Cover Image: The Lantern's Dance

The Lantern's Dance

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Member Reviews

Another riveting novel centered around the lives of Sherlock Holmes and his wife Mary Russell. Mary is the center and heart of Ms. Kin's book. I love the relationship between the much older Holmes and his brilliant wife. The respect he has for her really resonates.

This new book has Holmes and Russell racing around the clock to safeguard Holmes' son Damian. An unknown intruder broke into his home and left a daunting weapon behind.

In pure Mary Russell fashion, she sets out to figure out why this man broke into the artist's home and what he wanted. Unable to accompany Holmes on his venture she sorts through Danian's home and discovers a journal. Soon the reader will find themselves immersed in the exotic land of India and the intrigue continues to build throughout the entire novel.

This was a very captivating read that had me intrigued and at the edge of my seat. I so highly recommend this and can't wait to see Mary's next adventure.
My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book for my reading pleasure.

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Thank-you, NetGalley for the ARC, and apologies for being utterly behind on reviews.

In the pages of Mary Russell’s latest narrative, The Lantern’s Dance, Holmes & Russell have stopped off in France to visit Holmes’s son, artist Damien Adler and his family, including his delightful daughter Estelle, but they arrive to an empty house and servants suspicious of anyone inquiring after their employers. Eventually, our detectives extract the story of how the Adlers fled threatening circumstances, and Holmes rushes off after them, leaving the injured Russell to discover what she can in their abandoned household, the one-time residence of Damien’s mother, Irene Adler.

Laurie R King continues to build background to small details from ACD’s Canon. In the short story, “Adventure of the Greek Interpreter”, Sherlock Holmes mentions that his grandmother was “a sister of Vernet, the French artist.” Russell, inspecting Damien’s painting studio, discovers not only some canvases of young Estelle, but also some boxes belonging to Horace Vernet, which contain odds and ends including a dancing lantern or zoetrope, and the coded journal of a young woman. All too appropriately, it would seem a mystery lies buried in Holmes’s family history, perhaps one effecting the family’s present circumstances.

The vivid settings, wry humor, and interesting twists that make Russell’s accounts so readable are all here, ready to carry readers familiar with this series away on an adventure. I highly recommend you pick up the latest entry!

(For the rest of you, I recommend grabbing a copy of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and finding out what occurs when Sherlock Holmes is born an American woman in 1900 and has the fantastic luck to run into her Canon self in 1915, after ACD’s stories end.)

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The Lantern's Dance
By Laurie R. King

This book is the 20th in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. This series is interesting because it introduces a love interest for Holmes – long after his affair with Irene Adler. If you are a Holmes fan you will know that Irene was an American singer with whom Holmes was deeply in love. Unfortunately, Sherlock seemed, from the Conan Doyle stories, to have very little understanding of women.

In this series, Holmes meets up with a much younger Mary Russell. Over time and through several books, Mary and Sherlock grow to love each other and eventually they wed.

As the series has progressed Holmes is shocked to discover that Irene Adler has born him a son – Damian Adler – that Irene never told him about.
While Sherlock and Damian cautiously enter into a familial relationship, they are still uneasy with each other. Additionally, Damian presents Sherlock with a granddaughter, Estelle, who is four years old.

In this latest book, Damian has invited Sherlock and Mary to his wedding to Aileen, a doctor who has saved his life in an earlier book. When Russell and Holmes arrive in France for the wedding, they find that someone has broken into Damian's home and others – unknown strangers – have been nosing around and making inquiries about Damian and his family. Sherlock and Mary jump into action to keep them all safe – and as the saying goes,
"the game's afoot".

Many years ago I read and enjoyed the first book in the series, but somehow lost track of the following volumes. I enjoyed this one so much that I will have to go back and read all of the books in between!

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Laurie R. King is one of my all time favorite authors, and “The Lantern’s Dance” is one of my most anticipated reads of the year, so I was incredibly excited to be granted an ARC of the book. And it completely and utterly exceeded all of my expectations. An amazing read and earns a very well deserved five stars. Even more “The Lantern’s Dance” is one of the very best entries in the Russell and Holmes series - an incredible feat in an already amazing series and even more remarkable after thirty years and seventeen previous books.

