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Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King
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Garment of Shadows (2012)

by Laurie R. King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mary Russell (12)

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7295719,288 (3.74)1 / 67
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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes navigate international intrigue in Morocco. It's especially tricky for Mary, who awakes in a strange room with a severe head injury and a case of amnesia. I love this series, and I enjoyed the setting, but I notice that poor Sherlock Holmes is getting less smart as the series continues. Mary figures out all the tricky stuff this time around. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
After the moderately awful Pirate King and the just plain awful novels that proceeded it (Language of Bees/God of the Hive), I was about ready to give up on this series. Which broke my heart, because the first 3-4 books were amazing – refreshingly original, tensely plotted, and psychologically dense. Am so relieved that Garment of Shadows seems to signal a return (or at least a partial return) to King’s original form.

This outing returns Holmes and Russell to the Middle East, the scene of several of the couple’s earlier adventures, and also reunites them with Mahmoud and Ali, two of my favorite characters from these earlier works. This time the four of them find themselves entangled in a struggle for Morocco’s future, being waged between Rif tribesmen (interested in retaking their traditional lands), Berber tribesmen (led by a brigand-pirate distantly related to the previous sultan), France (maintaining fairly liberal control of their southern protectorates – for now), Morocco’s titular sultan (a French puppet), Spain (rapidly losing control of their northern protectorates), Germany (lusting after iron deposits in the Spanish-controlled regions), and Great Britain (interested in any solution that keeps France from gaining control of the Straits of Gibralter). Russell’s initial amnesia allows King to gradually unfold the complicated plot so that it doesn’t overwhelm the action; also, there’s a twist at the end that provides a few pages of unexpected and welcome tension. In addition to heroic tribal warriors, dastardly brigands, and principled British officers, King also gives us an endearing young waif named Idir, clearly intended to infuse some much-needed levity and heart. As ever, however, Ali and Mahmoud steal the scenes that they appear in. Perhaps my favorite attribute of the novel is the developing relationship between Mahmoud and Russell, a relationship which was founded upon mentor/mentee loyalty, but which, in this outing, continues to deepens into something more profound.

I admit I miss the days when Holmes and Russell were in the mystery business rather than the international politics business, but at least this outing avoids the sorts of gaping plot holes and embarrassingly sloppy writing that blighted the most recent books in the series. Even more reassuringly, Garment of Shadows manages to showcase the fierce independence of Russell and Holmes without ignoring (or actively sabotaging) the precarious emotional interdependence that both binds and separately polishes them, one of the very best qualities of King’s earliest outings. Though I remain a little trepidatious, based on the strength of this installment I may just give the next couple of books in this series a try. ( )
  Dorritt | Sep 7, 2018 |
At the end of, The Pirate King we see, Russell and Holmes get separated. Russell is last seen in the company of a child then suddenly she disappears. When this book opens, we discover Mary Russell in an amnesiac state unaware of who she is. What's startling is that she's dressed as a Middle Eastern woman living a very solitary life in the shadows of Morocco.

While trying to piece together clues that will hopefully lead him to his missing wife, Sherlock Holmes is also enlisted by his distant cousin to try and stop a sudden conflagration. The revolt involves France, Spain and the Rif Republic, which is being led by a Middle Eastern version of Robin Hood named Emir Abd el-Krim. With the war looming over the Moroccan city of Fez it will bring Holmes close to where Russell is currently living.

Meanwhile, Mary's battling with her own inner demons while she is trying to figure not only who she is, but why she's awakened garbed like a Moroccan with blood on her hands and a group angry guards pounding on her door.

The characters of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are given a nice chance to grown and realize what their life would be like without the other person in it. This book's mystery has a very nice historical background, and some enjoyable characters being introduced to us, and some old lovable friends making their own appearances. ( )
  FaytheShattuck | May 23, 2018 |
At the end of, The Pirate King we see, Russell and Holmes get separated. Russell is last seen in the company of a child then suddenly she disappears. When this book opens, we discover Mary Russell in an amnesiac state unaware of who she is. What's startling is that she's dressed as a Middle Eastern woman living a very solitary life in the shadows of Morocco.

While trying to piece together clues that will hopefully lead him to his missing wife, Sherlock Holmes is also enlisted by his distant cousin to try and stop a sudden conflagration. The revolt involves France, Spain and the Rif Republic, which is being led by a Middle Eastern version of Robin Hood named Emir Abd el-Krim. With the war looming over the Moroccan city of Fez it will bring Holmes close to where Russell is currently living.

Meanwhile, Mary's battling with her own inner demons while she is trying to figure not only who she is, but why she's awakened garbed like a Moroccan with blood on her hands and a group angry guards pounding on her door.

The characters of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are given a nice chance to grown and realize what their life would be like without the other person in it. This book's mystery has a very nice historical background, and some enjoyable characters being introduced to us, and some old lovable friends making their own appearances. ( )
  FaytheShattuck | May 23, 2018 |
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 soldiers 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 | Dec 14, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurie R. Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
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
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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)

The shadows of war are drawing over the ancient city of Fez, and Holmes badly wants the wisdom and courage of his wife, whom he's learned, to his horror, has gone missing. As Holmes searches for her, and Russell, suffering a temporary memory loss, searches for her"self," each tries to crack deadly parallel puzzles before it's too late for them, for Africa, and for the peace of Europe.… (more)

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