So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Game. Laurie R. King

The Game is the best so far in this series that pits a young Mary Russell with a retired Sherlock Holmes. It is 1924 when the pair are asked by Holmes' brother Mycroft to go to India in search of Rudyard Kipling's fictional character Kim (Kimball O'Hara). It is one of the blessings of a fictional series that is supposedly based on recently discovered manuscripts that other fictional characters of the time can be treated as historic figures. Thus Kim jumps off the pages of Kipling's novel and into this story of intrigue in Ghandian India.

The hunt for Kim finds our heroes disguised as Moslem magicians wandering the roads north of Delhi seeking clues to his whereabouts. Eventually they end up in a Moghul kingdom in what is now Pakistan matching their wits against a strange and sinister monarch with a touch of megalomania. There are wild animal hunts, sumptuous parties, and an eclectic group of hangers-on.

King has really done her homework on this one. Her descriptions of the trip to India, the scenery, culture and people of India, and the political tensions of the time are so realistic and detailed that it feels like the author was truly there. Also the plot is well-developed and paced, keeping the excitement to the end. One just has to go into this series with the knowledge that these are Mary Russell novels, and Holmes is definitely not the major character. Anyone expecting Russell to play a later-day Watson may come away disappointed.


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