Author: Guy Adams
Read between: January 2016
Number of pages: 281
Published: 24th August 2012
Publisher: Titan Books
This is the 2nd Book by Guy Adams in the collection I got off eBay and I was hoping for a more enjoyable story as I felt a bit deflated after the last one.
“Smartly written in the familiar Holmes style, the book has a crisp wit, high adventure, knowing nods to literary fans, and a well plotted mystery.” – THE DAILY ROTATION.
Synopsis: Dead bodies are found on the streets of London with wounds that can only be explained as the work of ferocious creatures not native to the city. Holmes is visited by Mycroft who is only too ware that the bodies are the calling card of Dr Moreau, a vivisectionist who was working for the British Government, following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, before his experiments attracted negative attention and he was halted. Mycroft believes Moreau’s experiments continue and he charges his brother with tracking the rogue scientist down before matters escalate further.
Review: After having a disappointing read with the pervious book, ‘Breath of God’; I was hoping for an improvement and I am glad to report I was not let down at all. This story takes inspiration from late Nineteenth century H. G Wells ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ book. From the get go we are told that someone is continuing with the experiments into the beginning of the 20th Century. When citizens of London start turning up on the street mauled by unknown creatures, Mycroft’s requests Sherlock to help solve the mystery with the help of scientists. Mycroft knows the story of Edward Pendrick and Dr. Moreau (once in his employ) and fears that Moreau is either not as dead as was formerly believed, or that someone has resurrected his work as a vivisectionist, hoping to create a race of super beasts for their own nefarious purposes. Sherlock finds himself intrigued, and before you know it, the game is afoot!
The Army of Dr. Moreau is a rollicking good ride, as Holmes and Watson take to the cities sewers, tracing the path of a local gang leader whose description sounds suspiciously canine. The novel does falter somewhat in the latter third, as Adams strays from the traditional Holmesian mystery to a straight up action novel, yet there is enough of Holmes’ and Watson essential nature to carry it to the finish. What starts out as a charming change of viewpoint (Holmes takes the reins as narrator when Watson becomes unavailable) becomes somewhat frenetic late in the novel, as every chapter is told from a different point of view. It does feel a bit rushed, and I wonder if his story could have benefitted from another fifty or so pages. The description of these ‘beasts’ makes them believable in a weird way. However, it doesn’t distract significantly from what is a thoroughly fun, although pulpy, pastiche.
So, if you were always disappointed that Conan Doyle and Wells never got together over tea to collaborate, this is for you. Click here for your copy.