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The Revenge of Moriarty by John Gardner

The Revenge of Moriarty (1975)

by John Gardner

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You almost have a sense that Gardner is some kind of professor of 19th criminal argot who has turned to writing fiction because, well, what else can you do with that sort of knowledge? The book is studded with archaic language and footnotes that weave fact and fiction together, but certainly enough fact to stamp Gardner's authority all over this re-creation of an extended episode in the rivalry between Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. Where else would you find a reference to the giant foot driven drums (the original treadmill) that used to be a form of punishment and mechanical power in prisons, and the name it was given by those who toiled on it, 'the endless staircase'. The story is essentially one of illusions, written largely from Moriarty's perspective. This is an interesting variation on the usual Sherlock Holmes story, and Watson (Holmes' regular chronicler) is completely banished from the story. Gardner it seems will brook no other story-teller in his make-believe world. Gardner himself takes on a disguise, presenting himself as a writer who has come into possession of the original diaries of the greatest criminal mastermind who ever lived, and who has elected to 'tone down' the story and present it to the public. The role gives Gardner some licence (which he fully exercises) to give the telling of the story, as well as the story itself, a dry, sparse sort of feel. But for all of that, it moves along at a cracking pace before reaching the sort of inconclusive conclusion that promises a sequel, which in due course was delivered. Certainly one for the fans, but it makes much more sense, if you are making the acquaintance with Gardner's Moriarty for the first time, to start with the first novel in the series, 'The Return of Moriarty'. ( )
  nandadevi | Jul 28, 2013 |
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Revenge of Moriarty: Sherlock Holmes' Nemesis Lives Again by John Gardner is a re-release by Open Road Media/Pegasus books. I recieved a digital copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley. I believe this book was originally published in 1975. As the title states, Moriarty is alive and well and back in London. Detective Crow and Sherlock Holmes are on the villian's list of people he seeks to destroy. As always the professor is diabolical and cunning. He hatches a complicated plan to take over as the leader of underworld crime in Europe as well as getting rid of his enemies. Each member of his gang that had branched out on his own while Moriarty was away is taught a valuable lesson as to who is really the one in charge. But, when it comes to besting Crow and Holmes, Moriarty may have met his match.The author writes this book as if it were actual events and not a novel. This is a unique approach and I felt like at times I was reading a true crime novel set back in the 1800's.I thought this was a clever way of telling the story. I have to admit though that I struggled to keep up with all the characters. Moriarty has quite an entourage and used other people to help him carry out his schemes. I also found myself a little bored at first. But, if you continue on with the book, the action picks up and through the last half of the book I was a lot more engaged. This was an interesting read if nothing else. I would recommend this book to fans of Sherlock Holmes and mystery lovers that enjoy old school detective stories. Overall I would give this one a C+.Thanks again to the publishers and Netgalley for the oppportunity to read and review this book. ( )
  gpangel | Apr 26, 2013 |
The Revenge of Moriarty: Sherlock Holmes' Nemesis Lives Again by, John E. Gardner, Narrated by, Robin Sachs
Received from Audiobookjukebox & AudioGo
11 hours 56 minutes

I am a Holmes fan but I maybe shouldn’t have read this one so close to finishing Lyndsay Faye’s Dust & Shadow because this one just didn’t measure up. Also I am a huge fan of narrator Robin Sachs I requested this book because I thought it was told by Moriarty (and it is at times but not enough) because as I said after Faye’s book Simon Vance is my audiobook Sherlock Holmes. As much as I love Robin Sachs I don’t feel this was one of his best narrations at times he sounded a bit bored and that made me feel bored, at other times his characterizations were fantastic I would get excited and sit up and pay attention with some of the characters but at other times it lulled me and made me wonder if I was even listening. Towards the end of the book when there were some different characters is when Robin Sachs shined on this audio and I think the feeling of boredom came from the text and maybe Robin was just as bored as I was. This book is no way diminishes my fangirl love for Robin Sachs.

I did not realize this was a second book in the series however this one is a decent stand alone, but there were times he would mention something about what happened in the last book and leave me wondering what all I did miss. So I would recommend starting with the first one. This story was ok it just didn’t really ever grab me but I did feel like it does fit in the Sherlock Canon, because let’s face it not all of Doyle’s Holmes stories are completely riveting either.

This is a hard review to write because I liked this book and didn’t like it at the same time and I am trying to put my finger on what it was I didn’t like and maybe it is the fact that it is the middle book in a trilogy and I hadn’t read the first one so this was anti-climatic for me and maybe if I go back and listen to the first and third maybe I would get a fuller story. I was hoping this story was told fully from Moriarty’s point of view and thought I’d learn more about Moriarty there were a few things *no spoilers* that made me want to finish this entire series hoping those questions would be answered. However I am just not sure I like Gardner’s writing style there were times this book dragged and then would pick up only to drag again, I guess that was my main problem the story was not consistent it was very up and down and not in a good way.

I’d say if you are a Holmes fan no matter what you will like this book but I would highly recommend starting with book one and that these books need to be better identified as a trilogy (assuming it’s just three) but I see that not audible or goodreads lists these as a series which I will have to see if I can remedy at least on GR maybe will send a message to audible because I think these need to be read in the correct order.

3 Stars ( )
  susiesharp | Mar 7, 2013 |
Ian Fleming's successor -- the author of a multitude of James Bond sequels -- tries his hand at a subversive novel from Moriarty's point of view -- the antihero.
  mmckay | Oct 31, 2005 |
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The Napoleon of crime, Professor James Moriarty, returns with a daring plan of retribution so perniciously perfect that even Sherlock Holmes will feel the whip-sharp bite of his revenge.

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