The plot is very well paced, and the alternating time lines and points of view weave together exceptionally well. I’ve found a few of the other books in the series a bit slow going when a non-Russell or Holmes narrator is used so I was hesitant when I encountered the first entry in the image journal. I need not have worried - this book handles the multiple narrators deftly and all of the voices work together to keep building the tension. You’ll want to clear your schedule for the last third of the book - nothing will be able to tear you away from finishing it! I was completely unable to put it down and definitely stayed up way too late. The ending was completely worth the missed sleep!

I do have a few quibbles that keep “The Lantern’s Dance” from being my personal favorite in the series. Without giving too much away, I feel that part of the central mystery was too easily solved even for the combined detective genius of Russell and Holmes. The fact that this part of the mystery was solved in an evening - after lingering for decades and impacting several lives - felt too convenient and rushed. This issue also feeds into my larger problem with the book: I felt like it was overall too short and the ending was incredibly abrupt. Maybe I was just enjoying it too much? But I do feel like the ending could’ve used another thirty to forty pages to help round out all of the revelations and implications that were revealed in the last third of the book. I would have loved to have had a scene between Russell and Holmes that addressed everything that happened in that ending. One of my favorite parts of this series is the emotional vulnerability between the pair, and it’s what made “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” (in my opinion) the best of the series. If the end of “The Lantern’s Dance” had leaned into this strength and added just a few more scenes between them then it would have easily replaced “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” as the best entry in the entire series. I just hope that the next book picks up right where this one left off!

Laurie King’s writing is always incredibly beautiful, emotionally resonant, and meticulously researched and “The Lantern’s Dance” is absolutely one of her best books. I’ve recommended the Russell and Holmes series so many times over the years and I can’t wait to share “The Lantern’s Dance” with new readers!

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Another fantastic entry into the Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell saga! Mary finds herself stuck at her stepsons home in the French Countryside while Holmes is off to find his son and his family and save them from an unknown threat. I enjoyed seeing Russell face new challenges in her stubborn and determined way. I would love a novella featuring the events immediately preceding this novel. Overall, a great addition to a great series.
Thanks netgalley for providing me with an e-arc for review!

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This installment was a fantastic addition to the series. The plot is intricately detailed and we learn more of Holmes’ family history. It was a delight to read this.
Many thanks to Random House and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Another phenomenal installment in the Russell and Holmes world. I love this world and enjoy each of the books in this series. Definitely rereadable and recommendable!

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Thank you to Netgally, the publishers, and Laurie R. King

When I requested this book I was unaware that it was apart of a series, one that requires you to read the previous books for this one to make sense. I am unable to read all the previous books along with this one before the publish date. Therefore, I will rate this a fair 3/5 stars and will adjust the rating and review when I am able to read all the books in the series along with this one.

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Another winner by one of my top ten favorite authors and characters.
A visit to Sherlock Holmes’ newfound son and his family in the south of France finds Mary stuck in the house with a sprained ankle but not without a mystery to solve. Sherlock makes the family leave when they report a break in a few nights before the Holmes’ arrival, fearing the little family is in danger. The narrative splits into two points of view, with Mary delving into the past to help Sherlock untangle the mystery in the present.
All the elements I love in the author’s writing are here—atmospheric with quirky side characters and caretakers, interesting settings, and the inner workings of two of the greatest detectives of all time as they work to solve the mystery behind the mystery. Stunning and absorbing depth of detail and history.
Highly recommended historical mystery.

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Mary and Holmes arrive at the house in the south of France where Holmes’ artist son, Damian Adler and his family live, but the visit is off to a mysterious start when they discover the Adlers have gone into hiding after a late night intruder leaves them uneasy. A mysterious tale in two time lines unfolds and for the first time in the series, Holmes is forced to not only reveal the details of his childhood, but face the past an investigation reveals.

The Lantern’s Dance is the eighteenth of a connected series of historical mysteries set in the world of Sherlock Holmes with a clever investigation team of the older Holmes and his young wife, Mary Russell.

