it tends to bog down at parts or show a few minor discrepancy in plot, they are instantly forgivable. Mycroft Holmes is exciting and fun and that is enough for now.
This was pretty terrible. I don't blame Mr. Abdul-Jabbar though because I assume the writing was mostly handled by the not-so-much-a-ghost co-author and that Kareem's name was used to garner sales because everyone loves him and he is a big celebrity. I tend to assume that is usually the case when some celebrity who has never ever written anything, or even talked about writing, suddenly launches a package like this. (Update: See Comments below.)
Normally, I would not go near such a production, but I have a soft spot for Mycroft Holmes and I am always curious to see what writers do with him. (FYI: Neil Gaiman has a Sherlock & Mycroft story in his book Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances called The Case of Death and Honey, which I thoroughly enjoyed.) *
Abdul-Jabbar/Waterhouse's book begins well, or, perhaps I should say that I rather liked the beginning. Let me put it that way. There's not much artistry to the book, but I enjoyed the initial set up. Unfortunately, once the main characters go ship-ahoy! the story begins to sink fast. Each chapter is a bit more convoluted and stupider than the last. What begins as a light and rather fun piece of commercial fiction launches off into deep waters, trying hard to say something serious and important about racism, slavery, violence, and human trafficking that has not already been explored better and more intelligently by . . . well, just about anyone who ever touched these subjects.
I love this line though: ‘You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you ...' but, of course, that Dickens' Scrooge talking to Marley's ghost and our author is only borrowing his wit, just as I am doing now by borrowing from the borrower.
So, I cannot recommend to anyone that they spend their time or money on a book that is really bad in every way beyond the first chapter or two. I've nothing against light commercial fiction, but it should play to its strengths and not take on huge hairy social issues, in my opinion. What started off as the book version of a frothing-cold Tasmanian beer at the end of a hot summer hike turned into something like a lukewarm Budweiser sipped miserably whilst trudging through a mosquito-swarmed swamp. Having said that, there was plenty of cheesiness to go with that beer.
Four stars because it surprised me by being enjoyably readable. Probably only three stars for actual artistic merit. But, if you imagine a younger Mark Gatiss running around Trinidad with current-day Chiwitel Ejiofor, it makes for an awesome head-movie.
If this book was a movie, it would be a bad B movie. The plot, dialogue, and scenes lack imagination and bear all the marks of what is trite. Other than the name Holmes, it has no resemblance to a Holmesian tale.
The story is about Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft, and therein lies another problem. The authors make Mycroft out to be like Sherlock: a man of action, a man that rides into the fray, a man who boxes - he even gives Sherlock a boxing lesson. I don’t like it when someone writes a fanfiction story and changes the character that the original author created; although, if the book is good, this is not so annoying to me. According to Arthur Conan Doyle, Mycroft is nothing like his younger brother from the point of view of physical activity, though he is Sherlock’s equal in intelligence and powers of observation and deduction. But Mycroft is indolent. For goodness sake, he is so averse to activity he founded the Diogenes Club, a club where the exertion of simply talking was not allowed. The sole purpose of the club was to have a place to go and read and be left alone.
What a cool story it could have been to have the real Mycroft, who is so averse to exertion, to be made to pursue a case because his great mind has deduced the necessity and all along the way he is trying to determine how to handle matters with the least amount of effort. That is more what I expected to find, but instead, we have a corny story with lame dialogue ineffectively trying to be a Sherlock Holmes story.
I was more than a little surprised that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had written a Holmsian mystery, not that I've followed the basketball star or had any idea about what his personal interests were. I did wonder if it might be one of those books...you know the ones...where the famous person gets a book deal and the book gets a lot of publicity and sells well, but the content of the actual book is rather lackluster. I'm happy to report this wasn't one of those books.
The novel has two very likeable protagonists, an adventurous story with an interesting mystery and a little dose of humor here and there. I really enjoyed the two main characters, Mycroft and his best friend Cyrus Douglas. The pair travel to Cyrus's childhood home in Trinidad due to his concern for his family and talk that people are disappearing there. The legendary 'douen' and 'lougarou' are said to have come back to the area and it's rumored that several children have been taken.
