Death on a Pale Horse: Book summary and reviews of Death on a Pale Horse by Donald Thomas

Death on a Pale Horse

Sherlock Holmes on Her Majesty's Secret Service

By Donald Thomas

Death on a Pale Horse
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2013,
    400 pages.

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Book Summary

In a momentous period of British history, Donald Thomas's latest Sherlock Holmes adventure pits the Great Detective and his faithful biographer, Dr. John Watson, against an international conspiracy led by a disgraced English officer.  Colonel Hunter Moran bears upon him "The Mark of the Beast"; his satanic ingenuity leaves a spectacular trail of devastation.  It runs from the annihilation of a British armored column by Zulu tribesmen armed only with shields and spears, to a life-and-death struggle on the sinking passenger steamer Comtesse de Flandre.  

The heir to the French empire lies dead in the African dust.  Europe is brought to the brink of war by forged dispatches, designed to enrich gun-runners and assassins.  The gold-fields and diamond mines of South Africa become the playground of organized crime.

Only the detective genius of Holmes can prove a match for the unfolding criminality of Moran and his associates.  With Watson and Mycroft at his side, Sherlock Holmes again demonstrates although the powers of the state and the underworld may try to overpower him, they will never out-think his splendid analytical mind at the height of its powers.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Sherlockians will hope Thomas continues to turn out these faithful and imaginative recreations for years to come." - Publishers Weekly

"Thomas, who's written a handful of Holmes stories, does an excellent job of re-creating the feel of Conan Doyle's originals - Dr. Watson's first-person narration is particularly spot-on - while looking at Holmes from fresh angles. A fine addition to the voluminous Holmes-after-Doyle literature" - Booklist

"Unfortunately, Holmes the detective, who's enjoyed a vigorous afterlife in Thomas' pastiches (Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly, 2010, etc.), is upstaged by Holmes the secret agent for the final act, which finds Moran behind yet another historical outrage. Thomas' attempt to intertwine the Holmes saga with the political fortunes of the empire is more ingenious than convincing, unless your idea of Holmes is Errol Flynn." - Kirkus

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More Information

Donald Thomas has published forty books, including poetry, fiction, biography, and true crime. A stage-play based on his work, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, was recently produced in Wales.  His biography of Robert Browning was short-listed for the Whitbread Award and he received The Gregory Award from T. S. Eliot personally for his poetry collection Points of Contact The Execution of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes and the King's Evil and Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly are all available from Pegasus Books. He lives in Bath.

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