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Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Death Cloud (edition 2011)

by Andrew Lane, Dan Weyman (Narrator)

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344None31,779 (3.67)9
Title:Death Cloud
Authors:Andrew Lane
Other authors:Dan Weyman (Narrator)
Info:St Martins Pr (2011), Audio CD
Collections:Your library
Tags:young adult fiction

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Death Cloud (Sherlock Holmes: the Legend Begins) by Andrew Lane




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How did Sherlock Holmes become the great detective? Lane explores this question with a teen Sherlock. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially the supporting characters and the first mystery - involving bees - was intriguing. ( )
  hoosgracie | Feb 19, 2014 |
A continuation of the life and education of the young Sherlock Holmes. He has adventures with his tutor who is an American, his daughter and his friend who lives on a narrow boat. An enjoyable series for those not very familiar with the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes and a good read with lots of clues to the personality of the "original" and older Sherlock. ( )
  SparklePonies | Feb 16, 2014 |
Yes, yes, I ought to like it because I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan. I used to drift up to the second level of my high school library, and read Holmes stories while sneaking forbidden snacks out of my backpack. But it's hard to take this book seriously. Not because of the silliness of the schemes of the master villain, because there are some pretty outré plots in the Conan Doyle canon. Not because of the preteen romance intrusion, because I realize I am old and jaded and therefore must be forgiving of innocent blushing kisses. I simply found the young hero an improbable youthful version of Holmes--so callow, so obtuse. I also saw plot holes you could steer a barge through. How did Matty get the bicycles? Why does Mycroft spend hours in a carriage with Sherlock, but only think to warn him about the evil housekeeper in a letter? Who carefully padlocks a barn you're going to burn down, and what teenager can push a cart with such force that it goes through a wall? How did Sherlock magically learn to ride a horse by listening to a 15-second description? Why doesn't anybody steal Matty's horse? What is the reason no one ever summons any legal authorities? Would Sherlock's uncle not have summoned police assistance even after an attempt on his nephew's life? Bah. I will admit that some of this effect could be the effect of listening to, rather than reading, the text. I didn't care for the narrator's version of a young girl's voice. ( )
  Turrean | Feb 15, 2014 |
In this first book in a series about Sherlock Holmes as a teenager, he is sent to stay with relatives during a school vacation. Two mysterious deaths occurred, and with the help of a street-wise friend, his tutor and his tutor's daughter, Sherlock solves the mystery, facing great personal peril. ( )
  pmlyayakkers | Dec 30, 2013 |
It’s the ultimate storm of literary fun. With the recent reinvigorated love of Sherlock Holmes and the huge resurgence of teen and YA fiction it’s a logical step to see a “Young Sherlock Holmes” series on the market. Death Cloud introduces us to Sherlock Holmes as the teenage student of a boarding school. It’s time for summer break but due to the war and other elements, Sherlock is being sent to live with his aunt and uncle rather than returning home or moving to London with his older brother Mycroft. Sherlock is a bit dismayed at the prospect of living in a provincial town with unknown relatives but at Mycroft’s advice he decides to make the best of the situation.

As we learn about Sherlock we find that his powers of deduction are just as present as ever but they are not yet fully developed or focused. While at school, he had used his deductive skills as a sort of parlor trick or way to influence others. He’d worked out some insignificant mysteries for other students but hadn’t really yet thought of himself as a detective of any sort.

Shortly after his arrival in Farnham to live with his relatives, a few things happen. Sherlock makes friends with a rover orphan named Matty. Sherlock sees a strange cloud that seems to move with a mind of its own out of a window and over the rooftops. He then finds that the window from which the strange cloud appeared is the window of a room in which a man was mysteriously found dead. Sherlock’s curiosity takes over and he sets off to try and find the answers.

As the story progresses it becomes very clear that Sherlock does not yet have the wealth and breadth of knowledge that are characteristic of his adult self. He is ignorant about many things that we would think as common knowledge to the Holmes we all know. For example he knows very little about geography, botany or biology. He has some interests in chemistry but is in no way adept. Essentially this book starts us off with a near “clean slate” version of Sherlock Holmes. He is very capable of connecting the dots and seeing things that others do not see, but he does not yet have the overarching knowledge yet to determine the things that are important or the dots that are to be connected.

So how does a curious but observant Sherlock gain the required knowledge and skills to solve the case? Sherlock’s aunt and uncle along with Mycroft decide that it would be wise for Sherlock to have a tutor. Mycroft hires a man named Amyus Crowe. Amyus is from America and has a “particular set of skills” which serve him well as a man of wisdom in navigating the world. Amyus presents Sherlock with a number of real-world observation tests to try and get Sherlock “thinking outside the box” and searching for answers beyond the obvious. He also acts as a sounding board to help supplement the lacking scientific knowledge of our young Sherlock. At first Amyus discourages Sherlock’s involvement in the mystery but then takes him under his wing and they work together, along with Matty and Amyus’ daughter, to unravel the strange happenings around Farnham.

The writing is simple and yet vibrant. The characters are interesting, distinct and fun. The adventure is intriguing and engaging. Overall this is a fun adventure mystery. Due to his youth and inexperience, this truly could have been presented as a standard adventure-mystery with no connection at all to Sherlock Holmes. By setting it as a Holmes prequel of sorts, the author puts forth some pretty big expectations to be filled.

Generally speaking I felt like this story did a good job of living up to those expectations. Holmes purists may find elements to quibble with but I really enjoyed the story and felt like it captured the essence and tone of a Holmes adventure. I also feel like this particular novel will be a more accessible entry point to younger/newer readers as they look to read Holmes stories. While it is definitely not an official Sherlock Holmes story it will be more approachable to younger readers who may be bored or put off by the 19th century style of Conan Doyle’s originals. My hope would be that new readers would gobble up this novel then be hungry for the original Holmes stories.

3 out of 5 stars ( )
  theokester | Dec 23, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrew Laneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weyman, DanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In 1868, with his army officer father suddenly posted to India, and his mother mysteriously "unwell," fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire, where he uncovers his first murder and a diabolical villain.… (more)

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