Sherlock Holmes, Stuff of Nightmares Paperback
It's the autumn of 1890, and a spate of bombings has hit London.
Sherlock Holmes believes Professor Moriarty is behind the campaign of terror, but to what end?
At the same time, a bizarrely garbed figure has been spotted on the rooftops of the capital.
Known only by the name Baron Cauchemar, he appears to be a scourge of crime and villainy.
But is he truly the force for good that he seems?
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages
- Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 27/08/2013
- Category: Historical mysteries
- ISBN: 9781781165416
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Review by passion4reading
** I am grateful to Nudge for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a review. **It is 1890, and Dr John Watson is returning from Ramsgate to London Waterloo when a bomb goes off in the station building, causing terrible injuries and loss of life. Yet this is no isolated incident: the Waterloo bomb is already the third in a series of terrorist attacks that has the city in its terrifying grip. Tensions run high, with rioters blaming the Fenians, an Irish revolutionary nationalist organisation. At the same time Holmes sees a connection between the bomb attacks and the mysterious Baron Cauchemar, who has quickly become the scourge of the East End criminals. With the life of Queen Victoria in danger, can Holmes and Watson find the culprit on time before the country descends into anarchy?This novel is a stand-alone adventure for Sherlock Holmes and his faithful companion Dr Watson which cleverly draws on some references in the original series by Arthur Conan Doyle, yet also introduces the reader to some rather unconventional steampunk elements. James Lovegrove manages to capture the tone and style of Watson’s narration perfectly, and the memorable set pieces at the London docks, the London sewers and an abandoned church and the descriptions of a city gripped by fear, as well as of a London divided between the respectable West End and the dangerous, crime-ridden East End, resonate strongly. This is a society which has rather ambivalent feelings towards technology: on the one hand embracing its progress and all the benefits it brings, on the other being afraid and suspicious towards something that is beyond the ordinary citizen’s understanding. Into this setting explodes the figure of the masked vigilante Baron Cauchemar, who seems to appear straight out of a novel by Jules Verne, is seemingly invulnerable and more machine than a mortal human being, and who strikes fear into anyone who has the misfortune to come across him – apart from Sherlock Holmes, that is. And yet while there are plenty of mysteries and intellectual challenges for Sherlock Holmes, along with a real battle of wits against the villain of the piece, I felt that in the showdown he was reduced to a mere side figure, having to rely on his physical strength rather than his singular intellect and reasoning to keep the terrorist at bay. The SF elements in my opinion work up to a point, with the ending I’m afraid to say too over the top for me to be truly credible. In the end I decided that this adventure was a little too unorthodox for me, with the latter part relying too much on fast-paced action than a good old-fashioned intellectual sparring match, which I think Sherlock Holmes is all about. But if you like your pastiches slightly more unconventional, you will find plenty to engage with here.