I'm a super picky reader (as everyone in my book club will attest to) and I have some pet peeves that include poorly written dialogue, characters that behave in ways that are inconsistent with their own character, dialogue that only serves to educate the reader on the setting, period details or mystery of the story and events that are too contrived to be believable. I'm happy to report that this book is free from all of the above.
And while I enjoyed the mystery, there were some points that Mycroft thought were obvious, that I did not, but that seems to happen in most if not every Holmsian mystery I read.
I really enjoyed the close friendship between Mycroft and Cyrus and the "adventurous fast paced conflict with the bad guys" part of the book was very exciting. At one point I gasped out loud as I was reading, my son was nearby and asked "Uh-oh, who died?" I didn't tell, if you want to know you should read the book.
Thank you to the publisher Titan Books and the Amazon Vine program for providing me with an advance reader copy for a nominal fee.
In essence, this is a prequel to what we know of Sherlock Holmes' older brother Mycroft. I started out thinking it was going to be a straightforward historical mystery, possibly with some supernatural elements. Ultimately though it was a much deeper story, with more commentary on social justice of the time and nothing supernatural.
The locales of London and the West Indies, mostly Trinidad, provide a colorful and diverse background. Mycroft and his sidekick Cyrus Douglas are smart and inventive. Although Mycroft often smacks of twenty-something ego, Douglas' older, wiser viewpoint balances his naïveté and impulsiveness.
I found it an enjoyable, if not groundbreaking story. Given the fame of one author and the screenwriting background of the other, I wouldn't be surprised if Mycroft makes it to the big screen. I'll be in line for a ticket.
This is so bad it's actually almost funny. I have no idea who the main protagonist is, but he sure as hell is not Mycroft Holmes.
There are more fight scenes than in most modern Hollywood films. And some of them are hilarious! People survive from absolutely ridiculous situations without much damage. And I mean ridiculous, really. Like Michael Bay thinks this book is maybe a bit over the top with all the action and explosions.
Also, the only female character is absolutely useless and an excellent example on how to write female characters with the personality of a magikarp. The only difference is that there is absolutely no character development.
Oh, and remember. The white man ALWAYS saves the day.
Oh, honey...no. I mean, I guess I don't regret reading it, but this was certainly not to my caliber. I got it on a deal, am obsessed with everything Holmes, and was entirely intrigued by the author, but it read as I suspected. I knew better, really, but curiosity....
In any case. Interesting story I guess (though predictable), unique take, but certainly deeply flawed in its representation of Mycroft Holmes, canonically speaking, and definitely not literary. It had well-crafted sentences and visuals, but basic storytelling, bizarre segues, and dis-jointed plot points.
Is it heretic to say that I prefer Douglas to Watson?
This book looks at Sherlock Holmes' brother Mycroft in his early salad days, if you can see the Holmes' bros as having salad days. Mycroft's best buddy is Douglas, a black American, and Douglas actually plays a greater role in the story than Watson. The story is a good mix of action and mystery. It also ties in very well with history, so the story itself is largely believable. Sherlock, too, makes an appearance. The only false note is the romantic love interest sub-plot. It isn't the romance, but any reader of Sherlock Holmes will know exactly how it is going to end up.
A new dimension has been added to the fans of Sherlock Holmes and it is that of his older brother Mycroft. The setting is after the Civil War in London. Mycroft in his early twenties and his best friend Cyrus Douglas formerly of Trinidad have been informed of horrific crimes against small children taking place in Trinidad. Footprints facing in the opposite direction of the pathways taken and children being called to their doom.
Mycroft and Douglas have a plan and that is to get to the bottom, of these atrocities and bring them to a halt before and other child is harmed. They board the steamer the Sultana which marks the beginning of their journey back to Douglas's native Trinidad. However as they commence their voyage strange happenings are about to begin. It seems that person or persons unknown are about to put every obstacle in their way in an effort to prevent them from finding the truth about these murders.
I was astonished to find the KAJ was such an avid Holmesian as well as an accomplished writer. An excellent excursion back in time to another era and a glimpse into Trinidadian culture. Highly recommended.
