Book Review: The Stuff of Nightmares

Author: James Lovegrove
Read between: February – March 2016
Number of pages: 291
Format: Paperback
Published: August 2013
Publisher: Titan Books

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This is the 3rd offering in the Titan Sherlock Holmes collection. The stylish covers have really drawn me to this collection and I know new titles will be continued to be added. This is the first one I have read of three Sherlock Holmes novels Lovegrove has currently penned (the other two being Gods of War and The Thinking Engine, these are currently sitting patiently on my bookcase waiting to be read).

“An action-packed, fun adventure filled with traditional Holmsian details but with the added spice of a strong sci-fi steampunk element.” – Popcorn Reads

Synopsis: Set in 1890, Stuff of Nightmares starts with a powerful opening of Watson arriving at Waterloo station as a terrorist bomb explodes causing a shocking amount of death and devastation. This is the third bombing to have gone off and the country is beginning to panic. Having witnessed the horror first hand Watson immediately sets off to find his old friend Holmes knowing he would be in the thick of the investigation. Meanwhile, a strange figure has been spied haunting the rooftops and grimy back alleys of the capital. Holmes believes the masked attacker holds the key to the attacks. This is not just an ordinary person. He possesses weaponry and armour of unprecedented sophistications and is now only by the name, Baron Cauchemar; and he appears to be a scourge of crime and villainy. Is he what he appears to be? Holmes and Watson are set to embark on one of their strangest and most exhilarating adventures yet.

Review: What to say about this book apart for it being brilliant! What first struck me about this book is Lovegrove’s excellent use of language, just the opening bomb scene at Waterloo station alone was wonderfully described, not only in it’s use of words but the tone of the book was spot on from Watson’s point of view. I also felt it was very relevant to today. The ‘problem’ goes back to the heart of the British Empire and threaten the heart of the Monarchy itself. The story treads at a steady pace following Holmes’s investigation meeting a fair amount of both familiar Holmes characters such as Mycroft, Mrs Hudson, Lestrade as well as a host of new faces which are brought to life with equal skill, my favourite being the infamous Baron Cauchemar who turns up in truly splendid fashion at every appearance. The balance is also very well done with a mixture of serious moments but also added humour.

When we meet Cauchemar his enigmatic character is exciting and reminiscent echoing portraits of Iron man or Batman. Is he a friend or foe? A a read you fear him but then you admire him. With its martial arts, fast, unrelenting action, suspense and heroics this has all the ingredients you could hope for in a Sherlock Holmes adventure. Fortunately, it is also clear that Lovegrove is a fan of Holmes’ creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as there are plenty of references and allusions to the original canon.

The ending is over the top taking if far in the opposite direction to a Doyle classic but you can forgive it because it is highly entertaining. Even though it is more of a fantasy ending, Lovegrove, shows great respect to Holmes and Watson and has created a great novel. I would recommend and recommend again! To get your hands on this great novel click here.

P.S Welcome my new Sherlock Holmes lego mini figure… I am sure he will be making more guest appearances in this blog.

© Chris Bird Photography 2016


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