Mycroft Holmesby Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Anna Waterhouse Published 22 Sep 2015
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Fresh out of Cambridge University, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name for himself in government, working for the Secretary of State for War. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to the faraway island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancée Georgiana Sutton was raised.
Mycroft’s comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports from home. There are rumors of mysterious disappearances, strange footprints in the sand, and spirits enticing children to their deaths, their bodies found drained of blood. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for Trinidad. Near panic, Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take...
Written by NBA superstar Kareem Abdul- Jabbar and screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, Mycroft Holmes reveals the untold story of Sherlock’s older brother. This harrowing adventure changed his life, and set the stage for the man Mycroft would become: founder of the famous Diogenes Club and the hidden power behind the British government.
"Mycroft Holmes" Reviews
So this is all about the young Mycroft Holmes, written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse. I don’t know enough to comment on the contribution of each author but if the 7ft 2" 68 year old record scoring basketball player is the main writer then hats off to the guy he’s done a pretty good job.
The story is set in 1870, Mycroft Holmes is 23 and proficiently working his way up the ranks in the Secretary of State’s office, it's an interesting period in British history where they had many protectorates and territories around the world and for the main part the story is based in Trinidad.
Sherlock is still at school and we meet him briefly in the library of all places, a snapshot of the brother’s dysfunctional relationship as Mycroft takes his leave before his voyage across the North Atlantic Ocean.
Mycroft has his own Watson on-board, he's not a doctor though, he's a tobacco salesman, best friend and confidante. Cyrus Douglas is a black man living in London. The book shows and doesn't shy away from the attitudes of the time, Cyrus constantly has to act as Mycroft’s servant but Holmes is open minded, indifferent at times and even a little oblivious to the difficulties their friendship harbours.
The story starts with Cyrus receiving word of the heinous murders of children in his families village on Trinidad, that coupled with Mycroft’s fiancé fleeing to Trinidad where her family own a plantation and Holmes is intrigued enough to engineer travel over there for him and Cyrus at the behest of the British government. The use of the words "douen" and "lougarou" give a supernatural feel to the murders, there’s plenty of personal interest and of course Mycroft has his own agenda to pursue.
A long voyage at sea ensues with poisoning, violence and mysteries aplenty. We arrive in Trinidad and the story fairly rockets along, there's pick pockets and drug dens of old keeping the attention and interest. The historical side is impeccably researched culminating in a scheme to revive slavery heralding from the U.S. and surrounding countries. There’s Gatling guns, a marvellous secret society of Chinese Trinidadian martial artists called the Brotherhood of the Harmonious Fist and to cap it all, a gang of different races and people coming together to embark on an invasion of a secret island using crocodile lungs as flotation devices.
The strongest point of the story is the relationship between Holmes and Douglas, echoing Sherlock and Dr Watson, hell it worked for them just a little so why not Mycroft and his friend. Mycroft is quite bright as you would expect, he's also pretty deadly in hand to hand combat, you can get immersed in comparing him to Sherlock but the international flavour steers you in a slightly different direction. There's very much a classic mystery feel about the story with the odd slice of dry British humour, the protagonist is certainly an interesting character it's difficult to give him a completely unique identity as you can't help but attribute some of Sherlock’s ways and manners to Mycroft. That's part of the mystery of Sherlock and it’s almost like an early feel of what shaped the man himself, it is extremely difficult not to talk about the great detective though but all told we have an enjoyable Victorian romp in far off shores with a couple of fascinating characters.
A 3.5* rating.
Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...
I was aware that being a successful author was just one of the many things keeping KAJ busy post retirement from the NBA, but this is the last book I expected him to write. Mycroft Holmes has everything that a great Mystery should. A great supporting cast, and a story that keeps you reading until the end. I didn't enjoy this characterization of a young Mycroft as much as I thought I should, perhaps this is because I am so used to the mature version of the character as showcased in the original stories, and many subsequent novels. I also wished that there had been more Sherlock, although I really enjoyed his characterization as an annoying younger brother. I look forward to reading more about Mycroft and Douglas friendship in future books. Overall, a strong first entry into the genre, which will hopefully make for a fun series.
I am a major Sherlock Holmes fan. I have read every one of the Arthur Conan Doyle tales and many of the tributes aka “Pastiches” writtenby others since then. Not surprisingly none of them ever rise to the equivalent of the original but there have been some noble attempts. In Mycroft Holmes written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes, that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Anna Waterhouse, the authors do a very wise move. They avoid the imposing Sherlock and concentrate on his smarter and older brother Mycroft. Sherlock does appear but only for a brief chapter. Mycroft only appears in four stories by Doyle. In this reworking, we are introduced to a younger Mycroft when he is still in good physical health and he hasn’t developed his phobia about field work. Sherlock is a university student who Mycroft is indulgent to, maybe slightly condescending, but sees real potential.
