The Holmes Factor

Brian Freemantle, Author . Severn $28.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7278-6207-5

The mundane title gives no hint of the rich panorama of events chronicled in British author Freemantle's second thriller (after 2004's The Holmes Inheritance ) starring Sebastian Holmes, Sherlock's audacious son. In 1913, amid suspicions of German meddling in Russia's growing unrest, Sebastian travels to St. Petersburg in the guise of a journalist to check the British legation's rosy reports that all is well under the czar. Sebastian soon learns that all is not well, as he's imprisoned by the secret police, attacked by a crowd of urchins and bombed as he enters the offices of Pravda to meet Josef Stalin. Meanwhile, Britain's inept ambassador, Sir Nigel Pearlman, hoping for a cushy job in London, overlooks all sorts of treason and intrigue among his own staff. Somewhat implausibly, the young sleuth manages to connect with every important Russian of the pre-WWI era, from Grand Duke Orlov, head of the powerful imperial police, to Alexander Kerensky, speaker of the fledgling parliament, all while having a torrid affair with a princess. Still, Freemantle provides literate and thoughtful escapist fare. Agent, Ann Evans at Jonathan Clowes (U.K.). (June)

Reviewed on: 05/09/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 474 pages - 978-0-7278-7513-6
Paperback - 313 pages - 978-0-7278-9137-2
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