Mundie Moms

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review- Death Cloud (Sherlock Holmes, The Legend Begins) by Andrew Lane

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released on February 1st, 2011
Source- ARC from MacMillan publishing to review
4 stars- It's A Great Read

It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent (quoted from Goodreads).

Death Cloud is great introduction to readers who haven't yet read Sherlock Holmes and to those who are fans of the series. Andrew Lane has done a suburb job at bringing to life the start of Sherlock Holmes's career as a teenage boy.

This is my first Andrew Lane book, as well as my first time reading a complete Sherlock Holmes book and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I really enjoyed this book. I liked seeing Sherlock Holmes as a teen and how he put his intelligence to use in uncovering an evil plot to bring down the British army. Really, it was fascinating watching how Holmes grew from an curious teen age boy into someone who took it upon himself to solve two murders. Holmes isn't without some loyal sidekicks as he has, Matty, a teenager living on the streets, and Holmes's American tutor Amyus Crowe and his daughter Virginia, both of whom are wonderfully written. My favorite character is Virginia, as she not your typical 1800's female character. She's a fabulously strong female character who has learned how to be bold and stand up for herself from her father, something that takes Sherlock by surprise. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what, if anything develops between these two characters as the series progresses.

I love the setting. It was great "seeing" England from Sherlock's point of view, as well as having an Americans in the story and their reasons for being in England. Andrew Lane also brings in some history both with England's most recent war, and the mention of America's civil war. I can't say more about that without giving away some spoilers. This is a great historical fiction for YA readers, as they get to see society, the class structure and really what the way of life was like back then.

Death Cloud is the first book in what I think will be a great series. There's plenty of mystery, action and the characters have a fantastic dynamic that make the story engaging. I liked the ending there is both closure from Sherlock's first mission and a few unanswered questions that I'm hoping are answered in the next book. I look forward to reading more of this series and eagerly await to find out what adventures will be ahead for young Sherlock Holmes, Matty, Virginia and Amyus Crowe.


Go here to read an excerpt and go here to find out more about the series.


  1. This is beyond awesome! A young Sherlock Holmes, this is one I will definitely read!!!

  2. Great Review! I'm definitely more interested in reading Holmes' teenage years. Besides is in London which I love!

  3. This is cool. I haven't read Sherlock Holmes yet, but I agree that it'll serve as a good introduction to the actual novel. Thanks for the review! :)

  4. Heather- I know! Teenage Holmes is fantastic! I'm really looking forward to reading more of this series.

    Frosy- Thank you so much! I loved the setting. It's fabulous.

    Sarah- Thank you! I definitely recommend picking it up. I think it's fabulous that Andrew has written a series that teens can jump right into and enjoy.

  5. Loving the first 70 pages!! I'm a huge Sherlock fan, so this is awesome!!

  6. Hi,

    Glad that people seem so keen on the book. I've just delivered the third one to the UK publishers, so you should be seeing it within a year or so. The second one is set partially in the USA, by the way. Regards, Andy Lane

  7. Hi Andrew! Congratulations on the third book! We are really looking forward to reading the rest of the series. Thank you for visiting our site!

  8. I really like this book. It did not really give off a lot of, how do I put this, 'Sherlock' vibes, but it was entertaining. Sherlock was great, Matty was funny, and Crowe was insightful. It made for a fabulous read!

    The only really big problem I had was Virginia. I have a thing about female protagonist. Virgina had what I call Maid Marian syndrome. If you ever saw the BBC Robin Hood, you would understand. It is a female character who is really only there to be pretty and appeal to a female crowd. I found her character over Cliched and Glorified at every chance. Women like to see strong females, but they end up all being the same.

    It's hard to write women, it really is. But I read the book for Sherlock, not for a 'Copper Haired' (Everytime she is mentioned...) American.

    I did really like Matty though. Everytime he was in a scene I could see Him. I knew that kind of kid, that type of boy. He is a side character that attracts your attention without stealing the show. He was very well written.