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Mycroft Holmes

by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Anna Waterhouse

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mycroft Holmes - Abdul-Jabbar (1)

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5693634,340 (3.48)36
A new novel written by NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar! Fresh out of Cambridge University, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name for himself in government, working for the Secretary of State for War. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to the faraway island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancée Georgiana Sutton was raised. Mycroft's comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports from home. There are rumors of mysterious disappearances, strange footprints in the sand, and spirits enticing children to their deaths, their bodies found drained of blood. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for Trinidad. Near panic, Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take... Written by NBA superstar Kareem Abdul- Jabbar and screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, Mycroft Holmes reveals the untold story of Sherlock's older brother. This harrowing adventure changed his life, and set the stage for the man Mycroft would become: founder of the famous Diogenes Club and the hidden power behind the British government.… (more)
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» See also 36 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Having read plenty of bad Sherlock Holmes pastiches, this was a pleasant surprise. The writing is unusually good, the author has introduced some new elements without creating anachronisms, and the mystery is twisty enough to believably engage someone of Mycroft Holmes's purported mental abilities.

In Trinidad, a series of children are dying, the apparent victims of "douen" – the spirits of dead children who lure children away to be killed and drained of blood by werewolf-like “rougarous.” There's also Mycroft's fiancé, who may be an innocent dupe or a femme fatale; a pickpocket who's apparently been hired to steal the ashes of a dead husband; a bunch of fishy foreign government agencies up to no good; a secret society of ninjas; the Colonial Marines – a group of former African slaves who fought in the War of 1812 before creating their own free community in Trinidad; and a bunch of folks who really want Holmes (a minor government employee at this point in his career) and his Trinidadian companion Cyrus Douglas out of the way, to judge by the number of times they get chased, beaten up, and shot at; and a host of colorful Trinidadians, including a professional poisoner and an unusually personable mule.

Sherlock does put in an appearance, but his role is strictly supporting. It’s Mycroft who’s doing all the detecting here, except that his “Watson” – Douglas – is a lot smarter, a lot tougher, and a lot less gullible than Sherlock’s eventual muse. Some other departures from the canon: Mycroft is depicted as a rather adept street-fighter, he’s surprisingly humble and apparently (so far) unaware of the exceptionality of his cognitive powers, and – between the blond fiance, the African best friend, and a collection of college acquaintances - definitely NOT a Diogenese Club-level misanthrope, at least not at this point in his young life. The author also provides some intriguing insights into the Holmes family, hinting at an emotionally cold mother and a drug-addicted, possibly mad mother – but leaves the matter there, perhaps to provide fodder for future novels.

The book's major fault is that the plot is twisty to the point of preposterous. The motive is clever and believable, but the complexity of the scheme reminded me of the villains in James Bond movies, crafting ridiculously elaborate schemes to achieve relatively uncomplicated ends. By the end of the book I couldn’t tell you why the children needed to die, what most of the attacks on Holmes & Watson were meant to achieve, or why the whole prolonged, preposterous island assault was necessary – but I can tell you that I appreciated the accurate period detail, the layers of detailed plotting, the complexity of the relationship between Douglas and Holmes, and the mostly successful attempt to provide an intriguing and unique backstory for this essential but essentially unexplored Doyle character. ( )
  Dorritt | May 3, 2022 |
An entertaining addition to the Holmes genre -- unusual not only in that it focuses on Mycroft, but also the Caribbean setting for a goodly portion of the book. Also ninjas. Ninjas are excellent. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
4.5 stars. Highly recommended. Great story that moves briskly. Also includes some interesting history. Hope this is the first of a series. ( )
  tsmom1219 | Feb 24, 2022 |
The title of this book was the first thing to catch my eye; the second was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's name on the cover as one of the authors. How can I possibly pass this up?

As an avowed fangirl of Sherlock Holmes, I've learned to stay away from almost all pastiches and mysteries featuring my fictional hero, but his brother... Mycroft makes few enough appearances in the canon that I thought perhaps it might work for me.

