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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great instalment, 4 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Snake Bite (Young Sherlock Holmes) (Hardcover)
Five books in and Andrew Lane's Young Sherlock Holmes books just seem to get better and better. I raced through the latest, Snake Bite, in a single sitting, and yet again I was left wanting more and more, and this may even be my favourite of the series so far.

Snake Bite is very different from the previous books in the series in that it hardly features any of the characters that have appeared in previous books. In fact, the only two that do make an appearance are Sherlock's brother Mycroft and his tutor Amyus Crowe, and this only in the book's prologue as they agonise over the disappearance of Sherlock. It would appear that he has been kidnapped, most likely by The Paradol Chamber, but for what reason we are left to speculate along with Mycroft and Crowe.

The first chapter proper opens with Sherlock at sea, on board the Gloria Scott, just off the southernmost tip of Africa. He still has little idea as to how he came to be on board the ship - he can remember falling asleep in his uncle's library, and the next thing he knew he was at sea, initially being treated as a stowaway. However, through hard work he has become accepted by the crew as almost one of them, and so begins his greatest adventure so far. An adventure that sees him travelling all the way to China, facing pirates along the way, and making new friends and, of course, new enemies along the way.

In previous books Andrew Lane has already done a considerable amount of fleshing out of his young Holmes, gradually giving him the skills, character traits and morals that Sherlockians the world over know and love. We have seen Sherlock learn to play the violin, we have seen the birth of his deductive powers and his desire to question, and we have seen Sherlock's very obvious sense of what is right and what is wrong. In this book Andrew Lane continues to give us the glimpses into how the adult Sherlock was 'made', as we see the young version learning Chinese, and also his first introduction to the martial arts of the Far East (and very useful these skills prove to be as well). We also see how Sherlock developed the ability to converse naturally with people who in those days would have seemed a long way below his station - a skill he puts to great use in Conan Doyle's stories.

Without wanting to spoil things for readers I will also mention that the ending of this book is not so cut-and-dried as in the previous stories. There were elements of it I was not so happy with (a certain letter rings a little false in my mind, but I am no historian and it may be very typical of society at that time, and it does explain a significant aspect of the adult Sherlock's character), but the author's note about the return of The Paradol Chamber in the next book was very welcome news.

I want to leave you with one short excerpt from the book that put a huge smile on my face. As in previous books, Andrew Lane likes to drop in the occasional huge nudge and a wink towards the future Holmes, and this is one I loved. Sherlock is on board the Gloria Scott, and is thinking to himself that Mycroft's policy of staying at home and therefore keeping safe might actually be a wise philosophy as working on board such a ship is a very dangerous occupation. However, he quickly dismisses this as it would mean missing out on all kinds of adventures. At this, he smiles to himself and thinks: "Maybe the thing to do was to make friends with a doctor - that way you could always ave treatment close at hand."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning elementary, 3 Feb. 2013
By 
Elfe Willowson (Southern England) - See all my reviews
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At last... another excellent book by Andrew Lane!
When one reads (or watches of TV or films) Sherlock Holmes, we all accept that he knows a lot of things. But very few of us think "how did he learn this?"
In the first of the Young Sherlock Holmes series by Andrew Lane, Sherlock is sent to an Uncle & Aunt in the country whilst his Mother is recuperating. Amyus Crowe is assigned (by older brother Mycroft) to be Sherlock's tutor. Throughout this & over the next three books, & one "novelette", Amyus (& his daughter Virginia, who Sherlock takes a shine too) teaches Sherlock & his friend Matty how to "think outside the box".
In Snake Bite, Sherlock finds himself travelling to China on a cargo ship. With his usual “I might just as well learn while I work” attitude, Sherlock gains much respect from the Captain & crew. The ship’s cook befriends Cherlock & begins to teach Sherlock to speak chinese & also the art of Tai’Chi.
Once in China, Sherlock finds himself investigating the death of a friend, another friend’s father as well as the Head Cook from another ship, all of whom die in very similar circumstances.
As usual, Andrew Lane gives an exceptional view as to how Sherlock may have learned what he did to become the man we know today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking good read, as ever, 22 Jan. 2013
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Ye Olde Ed (Chelmsford, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Snake Bite (Young Sherlock Holmes) (Hardcover)
At the end of the fourth novel, "Fire Storm", Sherlock woke from a drugged sleep to find himself on board a ship bound for China. "Young Sherlock Holmes: Snake Bite" by Andrew Lane sees him separated from his friends and family, a stranger in a strange land, facing baffling mystery and deadly danger. Mr Lane somehow devises adventures for the youngster that sit comfortably within the precise period setting, that are suspenseful, thrilling and intelligent, and that credibly contribute towards the development of his character. It's no mean feat to write so convincingly of young Holmes in Shanghai, solving the problem of apparently impossible murders by snake venom, foiling a plot to destroy an American warship, learning oriental martial arts the hard way, and confronting one of the vilest criminals imaginable - and we can believe that all this contributes towards his becoming the man Dr Watson will later meet at Bart's Hospital. A cracking good read, as ever.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Snake bite, 15 Jan. 2013
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Very good book
The book had a very good story. And a sad ending for Sherlock
I read the book very easily and there wasn't any really difficult words.
:-)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 10 year old loved this book, 20 Aug. 2013
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My 10 year old has read the series so far and lovedit. Would recommend to advanced readers who love Sherlock Holmes
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5.0 out of 5 stars Snake Bite, 23 Oct. 2013
One minute young Sherlock Holmes is sitting down for a quiet read in his uncle's study in Farnham, the next he's waking up aboard the Gloria Scott and is partway through a voyage to China. Fortunately seafaring is just one of the many walks of life where being a good violinist will stand you in good stead and so Sherlock, despite being a [reluctant] stowaway, is allowed to join the crew. Life aboard ship is difficult even when not under attack from Chinese pirates but Sherlock manages well and is slowly accepted by the crew, becoming particularly close to Wu Chung, the ship's Chinese cook.