Rather impressed with the quality of Mr. Abdul-Jabbar's Holmes fan fiction. :) Compelling story, interesting characters, a plot that moved at a good clip, and lots of historic detail to make it even more enjoyable to read. Rather well done!
A story of a young Mycroft Holmes who is making a name for himself and is engaged to be married to a young woman born and raised in the Caribbean named Georgiana Suton. It looks like he has a bright future ahead. Then, Mycroft's friend Cyrus Douglas gets word that children in his native Trinidad are being killed. The news disturbs Georgiana and she insists on going... without Mycroft. Meanwhile, Mycroft and Cyrus hatch a plot to go anyway. More action and adventure than fans of Mycroft from his few appearances in the Sherlock Holmes canon might expect. Still the story holds together and is entertaining. The tone reminded me of the Robert Downey Jr. Holmes films.
Mycroft Holmes is ready to begin his governmental career after completing his education at Cambridge. Mycroft's comfortable life is turned upside down when his best friend Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent from Trinidad (also the place where Mycroft's finacee, Georgiana, grew up), receives troubling reports from home about the strange disappearances of children. There are reports of mysterious footprints on the beach and the children found drained of blood. It seems as if spirits are luring children to their deaths. After hearing this news, Georgiana, immediately departs for Trinidad, and in a panic Mycroft and Douglas follow. With each step these two men take, they are drawn further and further into a dark, treacherous web of secrets.
If you haven't already noticed, Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite characters, so when I saw this novel featuring a young Mycroft advertised on the news it instantly caught my eye. When I realized it was by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (with Anna Waterhouse), I honestly had no idea what to think. I had never read anything by him before and thought it was highly unlikely that he would write about such characters. I found myself pleasantly surprised, though, because it's so well written, with an intriguing hook, well developed characters, and a great mystery at the center of the story. And, young Sherlock has a cameo. If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse is not to be missed.
Alas, I couldn't get through this--writing just not good enough to be gripping. Abdul-Jabbar's writing partner was billed as someone who "quietly repairs" shortcomings in screen plays and other writing. So there's no way to know whether he just had a idea and she wrote it, or he gave her a first draft and she beefed it up. In any case, the "repair" wasn't good enough or else made things worse. Disappointed b/c the idea is good andI thought the plot had promise, but it just read too much like amateur fan fiction. My prejudice is to say Abdul-Jabbar should just have written it himself, b/c I like him and what he has to say in interviews, but I really have no idea who was responsible for the final product here. Hope he tries again b/c you can't have too much Sherlock.
Mycroft Holmes is 23 years old and looking to make his mark in the British Government. Currently the secretary to the Secretary of State for War, he hopes to rise higher. His intelligence and acumen would bode well for his hopes. He is also engaged and looks forward to earning enough to afford a home for his bride. Holmes would seem to be your average up-and-coming civil servant....but....
He is a white man who has befriended a black man. Cyrus Douglas, half African and half Indian, born in Trinidad, owns the tobacco shop where Holmes gets his cigars. Not that anyone knows that a black man is so affluent--he has placed a nice, correctly colored couple as "shop keepers" and he appears to all but the most trusted customers as the "hired help." Holmes's fiancée Georgiana also hails from Trinidad, though she is the daughter of a plantation owner. These connections to Trinidad will turn Holmes's world upside down.
Word comes to Douglas from Trinidad that children have been dying. The legend of evil spirits that lure children to their death at the hands of vampiric-like creatures has been revived. Georgiana, a very socially conscious young woman, is alarmed at the reports and insists that she must leave at once for home. Holmes is worried and arranges for reports of unrest to reach his boss and makes it only logical that the Secretary send Holmes as a scout to investigate the situation. He and Douglas set sail immediately and as soon as they are onboard they run into trouble. Holmes is nearly poisoned to death, both men are beaten up, and ritualistic warnings are left in their cabin. Someone doesn't want them to visit the islands...but who could have known they were going?
Things get more intense once they land at Port of Spain. Deaths seem to follow them wherever they go and Douglas's old home is burned to the ground. It isn't long before Holmes, whose mind is even sharper than his younger brother's, discerns the horrible truth behind the deaths of the children as well the more recent murders. But will they be able to put a stop to it before the culprits put a stop to them...permanently?
