5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read.
I was hooked on the characters as soon as I read the first book in the series. A whole new slant on Sherlock Holmes. Very well written and the descriptions of the locations and historical events superb.
Published 9 months ago by David Cox
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
I adore the Russell/Holmes books by Laurie King and have been eagerly awaiting the latest offering "Pirate King". 2 thirds of this book is descriptive narrative and the rambling, weak plot doesn't wake up until Holmes appears on page 225 (the book is 378 pages long). It feels as though it was written by another hand as the style is very different. There is none of the...
Published on 22 Sep 2011 by Charrison
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing,
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This pirate can't dance,
Mary Russell has gone on a lot of adventures as Sherlock Holmes' wife, but this is something even she has never experienced. Chief Inspector Lestrade asks her to go undercover with a British film company whose eccentric owner wants to do a strange version of the "Pirates of Penzance." It seems that somebody in the film production company is suspected of nefarious deeds on the sets of various movies the company has made. Mary is supposed to figure out who's behind everything from gun-running to drug smuggling, depending on the movie. Even Mary can't predict what will end up happening as the entourage moves from Portugal to Morocco, and she'll have to use all of her wits to keep the company safe.
Pirate King is obviously supposed to be a comedy; the situations that King puts her characters into are patently absurd, and many of the characters are over the top. Unfortunately, the purpose of comedy is to make the reader laugh, and there really isn't much that's funny here. The jokes and strange situations left me cold, mainly because the characters were either so broad as to be almost non-existent or they were hardly characters at all. King relies on many of the company players, as well as Mary's reactions to them, for many of the jokes, yet it's almost impossible to keep them straight: there are thirteen girls, thirteen constables, and thirteen pirates. King throws them all into the pot, in addition to the staff of the movie company itself, and it all mixes together into something unrecognizable.
The first two-thirds of the book sets up all of these situations, shows us the characters, and demonstrates Mary's problem-solving skills (unfortunately not in actually solving the mystery, but instead in dealing with the problems inherent in the film). These are supposed to be the main comedic bits, but since they didn't charm me as intended, essentially nothing happens in the book until almost the last 100 pages. This makes for a dreary read early on.
Pirate King isn't all bad, though. I love the conceit of the movie idea of a movie within a movie. The idea is that a group of actors who are going to star in The Pirates of Penzance happen upon some real pirates. Something could probably have been made from that premise, if it wasn't in this series.
I also enjoyed the intriguing figure of Passoa, a Portuguese gentleman who has been hired as a translator for when the crew is working in Portugal. He is also supposed to help them hire some authentic-looking pirates, which may prove to be their undoing. A poet at heart, he has a number of different literary personae. He's always fun to watch when he's interacting with Mary.
Once things start happening, the novel picks up, though only to move from a glacial pace to a slow and steady one. The climax of the novel isn't so much exciting as satisfying. King throws in a couple of twists that keep things hopping a bit (although even in this section of the book, there is little suspense).
Ultimately, Pirate King fails to achieve what it is trying to do. I'm not saying that a comedy in this series can't work, but this book is evidence that a farce probably won't. I understand the need to change the pace of a series a little bit by adding a little comedic spice to the drama of previous books. A good comedy is always enough to revitalize a series.
Unfortunately, this isn't it.
Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book © Dave Roy, 2011
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh Dear what a disappointment,
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible,
This review is from: Pirate King (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes) (Kindle Edition)I have so enjoyed this series until this book. I am onto chapter 5 and I'm giving up on it. It has completely failed to engage, entertain or grab me. Its so muddley and to be honest not very interesting. I just don't care about it. It really does read like someone else wrote it. I wish I hadn't bothered getting this one. I got it because I like to make my own mind up about a book but I wish I hadn't, it really is as bad as other reviewers have said.
3.0 out of 5 stars This was ok,
This review is from: Pirate King (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes) (Kindle Edition)It starts a bit slowly but picks up abo t halfway through but not as gripping as some of the earlier volumes.
4.0 out of 5 stars A funny Mary Russell.,
This review is from: Pirate King (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes) (Kindle Edition)A solid outing in the series, enjoyed King trying her hand at farce. The setting, as always, adds to the fun, and like the original it is a comedy of the sexes.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read.,
This review is from: Pirate King (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes) (Kindle Edition)I was hooked on the characters as soon as I read the first book in the series. A whole new slant on Sherlock Holmes. Very well written and the descriptions of the locations and historical events superb.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great adventure story,
This review is from: Pirate King (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes) (Kindle Edition)Have read most of the others in this series this one starts well slows in the middle but ends well.mary Russell is a great heroine.
3.0 out of 5 stars A not very successful effort at a comedy adventure,
Mary, with her Oxford degree and her multiple Language skills, is a godsend to the producer, whose current assistant has gone missing, as he is planning on filming at locations in the Mediterranean. Eventually she and the `cast and crew' head off to Portugal to begin their travels. There they find an ideal pirate ship and acquire a crew of pseudo-pirates to man it. From there it is `off to Morocco' to begin filming their epic.
Of course, nothing ever goes smoothly, so Mary is faced with problems ranging from Languages and seasickness to oversexed cast and crew. She keeps her knowledge of Arabic to herself and so hears more than people intend. The pirates they hired begin to seem more and more real as the ideal pirate ship looks less and less ideal. The complexities grow even faster than the budget and more and more secrets pop out of the woodwork.
As a comedy, the effort falls a bit flat. Many of the situations are amusing, but they do not sing of silliness or resound with offstage laughter. It all seems a bit strained and no one seems happy, ever. Everyone seems to be taking things very seriously and yet no one seems really interested in the people around them. It just reads like a tiresome task that Mary must perform. Nothing is fun, not even the ending, with Mary asked to star in a new picture based on Byron's "Corsair" titled "Pirate Queen."
As an adventure, this book is interesting. It has lots of thrills and realistic menaces. Much of the Nineteenth Century lurks in out-of-the-way corners of the world, even after The War to end all Wars. The slave trade, both white and otherwise, remains active and Piracy is still profitable if performed discretely. However, the pirates can learn as well as anyone else and the opportunities in this modern world can be dazzling if a bit of imagination is applied. Unfortunately, the author has not really applied herself to creating her trademark intriguing characters. She has produced a variety of personages, but most are not quite filled out or believable. This book is just not up to her usual standard.
Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, November, 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars different but funny and enjoyable,
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Pirate King (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes) by Laurie R. King