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Shadowfall - Book Review

Do you like pastiches that bring Sherlock Holmes into contact with the supernatural? Do you like the idea of Holmes actually being a wizard?

If the answer to these two questions is yes then Shadowfall is a book that may interest you.

In this book the Holmes of the original stories is replaced with a Merlin-like figure who is half-human and half-fairy and has chosen to reside in the world of the Sun (as the normal world is termed).

The book opens with Holmes refusing to help the queen of the fairies to recover her crown before being called out to Highgate cemetary where bodies have started to disappear. As if this wasn't enough to deal with Holmes is also forced to investigate the gradual theft of Britain's relics and other items of national importance. These include the Ravens at the Tower of London and the heart of St George.

The story moves at a fast pace with chapters that are neither too long nor too short and the author is clearly capable of weaving a story and of keeping you interested in how events will turn out.

The only canonical character to come across as Conan Doyle intended is the long-suffering Watson who is, understandably, almost permanently dazed by the sudden upset of his entire world. This leads to, in my opinion, a rather large percentage of the book being taken up with Holmes's explanations of everything Watson doesn't understand. This does have an occasional tendency to get in the way of the main plot. The other character issue I have is with Holmes who displays next to nothing of the deductive abilities we associate with him. However perhaps they would have seemed out of place in a supernatural Holmes.

If you haven't already guessed, I now admit to having a difficulty with reviewing this book. I am on record as not liking anything that removes Holmes from his normal environment. For me, Holmes pastiches must stay true to the spirit (no pun intended) of the original stories. It is quite safe for me to say that this book almost strays as far away as it is possible to get. Consequently it is not a book I would choose for myself.

That said, as a reviewer I need to try and see things from as many angles as possible and would refer you again to my opening questions. If you like a supernatural Holmes story then I would very much suggest that you give Shadowfall a go.

My final remark is that I would dearly like to see Tracy Revels try her hand at a more conventional pastiche. If she were to do so I have a feeling it would turn out rather well.

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