Sherlock Holmes is at a crossroads. At 17 is seems his life may be over before it has begun. He has lost or is losing all the people that tied him to his past, the only chances of love he ever dared imagine for himself, and his future is the darkest mystery he has ever faced. There is only one thing that can, pull him for the darkness of despair, a case! And it is the case of his young career, the evil mastermind Malefactor has finally tipped his hand. Now Holmes and Malefactor begin a deadly battle of wits. If Holmes survives this he may yet seize his destiny as the world’s greatest detective.
This is in many ways a perfect ending to Peacock’s excellent series. It finally brings Holmes to the position to become THE Sherlock Holmes we know from the original mysteries. It even very cleverly accounts for differences in the original stories and this series in a dramatically satisfying manner. One of the things that works best about this series is the mix of the very real London of the time (complete with real historical figures) and the classic mystery style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The dark and dreary streets of London are one of the greatest characters in the series. The greatest triumph is crafting a believable young Holmes and giving his story enough weight that it feels like an important addition to the Holmes legend. Which is why the surprise ending of this book may be a betrayal to fans of Sherlock Holmes. Peacock has Holmes do something many fans would never accept. I would say that Doyle’s Sherlock would not have done what Peacock’s Sherlock does, but I think Peacock has built his Holmes in a way that it is believable and works with the original Holmes’ stories too. Some readers may feel this is cheapening Holmes, but I loved the alternate view of Holmes that Peacock crafted and feel like it is one of the finest Sherlock series besides the original books. I highly recommend you start this series from the very first book and read until this final chapter.
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