The God of the Hive
Laurie R. King
Bantam, April 2010
If you think that Moriarty is the only truly evil villain that Holmes dealt with, think again. There is a shadowy man pulling strings all over England and in portions of Europe, strings strong enough to get Mycroft Holmes hauled off to gaol. Strong enough to have Holmes and Russell looking for bolt holes on both sides of the Channel.
It would be easier if they weren’t both encumbered by family. Russell is charged with protecting Estelle Adler, Holmes’s granddaughter. Estelle is three and a half; this should give readers some idea of the challenges Russell faces in trying to stay one step or more ahead of the law. Russell is amazed at how much work a child is, and also at how rewarding some moments can be.
Holmes is trying to escape from England with his son, Damien Adler. Damien has been wounded, and so the challenges for Holmes are not the same as for Russell. Still, they force him to confront the realities of his age, both physical and mental. Not a pleasant series of realizations, as one might imagine.
They are running from the law. Warrants are out for Russell and Holmes; Mycroft is already in gaol, although nobody is quite sure why. The shadowy figure behind all this is truly a worthy adversary. He is patient, cunning, devious, and determined. One might almost think that Moriarty had fathered him.
This is a compelling novel, full of suspense and wonderful writing. King has always taken liberties with the Sherlockian canon, that’s no surprise to her readers. The new family members? That just continues what she started so many books ago. Reading HIVE as one’s first Russell/Holmes novel might take some mental adjusting on the part of the reader; long-time readers of the series will know right where they are and be delighted to be there.
Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, April 2010.