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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another very good read
I have read all of Laurie King's books in the Russell/Holmes series and this is, I suppose, a natural progression of the storyline. Some things are good and some are not. It is good to have Russell and Holmes back on Sussex/London territory and it is good to see Mycroft taking part in the story. The leap of a past relationship and offspring is a bit of a stretch...
Published on 14 July 2009 by lizzie

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Planes, missing artists and long lost family
Good, and showing some character development. I have spent so e time in the far north of Scotland, and so really enjoyed both that aspect and the early aviation.
Published 20 months ago by Hank


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another very good read, 14 July 2009
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lizzie (north of north) - See all my reviews
I have read all of Laurie King's books in the Russell/Holmes series and this is, I suppose, a natural progression of the storyline. Some things are good and some are not. It is good to have Russell and Holmes back on Sussex/London territory and it is good to see Mycroft taking part in the story. The leap of a past relationship and offspring is a bit of a stretch. Sadly, though this story is about relationships, to me there was little between Holmes and Russell. For the most part they worked separately. I also missed Mrs. Hudson and Dr. Watson and Russell's own profession as an academic has disappeared. Good, but not the best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a Part One, 28 Jun 2013
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Lynne M Burke (Northwood, Middx United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Can you be addicted to a series? This is the first half of a two book story. Only managed 5 mins before I bought The God of the Hive to find out what happened next!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - but . ., 4 May 2011
This review is from: The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Mystery 09) (Paperback)
Laurie R. King's books are a continuing delight. The original Holmes stories, although interesting were distinctly masculine in tone and I suspect I read them as a teenager mainly because my brothers did. The continuation of the Holmes saga with Mary Russell as his wife and partner in crime seems to lift the whole project to a new and more interesting level. It is perhaps presumptious of me to speak on his behalf but I'm sure that Conan Doyle would have approved, and if he didn't then Mrs. Hudson certainly would have. The 1920's atmosphere of this one makes a perfect background and feels completely authentic.

I would normally only want to review a book that I wished to award five stars to, but have made an exception here because this is the first of this series I have bought on Amazon and I wanted to say something about them. The reason I downgraded this particular book to four stars was the fact that it turns out to be simply part 1 of 2. That wouldn't have bothered me so much if it had been made clear in the advance publicity (Yes I know I should have read the Amazon reviews - hey ho)

If anyone is interested I have put in a product link at the bottom to a 5 star review I have just given to another good read.

Rude Awakening
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5.0 out of 5 stars Language of Bees - Russell, 10 May 2014
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This review is from: The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Mystery 09) (Paperback)
Having read the Bee Keeper's Apprentice I sent for this with happy anticipation and was not disappointed. I became totally hooked on Laurie King and her Mary Russell character. Holmes was just as he should be and the range of the story was astonishing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great value, 26 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Mystery 09) (Paperback)
Delivery prompt. Haven't read it yet as steaming through the rest of the series. Great books! Highly recommend this series
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super, 17 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Mystery 09) (Paperback)
Another great romp through the fantastic lives of Sherlock Holmes and his better half, Mary Russel. Sometimes it's believable, sometimes it's not, but you still get hooked.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great books, 1 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Mystery 09) (Paperback)
I really love this author for the Mary Russell series, this one does not disappoint. Another cracking read as they say
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3.0 out of 5 stars Planes, missing artists and long lost family, 28 April 2013
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Good, and showing some character development. I have spent so e time in the far north of Scotland, and so really enjoyed both that aspect and the early aviation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, 26 Oct 2012
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I love these books with Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. Laurie R King sets the background with so much detail and all through the book is the rather strange relationship between the two main characters who despite their disparity in age shows that they have a bond which goes beyond the mere physical or cerebral and that they are truly compatible. As with her other novels King shows immensely detailed research into theology and the strange and bizarre cults that seem to get started by individuals who, being filled with their own cnceit, aim to exploit and manipulate vulnerable people for their own sake. It is wonderful how many little details strike one, eg in the fact that it took six days to travel from Shanghai and the various means of transport used to attain this. I love a book which gives lots of historical information as well as a measure of romance, this was a great read and I can't wait to read some of the others.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Holmes Adventure: Decent But Not Wholly Satisfying, 9 Jan 2012
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wolf (East Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Mystery 09) (Paperback)
Holmes and Russell return home to Sussex to discover that Laurie King has made a major addition to general Holmes canon - a son. Some might be put off by this, but that element works well. Holmes has always been a mysterious character in his personal life, concealing what emotion he feels, even in the original Conan Doyle stories.

From here the hunt for a daughter-in-law and potential grandchild lead them into the path of mysterious cult. Bodies turn up at prehistoric sites and the sacrifices that the cult alludes to might be more than merely spiritual. The Aleister Crowley style shenanigans fit well with both the Holmes stories more gothic elements and with the spirit of the mid-1920s when odd religious movements flourished (much like current 'new age' beliefs). But the book is actually somewhat lacking in atmosphere. The religious movement never develops into the ominous force it might.

Instead, the threat is contained to just one individual within the cult. The motivation for what he does remains unclear. We are told that the thoughts behind the religious movement are muddled at times and that details are fudged in terms of a greater truth - but that appears to be a good excuse to allow King to do whatever she wishes. Quotes from the religious text at the start of each chapter add some flavour but never really give any sense of what the cults and its leader's aims are. An interest in Norse myth is bad, we are told by an expert, because that means 'Ragnarok, of course' - suggesting a desire to usher in the end of the world - but the Vikings were far from the only people to believe in a final apocalypse (Christianity has its own fine and scary vision of the end of the world); why should anyone leap to that assumption? The Norse elements do not appear otherwise to be significant. It feels just a little half baked.

The problems are broader: Holmes spends much of the book out of the way investigating other aspects of the case. But Holmes is always the star turn in any book he appears in and Russell's investigation meanders somewhat. When he does appear he is often reduced to either smoking his pipe but achieving little or, alternatively, acting as something of a deus ex machina, wrapping up elements just a little too easily.

There is a lengthy sub-plot at the beginning of the book about a mysteriously failed bee-hive. One might hope that the solution of this would have some bearing on the main mystery but by the end of the book it appeared not have done. Perhaps this will be remedied in the next part, 'The God of the Hive'.

The book is entirely readable - and I will certainly go on to the next part - but it fails to completely satisfy. King's books in general do not seem to have the feeling of being a well crafted machine that some mystery stories do - a style that the original Holmes stories helped to create. That is a shame, particularly here where the story seemed to promise a lot and never totally delivered.
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The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Mystery 09)
The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Mystery 09) by Laurie R. King (Paperback - 5 July 2010)
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