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Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King

Garment of Shadows (2012)

by Laurie R. King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mary Russell (12)

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5814817,011 (3.71)1 / 59
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Garment of Shadows – Laurie R. King
4 stars

……….Mild spoilers………..

Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, are back. So are two characters from previous books; Mahmud and Ali, those English noblemen turned Arab spies. The partnership is in Morocco following the events the previous book, The Pirate King. They are contacted by the Hazr brothers to assist in negotiations between native rebels and the French colonial government. Not that the events of the story are as simple as that. The beginning of the story is complicated by a Russell’s temporary amnesia. The ending is complicated and convoluted with divided loyalties.

This is the twelfth book of King’s dependable Mary Russell series. This book did not disappoint. The exotic setting provides a wonderful atmosphere. The relationships between the returning characters continue to have the warmth and tension that gives the entire series such good chemistry. The Rif Revolt of 1926 is an obscure bit of history that I’d never heard of before. King not only made it interesting, but she managed to place these little known events into the larger history of the middle-east in the 20th century. I enjoyed her author’s notes at the end of the story.

My book was an arc. The publication date is set for September.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |

I'm kind of glad this one will take us away from this region of the world, finally. Much as I was intrigued by 1920s Morocco (in much the same way as I was intrigued by Jerusalem and Portugal), I would like to return to Dear Old England. (Not that I'm getting that, in that the next book is set in Japan, but at least the one after that is set in Britain.)

In addition, lots of 1920s colonial politics is just... boring. It should be very interesting reading about a past that has so many ramifications in how the politics of today play themselves out. But King is not able to make that connection as there is no opportunity to make any overt conclusion about the current political climate. (Ms. Russell is not a time traveler, after all.) I'm not greatly bothered by the fact that I am left to my own conclusions, but I would prefer not to read page upon page about the minute interactions between Northern Africa, France, Spain, and ultimately at the core, Britain.

Of course, the actual thrilling bits are quite thrilling, the bad guy is as expected, and there are more layers to the reveal than just him. We end up getting the full flavor of why the title of the book is what it is. Nothing surprising there. Ultimately, satisfying to a far greater degree than her previous book about fake and real pirates. So, onwards to the next one! ( )
  khage | May 28, 2016 |
Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King features Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. As the book begins, in Fez. in the Middle East, Russell has temporary amnesia. Her quest to regain her memory takes up at least a quarter of the book but is interesting as it acquaints us with the area and the characters who play a part in this mystery. As always, Russell and Holmes make an indomitable pair as they tirelessly pursue the truth. I enjoy the fact that they have aches and pains and boost each other up as they age together gracefully, always with a fighting spirit. ( )
  mmignano11 | Mar 12, 2016 |
I love the idea of this series and really liked the first book, so when I saw this one as a cheap audiobook I snapped it up. But frankly, parts of it were really tedious. There is a LOT of background/history of Morocco and international politics of the period, replete with unfamiliar names and geographic regions. I'm a visual learner, so listening to these history lessons was pretty futile; it took me a long time to keep the rebellion leaders straight. (As a side note, I don't think the machinations of a particular political figure should figure prominently in your plot if that figure is never going to make an appearance and interact with any of your characters. As a side-side note, I can't tell you who I'm talking about because I have no idea how to spell his name. Another downside to audiobooks.)

Additionally, the book starts with Mary Russell in a fit of amnesia. I'm tired of amnesia as a plot device, and if she asked herself one more pointless question ("Who am I? What is this gold ring? Am I married? What country am I in? Why is there blood under my fingernails?") I would have been tempted to add to her head injuries myself. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
I really enjoyed reading this book, especially since I found the previous book; Pirate King, to be a bit of a letdown. I usually love these books, but Pirate King just didn't work for me. But, this book did, the story was interesting and captivating. Mary Russell wakes up in a room in Morocco with no memory of who she is. There are soldiers pounding on the door and blood on her hands. She is clothed like a man and she discovers while running from the soldieries that she is quite skilled when it comes to picking locks and pockets. Now she just needs to find out who she is. Sherlock Holmes meanwhile is trying to stop a war but also trying to find out what has happened to his wife that has gone missing.