As I indicated, Russell and Holmes arrive to Damian and the family off in hiding leaving the mystery of the intruder and other strangers asking about Damian. Holmes goes on to secure the family’s safety while Mary, due to a sprained ankle, stays behind to begin the investigation. Mary uncovers a coded journal that leads to a second time line story set nearly a hundred years in the past. Does the journal have a bearing on the current situation? Someone is looking for something and Damian is at the heart of it.

A couple of the previous books took Russell and Holmes to faraway places and mysteries, but The Lantern’s Dance brings things back to a personal connection within the Holmes-Adler family. Holmes and Damian have not had a good history trying to reconnect as father and son. The tension between them crackles. I was in suspense when the pair shared any scenes together.

The journal story Mary uncovered was riveting and I kept wanting to slip back into that story.

The present day case of the strangers chasing Damian was engaging, but didn’t hold my interest as much as the more personal storylines.

I enjoyed learning the connection to the indigo dye industry, French Colonial India, and art giving a vivid historical backdrop. But, most of all, I was highly engaged when the reveals came and all the secrets were out for those final scenes.

All in all, I was simply satisfied to be right back in the Russell and Holmes world with Mary and Sherlock sharpening their wits and rooting out the secrets. I was glad to see things advance with Holmes and his son, and I look forward to further adventurous cases for Mary and Sherlock. Historical Mystery fans really need to give this series a go.

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very much enjoyed The Lantern’s Dance, Laurie R. King’s 18th novel in a series featuring Sherlock Holmes and his clever, much-younger wife and partner, Mary Russell. In this novel, Holmes and his headstrong estranged son simultaneously try to repair their relationship while trying to discover why an Indian man broke into the son’s cottage in the French countryside. To tell any more would be to ruin the fun for readers, but be prepared for some shocking revelations in this meticulous researched book.

That said, I’m not sure this book is right for anyone new to the series. Without having read The Language of Bees and The God of the Hive (ninth and tenth in the series, respectively), one would be somewhat lost in reading King’s latest novel.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley, Random House Publishing ¬– Ballantine, and Bantam in exchange for an honest review.

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This was a great book. I loved every paragraph, every sentence and every word of this masterpiece! I read it in 12 hours, which is a lot for me to do! It had everything and more laid out in the novel! I sure hope There is more to come from this author! I am totally hooked!

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It has been close to thirty (!) years since Laurie R. King’s first Holmes and Russell novel, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, was published. When I read this first in the series, I enjoyed viewing the Holmes canon through a new lens. Having recently read some Doyle works for a class, I was excited about spending time with King’s version of him, along with the inimitable Mary and other of his family connections.

This time the story is a fun one. I loved that there was a storyline about Damian Adler (yes, think of Irene) and his family. Where have they gone? Why did they flee? Holmes wants to find out.

Mary stays behind and in looking around the empty house, she finds some coded journals, along with memorabilia of a Holmes relation. Always up for a challenge, she will try to decipher these documents.

There is all of this plus India in the novel. King handles everything skillfully making this another terrific entry in a series that continues to intrigue.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for this title. All opinions are my own.

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Laurie King has Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes follow The Lantern's Dance after World War I; Holmes has a son by the deceased Irene Adler; Damian has married and had a daughter, but his house is invaded by strangers and his family is in hiding until Sherlock and his wife can solve why. Curious old family history and secret diaries keep the reader immersed. Lots of family history and mystery; enjoy the plot.

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As Holmes himself once said, “Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms,” but as this 18th book in the continuing chronicles of Sherlock Holmes and his apprentice-turned-wife Mary Russell opens, Holmes is considerably more worried about the form that blood might take spilled from his son’s veins on the floor of the French cottage where Holmes adult son, Damien Adler, his young daughter Estelle and his wife-to-be Dr. Aileen Henning have set up house and home in Damien’s inheritance from his mother Irene Adler.

Someone, a man Adler described as a ‘lascar’ broke into his home in the middle of the night, kukri in hand, to do who knows what damage or cause who knows what type of mayhem.

Adler does his best to convince himself it was all a prank gone wrong. But Holmes, with too many enemies still lurking in his shady past and even his more circumspect present, is not nearly so sanguine about the whole thing. There are, after all, plenty of criminals who would like to put the squeeze on Sherlock Holmes by threatening his son and his granddaughter, and most likely even more powers and potentates who would be interested in having some leverage against that puller of the British Empire’s strings and minder of its webs, Mycroft Holmes, by kidnapping his nephew and great-niece.