I thought wrong. I've realised reading this book that in my mind Mycroft is a distillation of Sherlock; a purer essence of all the things that make Sherlock so formidable. Put another way, Sherlock is Mycroft with an added touch of humanity (just a touch). The canonical Mycroft is only ever found in his home, and in his club. His club, the Diogenes Club, of which he is a founding member, is described thusly in The Greek Interpreter:

There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. [...] It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubbable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger's Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offences, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion.

So a Mycroft that hares off on a rip-roaring adventure on the high seas with his best friend, in pursuit of the love of his life and fiancee, is rather an anti-canonical Mycroft. Sure, he has the stunning faculties the Holmes family is renowned for, but he's also a romantic and, even if this book takes place when he's quite young, entirely too social and emotional a creature to truly call himself Holmes.

BUT... boy is this a good story. In spite of all my grumpiness above, I could not put this book down. I don't know exactly how accurate it is from a historical perspective, but it certainly felt very, very accurate. The authors didn't shy away from some of the less savoury aspects of the Victorian age, but thankfully didn't beat the reader over the head with it either. The atmospheric picture of Trinidad, from balmy weather to superstitious panic felt almost like a character itself.

I don't want to touch too much upon the plot, because the dawning reveal of the plot is, I think, somewhat central to the success of the book. Suffice it to say that it's a fitting subject for the Victorian time it takes place in, but probably not one that would immediately come to mind when thinking about Victorian fiction.

There are some rather extraordinary action scenes, especially at the end; extraordinary in the sense that they are wholly unrealistic and require the reader to suspend disbelief, but I suppose from a statistical point of view, it is almost impossible for an adventure mystery written by a man to begin and end without fisticuffs, gunfights and explosions.

If you know nothing about Mycroft Holmes, or can divorce yourself from the canonical Mycroft, definitely check this out if you're in the mood for a fun action adventure. I truly enjoyed it for that alone, in spite of myself. ( )
  murderbydeath | Jan 25, 2022 |
I enjoy all things Holmes, and I was glad to see some focus on Mycroft. What I found troubling was to me the need to upstage Sherlock by coming up with a plot that was exotic, extreme and maybe a little out of character. Though the focus on slavery in late 19th century was certainly an important one. ( )
  WiebkeK | Nov 26, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
The central conceit is audacious; Mycroft’s sense of moral outrage is nicely reflective of the era; the historical detail is solid; and the period decorum is well-maintained throughout. Only the characters and their cumbersome individual interactions are muffled by all the grade-A trappings.
added by mysterymax | editKirkus Reviews (Jul 15, 2015)
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kareem Abdul-Jabbarprimary authorall editionscalculated
Waterhouse, Annamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Lynch, DamianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For my grandmother, Venus, who spun the best stories and made me proud.  -- KAJ
For Eric and Emily Anne, my spirit and my heart. -- AW
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The old man had heard of them, of course.
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A new novel written by NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar! Fresh out of Cambridge University, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name for himself in government, working for the Secretary of State for War. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to the faraway island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancée Georgiana Sutton was raised. Mycroft's comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports from home. There are rumors of mysterious disappearances, strange footprints in the sand, and spirits enticing children to their deaths, their bodies found drained of blood. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for Trinidad. Near panic, Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take... Written by NBA superstar Kareem Abdul- Jabbar and screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, Mycroft Holmes reveals the untold story of Sherlock's older brother. This harrowing adventure changed his life, and set the stage for the man Mycroft would become: founder of the famous Diogenes Club and the hidden power behind the British government.

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Begins 1870
(from the back of the book) Mycroft Holmes, a Cambridge graduate rising in the government ranks, is his brother Sherlock's superior in every way. His well-ordered existence is upended when his closest friend, Cyrus Douglas, reveals a life-and-death situation in Douglas's native Trinidad. The two men set out on a harrowing journey to the Caribbean that will forever change them both, setting the stage for the man Mycroft will become.
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