This series is great, I recommend it to anybody that likes historical mysteries. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Feb 9, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurie R. Kingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
mackenzie, robert ianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
sterlin, jennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Let us learn their ways, just as they are learning ours - Hubert Lyautey
This book is dedicted to those who reach across boundaries with a hand of welcome.
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The big man had the brains of a tortoise, but even he was beginning to look alarmed.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553807994, Hardcover)

Q&A: Louise Penny interviewing Author Laurie R. King

Louisse Penny

Louise Penny Biography: Louise Penny is the New York Times bestselling author of eight Chief Inspector Gamache novels, which have won the New Blood Dagger, Macavity, Nero, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Agatha, Dilys, and Anthony Awards. She lives with her husband in Québec, where she is at work on her next novel.

Q: Garment of Shadows is the twelfth book in the Mary Russell series (along with the e-short story, Beekeeping for Beginners). How has Mary evolved for you from your first novels? Has she surprised you in any ways?

A: The Beekeeper's Apprentice was intended as a coming-of-age novel, in which a brilliant young mind grows into its own under the guidance of an equally brilliant, if unlikely, tutor: one Sherlock Holmes. That book set the stage for a life (and a relationship) that has circled the globe both physically and metaphorically, and over the decade of their adventures, she has definitely evolved.

As for surprising me, I'm the kind of writer who researches closely, plots vaguely, and then dives in and follows the characters as they meet the challenges of the time and place. I positively depend on my characters surprising me.

Q: A big part of your mysteries is the globetrotting element. What has led you to set your mysteries in so many places?

A: It isn’t just that it gives me an excuse to travel. Honestly.

Sherlock Holmes is English: specifically, a Londoner. Sherlock Holmes is also solitary, accompanied only by Dr. Watson. When I started writing Holmes, I envisioned him as a supporting actor, but soon found myself exploring his character, forcing him outside his stereotypes and making demands on him that Conan Doyle never did: a Victorian in a post-WWI world; a solitary man in a serious relationship; an Englishman in foreign lands.

And I was fascinated to find how he both developed and remained true to himself. Sherlock Holmes as a travelling magician in rural India, or a Bedouin in Palestine, is both the same man and intriguingly different.

Their travel also puts Russell on a more level plane with him, since even if he’s familiar with the country, she has the advantage of youth’s natural flexibility to adapt.

Q: How do you approach the historical relevancy of the time period and place? How much of the Arab Spring has influenced Garment of Shadows?

A: Historical fiction is both a window and a mirror. My readers are people who love to learn about other times and places (and yes, I am a compulsive researcher!). Yet without the reflection of our own concerns and experiences, a historical novel has as much appeal as a stack of 3”x5” cards.

As a writer, my primary task is to entertain. But we writers are sly, and we have deeper goals. We aim to leave the reader thinking, just a little, about these different yet oddly familiar people.

While I was writing Garment of Shadows, which draws in part on the 1920s Moroccan independence movement, the crowds gathered in Tahrir Square: no doubt that awareness wove its way into the story, just as the story now will weave its way into the minds of its readers. A novel is an entertainment, but it is also a mirror giving a new perspective on the world.

Q: If you could grant Russell and Holmes one modern convenience in solving their mysteries, what would it be?

A: Holmes would leap at the Internet, gloating over all the world's information at his fingertips. Russell, on the other hand, would love cell phones—she's forever wondering what on earth Holmes is up to.

Would it be cheating to give them both smart phones?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:36 -0400)

Waking up in Morocco with no memory of her identity, Mary Russell is enmeshed in the political and military uprisings of Europe, while Sherlock Holmes taps the assistance of T. E. Lawrence to restore Mary's memory and prevent a full-scale war that threatens countless lives.… (more)

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