Soon though, the long voyage to China and back is the least of Sherlock's worries. During a stopover in Sabang, a suspicious ashen-skinned fellow named Jacobus Arrhenius comes aboard the Gloria Scott. Sailors being a suspicious lot, they're instantly sceptical about the nature of this new passenger and even the rationally-minded Sherlock has to admit that there's something strange about Arrhenius. Even the ship's arrival in China offers no respite from danger as Sherlock stumbles upon the improbable fact that three men have died in different parts of Shanghai after being bitten by the same poisonous snake. Fortunately for all concerned, in Snake Bite young Sherlock Holmes is on the case and he's in top form.

Snake Bite is the fifth of Andrew Lane's Young Sherlock Holmes series and it's another cracking read. Lane is great at coming up with mysteries that would challenge even the greatest detectives and that consequently give even Sherlock Holmes cause for concern. Young Sherlock is now no stranger to dead bodies and, keeping in mind the advice of his mentor Amyus Crowe, he is always on the lookout for anything out of place and it's his observational skills that lead to his suspecting murder when others saw nothing but a tragic accident.

Of course, the mature Sherlock's strictly analytical approach to death and tragedy often caused Doctor Watson to despair of his friend's heartlessness but in Snake Bite Andrew Lane still allows the human side of Holmes to show through. Although quick to spot foul play and begin to search for clues, young Sherlock does at least recognise the devastation that murder brings to families and does do his best to sympathise and commiserate. However, Sherlock is getting older and the character of the boy is developing into that of the man. With this in mind, Lane skilfully uses the action and events of Snake Bite to demonstrate how circumstance can alter character. There are a number of indicators here as to why and how Sherlock Holmes will ultimately decide to live an orderly, solitary life.

However, that's still a ways in the future and in Snake Bite Sherlock is far from friendless. While Amyus Crowe and Mycroft Holmes are rather casual about Sherlock being kidnapped and so being gone for at least a year [the time it would take to sail to China and back], he does have people looking out for him. The crew of the Gloria Scott teach Sherlock a great deal about hard work and independence, while Wu Chung demonstrates the importance of a quiet mind and instructs Sherlock in martial arts. Although Matty Arnett is missed, Sherlock gets two able sidekicks in the shape of Cameron Mackenzie and Wu Fung-Yi. The three of them work together very well as a crime-busting team.

Snake Bite has an intriguing mystery at its heart but, while Sherlock still has to do plenty of cerebral work, it's very much an action adventure. Danger seems to be waiting for Sherlock and his friends at every turn and it soon becomes clear that they are facing truly nefarious villains. The journey aboard the Gloria Scott is action-packed, with the encounter with pirates being particularly exciting, while the pace doesn't slow down after Sherlock reaches China. Snake Bite is another brilliant Young Sherlock Holmes adventure; hopefully there will be more to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab!, 21 May 2013
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This review is from: Snake Bite (Young Sherlock Holmes) (Hardcover)
Would recommend it to anyone of any age over 9. Ideal for children who are competent readers and enjoy a good adventure - years 5 and upwards.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!, 8 Nov. 2012
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Worth the money! I don't normally spend more than a fiver, but this collection is superb and 'Snake Bite' didn't let me down one bit. 'Read It' .
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5.0 out of 5 stars IT WAS AMAZING!, 2 Nov. 2014
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The plot was amazing, you're never waiting for some action because theres always some new problem Sherlock has to deal with. All of the main questions you may be asking gets answered eventually in a way that makes you snap your fingers and say "Well, that was so simple!"

Some of the things Sherlock says ties in with what will happen in the original series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and I love that!

All in all, its a great read that leaves you with a cliffhanger so great, I'd tear the book apart in fury at it ending
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book to read, 28 April 2013
This review is from: Snake Bite (Young Sherlock Holmes) (Hardcover)
After reading the previous young Sherlock Holmes books I had high expectation's and let me say I was not disappointed. The book flows very nicely, the characters are interesting, the setting is majestic, the plot is superb and the attention to historical detail is excellent. Although the first few chapter's don't quite fit together the rest of the book is brilliant. Highly recommend to anyone!
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Snake Bite (Young Sherlock Holmes)
Snake Bite (Young Sherlock Holmes) by Andrew Lane (Hardcover - 27 Sept. 2012)
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