Holmes’ primary concern, desire and dilemma, all in one gordian knot of emotions he is reluctant in the extreme to untangle, is to get Damien, Aileen and Estelle somewhere safe so that he can run the meager clues about the break in and its elusive perpetrator to ground. Possibly to put them in that ground if necessary.

Damien wants to continue his work as an up-and-coming surrealist artist – AND he wants his father to explain what the hell is going on. In other words, Damien Adler wants to be treated as the adult he is as well as protect his family.

While Russell is, at least at the outset, a bit of a ‘fifth wheel’ in this family drama of which she is more of an appendage that a central part. Unfortunately for her, an appendage with a sprained ankle, hobbling around on crutches, in the house where her predecessor, the famous and famously beautiful Irene Adler, once ruled. If her ankle wasn’t already making her miserable enough, this entire situation has more than enough undercurrents to discomfit even Russell.

So the dust on the initial break in settles with Damien in Paris, Holmes following behind to check for traps, tagalongs and any possible gathering of confederates, while Russell is left behind in Irene Adler’s old house, going through the detritus of codes long left unbroken and old family secrets. Only to discover that the reason for the break in has been hidden in plain sight, and that too many of the truths that Sherlock Holmes has believed all his life were lies all along.

And that more of that art in the blood that his son received in full measure from his mother’s well-known artistic family bore other, more mysterious fruit much closer to its source.

Escape Rating A: This one begins slowly, as Russell languishes – a bit – alone in the countryside while Holmes hares off to Paris and points beyond. At first, it felt like the story was creeping along, much as Russell is doing with her crutches. But Russell’s temporary infirmity forces her to sit still – something that chafes at her no end.

But that stillness – and the lack of ability to rush about after Holmes – forces her to take the time to explore her briefly confined circumstances. And thereby, quite literally, hangs this tale.

Also, and fascinatingly so, as Russell’s leg gets better, as she graduates from crutches to a cane to walking unaided, as she picks up her pace the story increases its pace in tandem. By the time she is able to unravel all of the mysteries, she is searching Paris on foot, chasing down leads and putting the pieces together at her – and her story’s – usual brisk pace.

So initially, while Holmes is the active partner and Russell is stuck in place, he’s actually spinning his wheels, trying to safeguard someone who refuses to obey orders, looking over his shoulder at every moment, and always operating at an information deficit as he’s forced to react to circumstances rather than think first and then act.

Russell has that luxury. She’s stuck, she has time to think, and plenty to think about. While Holmes and the rest of the family are running, she’s questioning the locals and exploring the house, where she finds clues that lead her to the true heart of the mystery – and to its bittersweet conclusion.

In the end, I did love this entry in the series, although it took me a bit to get there because of that slow start. But now that I’ve finished, I’m left with the impression that this is more of a family story than it is the kind of mystery that has more often been featured in this series, and in the Holmes canon and Russell Kanon in general. On this, the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice – the story where Russell nearly tripped over Holmes on the Sussex Downs – it feels right that we go back to, not their beginning, but rather to Holmes’ own beginning, and get a much clearer picture of where he came from and the forces that made him – and Mycroft for that matter – the men they became.

In other words, The Lantern’s Dance feels like a story that will be utterly riveting for fans of the series, but would not make a good place for a newcomer to start. If you have not yet had the pleasure of Mary Russell’s acquaintance, I highly recommend that you begin at the beginning, with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, and settle in for a long and delightful read.

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Courtesy of Random House and Netgalley, I received the ARC of Laurie R..King's newest Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel. Set in France, post WWI, the atmosphere was detailed and engaging. This mystery encompasses the backstory of Sherlock Holmes' family, including the actual acclaimed painter Horace Vernet. I loved the description of the lantern and how it worked! No spoilers this book!

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This series has been a favorite of mine since Mary Russell was introduced. The concept of a young woman with the smarts to challenge the great Sherlock Holmes drew me in from the beginning. This story is the perfect bridge to unanswered questions. They have all been highly enjoyable, and this one is no exception.

