Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Dr. Moreau Review: A Transformation
Who could resist the picture of a wild boar in a military uniform, sitting atop a horse? That’s what comes to mind before you venture into Guy Adams’ interpretation of Sherlock Holmes. His novel “The Army of Dr. Moreau” could have very easily slipped into a half-baked homage to both Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells. Instead you become engrossed in a world where men of science become monsters.
All the usual suspects are in this book. Holmes and Dr. Watson reluctantly help Mycroft Holmes on a case involving Moreau. It seems that before things went cataclysmically wrong, Moreau actually worked for The Crown. Mycroft, being the indirect point man, assumed the experiments were over with Moreau’s death (a death that is cleverly explained throughout the novel). But men start turning up dead. Their wounds are so savage that it looks like they were mauled by multiple species from every part of the earth and ocean. Of course only a mind like Sherlock Holmes could help his brother get to the heart of the matter.
From there the reader gets to enjoy Homes’ deductive reasoning skills and dry wit through the narrative technique of using Watson as an intimate commentator. It’s a convincing strategy that gives the novel a crisp and quick pace. At one point Holmes himself takes the reins and tells part of the story. Though the swiftness of the storytelling slows a non-omnipresent narrator gives the reader the feeling of suspense and immediacy. Who’s going to survive? What’s going to happen next? What do these creatures look like, but most of all who controls them?
As a fan of mystery novels, in particular Sherlock Holmes, a reader may not care why a villain does things in a certain way. Still Adams doesn’t have to contrive a situation to make Holmes and even Watson shine. What the author does do is let the reader in on the discovery of information.
As Holmes and Watson uncover the clues and find the puppeteer behind this drama, Adams gifts the modern reader with a solid story. Essentially “The Army of Dr. Moreau” is the type of book that you can’t put down, yet put off reading because you don’t want the story to end.
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