It took me a little while to reconcile myself to a Mycroft Holmes who is athletic and willing to travel. It seemed absurd to me that the man described by Watson as
"tall and portly, heavily built and massive, there was a suggestion of uncouth physical inertia in the figure, but above his unwieldly frame there was perched a head so masterful in its brow, so alert in its steel-grey, deep-set eyes, so firm inits lips, and so subtle in its play of expression, that after the first glance one forgot the gross body..."
could possibly be teaching Sherlock how to box. And when we meet him in the original Holmes stories, he is unwilling to venture beyond his regular schedule and environs--from home to government offices to club and back again, with very occasional and brief outside adventures with Sherlock. I simply couldn't imagine him actually boarding a ship and taking off for Trinidad. I do hope that Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse have a plan to explain when and how Holmes changes from the more adventurous man to the one who only travels in his circumscribed paths. I assume that part of it has to do with his health (he apparently has a groggy heart), but surely there is more to it than that. Or perhaps the unfortunate events of his trip to Trinidad will prove to be the catalyst that will begin his extreme aversion to travel and exertion.
Overall, this is an interesting addition to the Holmesian works. And it is a solid opening to a new series featuring Sherlock's more intelligent, more observant older brother. Good deductions and lots of exciting action make this a page-turner. I would have liked a bit more clues laid down for the reader--but the Holmes brothers do like to keep things up their sleeves. ★★★ and 1/2. (rounded up here)
First posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting portions of review. Thanks.
This was a terrific read!!! It could almost be classified as "historical fiction". This is first in a what will be a series of Mycroft Holmes novels -- the second of which (Mycroft & Sherlock) came out to great reviews just a few weeks ago. To get more background on Abdul-Jabbar's foray into mystery, check out these interviews:
First Sentence: The old man had heard of them, of course.
Young Mycroft Holmes is fresh out of Cambridge University, engaged to the beautiful Georgiana Sutton, who was raised in Trinidad, and working for the Secretary of State for War. Holmes’ good friend Cyrus Douglas, a free black also from Trinidad, receives word that the bodies of children are being found drained of blood. Georgiana suddenly departs for her home. Mycroft and Douglas decide to follow, never expecting the danger into which they are sailing.
The book surprises us from the very beginning. The descriptions are very atmospheric and mysterious. And what, one might ask, are the douen and the lougarou? Fortunately, we do learn the answers quite soon. The author creates very visual descriptions and wonderful metaphors; “Horse and rider moved as if they knew every little knot and turn of Greater London. … All the while they nosed out the cleanest thoroughfares and most deserted byways, as if they and the city were gears in the noblest Swiss watch.” We are also presented with very exciting, action-filled scenes incorporating the sights, sounds, and smells of London. We are presented with a very clear sense of place and time.
This is no placid Mycroft, but neither is he a particularly effective man of action. What we do see, very early on, are his skills of observation. It is fascinating observing the details of his observations to see to how he reaches his conclusions. This is a very different Mycroft than we’ve known before. He is young, inexperienced and has the weaknesses of youth. Yet the intellect is there. Douglas is a very interesting character and one who one feels could only have been written as well by Abdul-Jabbar. The story of his family is a sad and painful reminder of this country’s history. Douglas, at 10 years older, serves to provide the maturity that Mycroft lacks.
The story has plenty of action, but also provides a lesson in history that certainly isn’t part of any ordinary curriculum. While most of us assume slavery ended after the Civil War, in fact it did not. We also learn the difference between indentured servants and slaves. The plot includes an excellent twist which is very well done and part of a very interesting secondary theme; “He is Prichard’s theory of moral insanity come to life,” he mused. “A human being devoid of the common thread of human decency.”
“Mycroft Holmes” is a fascinating read on so many levels; history, action, and character—with a very satisfactory ending. It will be interesting to see whether this becomes a series.
MYCROFT HOLMES (Hist Mys-Mycroft Holmes/Cyrus Douglas-London-1870/Victorian) – VG Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem and Anna Waterhouse – 1st Holmes book Titan Books, Sept 2015
Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's older brother, is just out of University, working in the office of the Secretary of State for War in London. He has ties to Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancée Georgiana Sutton was raised.