Mycroft is a promising young civil servant working for the British Secretary of State. He has his own “Doctor Watson”, a black man from Trinidad by the name of Cyrus Douglas who runs a tobacco shop. This friendship moves much of the friction in the tale as the writers are quite aware of and deftly use the racial friction of the times as a major theme in the story. In fact, one of the strengths in the book is that the authors are quite knowledgeable and skilled in portraying the social and psychological tones of the 19th century. But Douglas and Mycroft‘s girlfriend, Georgiana, have secrets about their Trinidadian homeland that comes into play when a string of children disappear, allegedly taken by an evil spirit called the Douen. The novel moves swiftly from London to Trinidad with much of it happening on the ship’s journey. Not surprisingly, Mycroft is very smart, very perceptive and surprisingly quick on his feet for an employee of the Crown. Yet Cyrus also has a number of skills and resources that become a surprise to Mycroft as he gets to know his friend better. The novel works on making both Mycroft and Douglas likable and it succeeds. My only complaint is that I wonder what happened to Mycroft that made him into the sedentary and somewhat haughty man that Doyle describes. I suspect there may be some sequels here and perhaps I will find out.
I applaud Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse for creating an exciting character, one that Doyle did not really seem all that interested in developing in the long run. Of course it is poetic license but that what makes these pastiches work when they do. Mycroft Holmes does work and if it tends to bog down at parts or show a few minor discrepancy in plot, they are instantly forgivable. Mycroft Holmes is exciting and fun and that is enough for now.
Fans of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes will enjoy this glimpse into the young life of his old brother, Mycroft Holmes. Mycroft has recently graduated from Cambridge and at the age of 23, he is secretary to the Secretary of War.
I found the plot, the settings and the characters to be authentic to the tone of the Holmes' saga. A thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. I would be only too happy to learn KAJ is writing a second book -- and perhaps even more.
If this book was a movie, it would be a bad B movie. The plot, dialogue, and scenes lack imagination and bear all the marks of what is trite. Other than the name Holmes, it has no resemblance to a Holmesian tale.
The story is about Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft, and therein lies another problem. The authors make Mycroft out to be like Sherlock: a man of action, a man that rides into the fray, a man who boxes - he even gives Sherlock a boxing lesson. I don’t like it when someone writes a fanfiction story and changes the character that the original author created; although, if the book is good, this is not so annoying to me. According to Arthur Conan Doyle, Mycroft is nothing like his younger brother from the point of view of physical activity, though he is Sherlock’s equal in intelligence and powers of observation and deduction. But Mycroft is indolent. For goodness sake, he is so averse to activity he founded the Diogenes Club, a club where the exertion of simply talking was not allowed. The sole purpose of the club was to have a place to go and read and be left alone.
What a cool story it could have been to have the real Mycroft, who is so averse to exertion, to be made to pursue a case because his great mind has deduced the necessity and all along the way he is trying to determine how to handle matters with the least amount of effort. That is more what I expected to find, but instead, we have a corny story with lame dialogue ineffectively trying to be a Sherlock Holmes story.
Together with Anna Waterhouse, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar relates a story of Sherlock Holmes' older brother, telling of his first adventure when he was only twenty-three. Mycroft Holmes is an intricately plotted, dramatic account. And, it's marvelous, with the tone of the original stories.
While his younger brother is in college, Mycroft is already making a name for himself as secretary to the Secretary of State for War. He aspires to work for Queen and country, marry his gorgeous fiancée, Georgiana, and settle down in a nice house to raise three children. In appearance, he's the opposite of his brother, well-muscled, good-looking and blond. He may be as brilliant as Sherlock, but Mycroft is much more practical. However, he throws all of his practicality to the wind when his best friend, Douglas, and Georgiana both decide to return to their homes in Trinidad after learning of trouble there. Along the waterfront in Trinidad, people have disappeared. Legend says douens have called to children, and then a lougarou (a giant mosquito) sucked the blood out of them. Mycroft and Douglas plan to sail on the same ship as Georgiana, but, once they board, they never see her. Instead, they encounter unexpected violence, and the beginning of an adventure that neither man anticipated.
The authors introduce Holmes into a world that is far different than the London he knows. And, the young Mycroft's character and future role is defined by his experiences. Georgiana had started to change his opinions. Now, the events in Trinidad do force him to "Look at social inequalities not as curiosities to be catalogued, but as wrongs to be righted." And, Mycroft and Douglas do have wrongs to right, criminal activities that have long tentacles. But, Holmes comes to realize how young he actually is, and that he hadn't encountered true evil before.
It's fascinating to see the build-up of Mycroft Holmes's character. He shares so many traits with his brother, the intellect, the patterns of observation. There's a dry humor in his observations, such as "Given the great number of Adam's spawn in the streets..." But, Sherlock is a loner, a self-centered man. Mycroft wanted to serve the Queen and country, so he went into civil service. And, it's intriguing to read about the relationship between the two brothers in those young years.
Mycroft Holmes is a dramatic account that builds in intensity. There's a menacing atmosphere that permeates the book. With it's complex characters and compelling story, this novel is worthy of every Sherlock Holmes story that preceded it. And, Mycroft proves to be just as capable of deception, cleverness, and action as his better-known brother. Mycroft Holmes is a wonderful debut novel.