The Druid of Death: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure by Richard Ryan

DruidRyan So glad to be part of Bits About Books Blog Tour for this wonderful book.

While I enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories I must admit that I am more of a fan of a lot of the spin-off series.  This one follows well and keeps to the characteristics of the true Sherlock Holmes series.  The phrasing, responses, and attitudes of the characters are right in line with the original.  Intrigued by the set up for this book – a retired journalist has purchased, at auction, a box belonging to Dr. Watson and inside are manuscripts from unpublished works.  This particular one includes a letter from Dr. Watson regarding Sherlock’s forbidding it to be published.  With such a captivating start, I was pulled into the book and barely looked up until I was finished.

Dr. Watson is the main voice in this story and he carries the reader along the adventure as well as gives insight into his personality and opinions.  Where many of the tangent series have been challenged to keep these characters fresh, this author has accomplished not only that but made them enjoyable too.

So, if you are a Sherlock fan and are looking for a unique view, this may be the series for you!

SUMMARY

On the morning of the vernal equinox in 1899, Holmes is roused from his bed by Lestrade. The inspector has received a report of a girl brutally murdered at Stonehenge.
Upon arriving at the famed site, Holmes discovers the body of a young woman. On her forehead, painted in blood, is a druidic symbol. On her side, also in blood, is a message written in a strange language that neither Holmes nor Lestrade can decipher. The girl was also eviscerated and her organs placed around her body. As a final touch, branches from yew trees had been artistically arranged around the corpse.

Holmes senses a malevolent force at work, but without data, he is powerless. As the weeks pass, he slowly gathers information about the ancient druids and Celtic mythology and begins to assemble a small army of experts to assist him.

Expecting the killer to strike again on the summer solstice, Holmes and Watson travel to the Nine Ladies in Derbyshire, the site of another stone circle that harkens to druidic times. While they are holding their vigil, Lestrade and his men are off keeping watch over the stone circles at Avebury and several other locations.

The Great Detective’s worst fears are realized when on the morning of the summer solstice, he learns that the body of a young man has been discovered in the eye of the White Horse of Uffington. Like the first victim, he too has been marked with a druidic symbol and his body bears a message. Aside from the symbol and the message, the only other difference appears to be that his body and organs have been surrounded by willow branches.

Realizing full well that a maniac reminiscent of the Ripper is on the loose, Holmes and Watson find themselves in a race against time as they try to locate the cult, identify the killer and prevent another tragedy.

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