Let’s get this out of the way first: the book is a total Mary Sue. Which doesn’t make it a bad read, but every time I pictured Cyrus, I totally envisioned Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (tho since I like the guy, that’s not a bad thing.) It was interesting how the traditional roles of best friend and love interest were also somewhat swapped — likely to accommodate the fantasy — but again, none of that works against the book, which in itself is a fine addition to the growing collection of Sherlock homage fiction (and let’s face it, Watson was always a bigger deal than any woman anyway.) The novel isn’t quite as clever as it aims to be, and doesn’t quite possess the degree of literary detail of the source material, but it does provide a plausible, entertaining and socially aware history for Sherlock’s older brother. The ramifications of and for empire, in particular, were a welcome focus given Mycroft’s career, and it’s fun to see all the different allusions in this book that will eventually flower into the personality traits he displays in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels.
I also like that it had me in genuine suspense as to whether this would be a standalone novel or, quite possibly, the beginning of a series. Mr Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse do a more than adequate job of laying the foundation of what could be a series to rival the others of its kind, such as Laurie R King’s Mary Russell books. Were I a greater Sherlockian, I’d be waiting eagerly for their next book: as it is, I won’t scorn it should it cross my path.