Against the Brotherhood

Quinn Fawcett, Author
Quinn Fawcett, Author Forge $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-86362-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-8125-4523-4
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7653-3612-5
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The star is Holmes, and the narrator is his sidekick. But the Holmes is Mycroft, Sherlock's older, smarter brother; and the narrator of this promising series opener is Paterson Erskine Guthrie, not Dr. Watson. It's 1887, and peace in Europe hangs on a secret treaty negotiated and signed--but yet to be delivered safely back to England. Mycroft, who has a mysterious but very considerable influence over British affairs of state, throws young Guthrie, his secretary, into the fray when he dispatches the smart but naive young man to infiltrate the nefarious Brotherhood, a shadowy group that dreams of toppling the governments of Europe. Double agents, assassins, torture, mysticism and a Brotherhood splinter group called the Golden Lodge complicate Guthrie's mission. Finally, it is Mycroft who goes to the rescue. Proving as adept as Sherlock in the art of disguise and displaying a strength and agility his younger brother would envy, Mycroft journeys to Europe to guide Guthrie and the treaty through the deadly clutches of the enemy. There are some nice touches displayed here, and Quinn's fluent prose captures a wealth of detail without slowing down the proceedings. The Brotherhood's ruthlessness is both shocking and convincing; the period details of travel, lodging and communication are richly conveyed. Quinn's Mycroft is so different from the one depicted by Doyle that Sherlockian devotees will have to make some adjustments in order to keep up--but that doesn't make this effort any less absorbing. (Oct.)
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