Mycroft's ordered world is turned upside down when Douglas receives troubling reports from home. Mycroft, thoroughly besotted with his fiancée, Georgiana, is torn between staying in England with her, or travelling with his best friend to investigate reports of spirits, disappearances, and strange footprints in the sand.
Georgina, with no word to Mycroft, suddenly departs for Trinidad. Mycroft and Douglas follow her, and are drawn into a dangerous mysteries they could never have anticipated.
I thoroughly enjoyed this well written book, and hope the author continues this as a series. While I enjoy watching the old black & white movies (Basil Rathbone as Sherlock), so far the Sherlock series books are made much less enjoyable by Sherlock's unlikeable personality.
I will go back and try more of the original Sherlock. This one, written by the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, made it a must read. It seems he is "a huge Holmesian in every way. An English and History graduate of UCLA, he first read the Doyle stories early in his basketball career, and adapted Holmes's powers of observation to the game in order to gain an advantage over his opponents." (page 327)
This was surprisingly good. When my friend told me that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote a Sherlock Holmes book I was like "the basketball player???", but according to the author profile in the back he has a degree in English and History so I guess it just shows that you should never judge a book [or a person] by its cover. I'm not sure how exactly he split the writing up with the other author, but it's a very well-written book and I thought the plot was engaging.
I never really thought about Mycroft as his own person before instead of just 'Sherlock's older brother', but I think this book does a good job of fleshing him and giving him his own personality. He definitely has some similar traits to Sherlock [with the implication that they are actually things Sherlock learned from him], but he is very much his own person here. Sherlock doesn't appear in this book except for a few scenes, but I like Douglas a lot and I think it was a good idea to set the book at a time when Mycroft was younger than in the original canon and focus on the after-effects of slavery at the time. Overall a really interesting story and I'm glad I gave it a chance.
I really enjoyed the debut of Mycroft Holmes. who knew that Mr. Adbul-Jabar was such a gifted writer. the characters were very believable and fully developed. SPOILER ALERT The only problem I had was it was a bit confusing on the whole concept of indentured/slaves and how and why the conspirators were attempting to start a new labor base with them?>>>>
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
It was fine. Really, the best parts were when Douglas would tell Mycroft not to act like such a know-it-all (stop telling us how obvious the answer is and just tell us the answer, right?). It was kind of fussy.
As a straightforward adventure story this is relatively entertaining, but the links to the Holmes literature and milieu seem somewhat tenuous. At times the plot is confusing, and some of the characters are very weakly drawn.
This was fine. By which I mean I didn't dislike it, but nor did I feel in any way anxious to get back to it each day and find out what happens next.
The good: I've always liked the character of Mycroft. He's not seen that often in the actual ACD stories, but does play a bigger part in series like the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books (beginning with The Beekeeper's Apprentice), and also the Enola Holmes series (beginning with The Case of the Missing Marquess). I love that he co-founded the Diogenes Club in order to have a place to sit in a comfortable chair and read, where no one was permitted to speak. That is heaven.
Even better: I loved his companion, Cyrus Douglas - described as a Trinidadian of African descent. I also loved that the authors worked in this perhaps unlikely friendship (I mean, unlikely in Victorian times) very believably, and that despite the age difference between the two characters, they really do seem to be very good friends. And, Douglas was given a role very different from old Watson -- meaning he wasn't so dumbstruck every time Holmes came up with something brilliant. Sometimes he was even annoyed.
The less good: as far as I'm aware, Mycroft is fat, doesn't like to move much, and only ever travels between his home, his workplace, and the Diogenes Club. That is not the case here and it felt weird to me. Also, like I said, I was never in any rush to pick this book up again. Overall, perfectly fine -- I'll read the 2nd because I have it, but will probably skip #3.
I really enjoyed this book. This book is about Mycroft, Sherlock Holmes brother. The plot, characters and the setting were similar to Sherlock Holmes and this book felt like a spin off from the original Sherlock Holmes. the mystery and adventure keeps you engrossed till the end and the plot and characters were very well written.