It's easy to see why the author needed a few years to prepare this flashback story after introducing it in book one. There are multiple layers of remarkable research evidenced here. The story does wind on longer than it needs to, but I didn't mind until... well, let's just say that despite the intricate plot, there are two exasperatingly undeveloped threads. One is a twist she suddenly takes but never explains. Surely Conan Doyle would have added a summary at the end to clarify the whys and wherefores of this twist. The other undeveloped thread is a behind-the-scenes character who appears early on. He says some oddly dismissive things, but King doesn't flesh out his character enough that we can understand his reasoning.
My rating is four and a half stars because Laurie King writes so intelligently and perceptively, and because Russell and Holmes continue to be a delight. The two weak spots are very weak -- one in particular. Yet what's done well is done so well that it outweighs the bad for me, so... four and a half stars it is.
One of King's optimum. As usual, vivid, suspenseful, ponderous, and well paced. Terrific job you've done, King. Keep at it.
I love this series. King's settings and characters are reliably compelling, and the setting of this one has been my favorite so far. Also, her vocabulary is admirable. I was glad to be reading on my nook, because I looked up about 15 words through the course
For me, this is the best novel in the series. I LOVED the beginning part where the pair pose as Muslim men (Holmes just happens to be fluent in Arabic -- right.) This part of the book was, I think, the best. I loved the later part that takes place in and under the city of Jerusalem. But the last part drags for me. Still, I've re-read the book at least 3 times and will no doubt read it again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Finished. This is a novel and is only so-so.
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