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Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 320

Ages: Young Adult

Publishers Summary: It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.

Sherlock Holmes is young and as sure of himself as ever. At only age fourteen and during the summer in which he should be with his mother and father, he’s instead shipped off to live with his estranged aunt and uncle. Until only recently his family had had no contact with them and upon arrival his welcome doesn’t bring any comfort to his uneasiness, with the sudden death of two members of the town. Through his curiosity, a new partner in detection and a recently acquired tutor Sherlock goes to work doing what he’s known best for, uncovering the truth. Are these deaths more complicated than a simple illness or is there something sinister at work and could it have more far reaching affects than even Sherlock could have imagined? Thus begins the journey of a young Sherlock Holmes.

Extremely good fun. That is basically what this story boils down to. From page one to the very end, there was constant mystery, action and curiosity. Making this the perfect read for teen boys. It’s probably a crime to state I’m not a huge follower of the original Sherlock Holmes series, but it is the truth. That being said, after reading this book as well as some of the background on the author, Andrew Lane, I couldn’t help but be curious about some of those original stories. I’m definitely going to be seeking them out in the future!

Now, besides being filled to the brim with adventure and detective work I also thoroughly enjoyed many of the characters, especially Amyus Crowe’s daughter, Virginia, as well as Sherlock’s new sidekick, Matty. Not only was Virginia a strong leading lady, but Sherlock’s interaction with her was for the most part extremely respectful, which I have to say was incredibly refreshing. What can I say? I’m a bit old fashioned and love to hear about a male character in a book who isn’t after only “one thing.” Also, Matty was perfect! I loved how consistent his character was in staying out of certain areas and being cautious elsewhere, it was a great counterbalance to Sherlock’s impulsiveness much like Watson of the older years.

Not only was this an enjoyable read filled with action and great characters, but there was a bit of education thrown in an well. Not that any of it would have been so over the top that you feel you are in the middle of a history or science lesson, but it was just right. All of the little tidbits about the substances Sherlock found to the things Amyus Crowe taught Sherlock were things I not only found interesting, but educational as well. A nice little addition to a fantastic story.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this young version of Sherlock Holmes, enough so that I’m extremely curious about the original editions. Andrew Lane has obviously done his homework by creating not only a setting that is believable, but characters that seem to fit perfectly within the world of Sherlock Holmes; so much so that this is one of the few books with the approval of the descendants of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the original Holmes stories. This is definitely a story I would recommend to teenage boys who love a fantastic action filled book with a mysterious death to solve, they’ll be racing to the end to discover who’s behind it. Absolutely fun and extremely intelligent writing, Death Cloud is a fantastic beginning to a great new series of Young Sherlock books!

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 12 and up. Perfect reading for boys and those prone to love an action packed Young Adult mystery!

If you like the looks of this book make sure to keep your eyes open for Rebel Fire which is due out November 22nd 2011! I know I’ll be looking forward to it!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, for sending a copy for review & giveaway! Find them on Twitter as well as Facebook.
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10 Responses to Book Review: Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

  1. Gina says:

    Ah ha! So you DID like it! *happy dance* I did as well and can’t wait to continue his adventures in the coming novel. Definitely a good recommendation for teen boys, but um…yeah, girls will love it too. ^_^ Great review, Danielle! Happy reading!

  2. Andrew Lane says:


    Thanks for the great review. I thought you might like to know that I’ve just delivered the third book (‘Black Ice’) to the UK publisher, and I’m starting work on the fourth book (‘Firestorm’).


    Andrew Lane

  3. Great review. They are just not enough boy books out there.

  4. ‘boy book’? I’m sorry, but that really makes me angry. I read ANYTHING and I’m a girl. Always have. I really hate people who pigeon-hole things. We need more open-mindedness.

    • It’s not so much that it’s a “boy book” just that I believe it’s a book that boys could really get into as opposed to lets say…the Twilight series or some other book that runs the romantic side. I’m sorry if I offended you in any way. It’s just that as a mother of a boy and a girl, I’m constantly on the lookout for books that appeal to both and/or one of them. And like it or not, gender does play a role in picking books when you’re young.

  5. hi it's meeee says:

    Sweet! I’m glad to hear it’s good I’m on the first page lol. I wanted to read it after I saw the short series SHERLOCK and I loved it so I’m glad to hear this book is good. Now I’m excited to read it 😀

  6. Cobramell says:

    Thank you so much for this review, i love ur books Andrew Lane, the book has a verry interesting plot and the details that go with it

  7. 222 says:

    this book was terrible it made no scince

  8. bobby says:

    i loved this book it was great

  9. bobby says:


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