Synopses & Reviews
In this latest adventure featuring the intrepid Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, New York Times bestselling author Laurie R. King takes readers into the frenetic world of silent films — where the pirates are real and the shooting isn’t all done with cameras.
In England’s young silent-film industry, the megalomaniacal Randolph Fflytte is king. Nevertheless, at the request of Scotland Yard, Mary Russell is dispatched to investigate rumors of criminal activities that swirl around Fflytte’s popular movie studio. So Russell is traveling undercover to Portugal, along with the film crew that is gearing up to shoot a cinematic extravaganza, Pirate King. Based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, the project will either set the standard for moviemaking for a generation... or sink a boatload of careers.
Nothing seems amiss until the enormous company starts rehearsals in Lisbon, where the thirteen blond-haired, blue-eyed actresses whom Mary is bemusedly chaperoning meet the swarm of real buccaneers Fflytte has recruited to provide authenticity. But when the crew embarks for Morocco and the actual filming, Russell feels a building storm of trouble: a derelict boat, a film crew with secrets, ominous currents between the pirates, decks awash with budding romance — and now the pirates are ignoring Fflytte and answering only to their dangerous outlaw leader. Plus, there’s a spy on board. Where can Sherlock Holmes be? As movie make-believe becomes true terror, Russell and Holmes themselves may experience a final fadeout.
Pirate King is a Laurie King treasure chest — thrilling, intelligent, romantic, a swiftly unreeling masterpiece of suspense.
"In a foreword, King, to her credit, acknowledges the implausibility of her 11th Mary Russell novel (after The God of the Hive) by having her heroine declare, 'I fear that the credulity of many readers will be stretched to the breaking point by the case's intricate and, shall we say, colourful complexity of events.' If anything, this is an understatement. In the fall of 1924, Sherlock Holmes, Mary's husband, uses the threat of an impending visit from his brother, Mycroft, with whom she's at odds, to persuade Mary to travel to Lisbon, where she's ostensibly to serve as a production assistant for 'a film about a film about The Pirates of Penzance.' In fact, she's on covert assignment for the British government to investigate the studio behind the new film, whose releases appear to coincide with an upsurge in criminal activity. Sherlockians must wait more than half the book for Holmes to put in a cameo in this action-heavy, deduction-light installment. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Brilliant and beautifully complex....Her descriptions of locales are voluptuous, and her continued delineation of the relationship of Russell and Holmes exquisitely portrays the eroticism of intellectual give-and-take." Booklist, (starred review)
"The Mary Russell series is the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today." Lee Child
"The great marvel of King's series is that she' managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes's character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart." The Washington Post Book World
About the Author
Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, and the acclaimed novels A Darker Place, Folly, Keeping Watch, and Touchstone. She lives in Northern California, where she is currently at work on her next novel.