The Game – Laurie R. King

Again, a brilliant idea, beautifully executed. To repeat myself yet again, I am generally disapproving when a writer plucks up another writer’s characters and makes use of them. But that’s largely because it’s usually done so horribly badly, and is so rarely done with any respect for the original author, the characters, or the reader. Laurie R. King can do whatever she wants, take whatever characters or historical figures she likes, and bring them into her books in whatever manner she likes, because she has earned my trust. She does her homework, she knows what she’s doing, and she has complete respect for the original material or real person, as the case may be. If anyone from Tom Sawyer to Bilbo Baggins to Harrison Ford appears in a Holmes/Russell novel, I will have faith that she has her reasons and can pull it off. (Maybe Indiana Jones, when Russell is in her 40’s …that would be awesome.)

The idea behind The Game was to me at first as wild as bringing Bilbo Baggins into the storyline, but only because I don’t know the Kipling novel. (Note to self …) In any event, it’s wonderful. Kimball O’Hara here is a legend among those in the know (which Holmes, of course, is, and Mycroft moreseo), and it is to find out what has become of him that Holmes and Russell make their way to India. There they face danger and adventure of quantity and quality to please even Doyle – tigers, and madmen, and those who are not what they seem, spies and daredevil pilots and a rajah who collects the unusual, be it an artifact or a human being (and Holmes is unusual). A new story arc begins with The Game, wherein a new enemy is introduced – perhaps – and Homes and Russell become aware of a new threat trailing them. Meanwhile, the story takes them in and out of various deep disguises and personas, and separates and reunites them, and causes Mary to make a change which will cause untold anguish in Holmes … It’s a great yarn, and, more than that, an excellent book.

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