Invited to spend a month with Holmes' artist son and his family in France, Mary and Sherlock arrive to discover the family has vacated the premises after a break-in and left a mystery behind. Holmes sets off to locate them, as Mary finds herself attempting to decode an old journal which tells the story of a decades old scandal and a shocking discovery.

I could not put this story down. Each chapter pulled me deeper into the two mysteries playing out simultaneously. I can only hope that the author continues this series as long as possible. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes alternate stories, I highly recommend this one.

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THE LANTERN'S DANCE by Laurie R. King is the latest in the suspense series featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes and this is one of King's best. She separates the protagonists (Russell has hurt her foot and stays behind) which cleverly allows each to narrate portions of this tale. Always curious, Russell discovers an old, coded journal and sets about deciphering its contents which, in turn, relay the life story of an adventuresome woman. Holmes, meanwhile, is off to try to protect the lives of his son (Damian Adler) and his family. There had been a break-in at Damian’s home and Holmes focuses on figuring out motive and assessing the potential danger. Readers will likely suspect an overlap in these two situations as they loop between past and present in an entertaining and surprising manner. Employing a clever puzzle and artful description, King skillfully provides additional backstory for her main characters. Can't wait for the next one!

It's amazing to realize that 2024 marks the thirtieth anniversary of publication of The Beekeeper's Apprentice, first in this remarkable series.

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Illusions can shape one’s life and “The Lanterns Dance” is all about illusions.

When Damien Addler chases away a knife wielding intruder in the middle of the night, a visiting Holmes rushes the young family off to safety and Russell, stays back to investigate. She wants to find out the identity of the thief and two other men who have been asking after Damien. Believing that the break-in is related to the recent delivery of some boxes that once belonged to Damien’s distant relatives, she looks through the old crates. She finds nothing of great value, but she does find two things that are very unusual. The first is an old “magic lantern”. The zoetrope was a precursor to film animation that ran a strip of drawings past candlelight to provide the illusion of movement. She also finds a book that at first appears to be an old diary. But that too is an illusion. After the first couple pages, Russel discovers that the rest of the book is written in code. The initial page promises that “those with eyes to see” will view a series of images from her life. Russell slowly decodes the book, and in doing so, she solves much of the mystery that beguiled her, but also reveals the truth behind some other illusions.

This is the 18th book in Laurie R. King’s “Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes’ series a pastiche that features Conon Doyle’s sleuth and King’s original character Mary Russell. Doyle focused on the mystery and the action, and his characters were one-dimensional. King also adds introspection and inner dialogue to her characters. She has created an older Holmes who is more vibrant than the original. The series has built upon Doyle’s canon adding new adventures of Holmes and his young protege who becomes his partner and eventually his wife. These books always have two points of view. Russell is written in the first person, and the reader is privy to her every thought and feeling. Chapters that feature Holmes are always in the third person and read very much like a classic Sherlock Holmes adventure. This book provides a third voice as well, for over half of the chapters are passages from the diary. As the book progresses the reader joins Mary as we get to know a young girl who is taken from Paris to live in India. We become engrossed in her story, even as we wonder how it ties to the mystery at hand. Most of the books in the series have complicated plots with adventures in foreign lands, often with historical figures taking part in the action. This book provides a change of pace with a mystery in Paris that strikes very close to home. It had very little mystery and even less action. But what this book did provide was a story within the story that made for a compelling read. I found this foray into women’s fiction entertaining.

Over the course of the series, she provides a lot of the back-story for Sherlock’s early life. Although this book can be read as a stand-alone, it would be enjoyed much more if you have read some of the books in the series. I accessed this book from the publisher Bantam via NetGalley. I can honestly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction who love books with strong female characters.

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This was a really fabulous book. I love the Russell and Holmes books, and this was a great addition. Russell and Holmes arrive at Damien's house to find out they had an intruder. Holmes leaves to find the family and make sure they are safe. Russell stays behind because she has sprained her ankle and cannot get around easily. Russell finds a diary in code and sets out to decode it while Holmes is gone. I don't want to give too much away but you will be as enthralled as i was to follow along. I had figured out some of the story but not all. Well worth the time to read this newest installment.. Laurie R. King never disappoints.

I received a copy for an unbiased review.

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