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The God of the Hive 02/14/11
The advantage of reading books slowly off the to be read pile, is that when there's a cliff hanger such as at the end of The Language of Bees, I was able to keep going with The God of the Hive with little more than a week of waiting.
I bought the book to celebrate the start of training for the Census. Although I started reading it immediately (rare for me, I tend to let them ferment a little before reading), it has been sitting on my to be reviewed list for nearly a year. It may well be a year by the time the review actually gets posted.
For anyone new to the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King, most of the books can be read as stand alone volumes. The God of the Hive though should be read after The Language of Bees.
The book beings where the previous book left off. Mary and Estelle are an airplane trying to make it to London. But the remains of the cult are after them and they are forced to land in a remote and isolated landscape. Their only ally is a strange hermit named Robert Goodman. He is as enigmatic and strange as the Green Man.
Meanwhile, Holmes and Damian are across the channel and cut off from Holmes's usual network. Damian is injured and Holmes has to rely on a nurse he has wrangled into helping.
Finally there is Mycroft who has his own part to contribute the story. His part is woven together with Russell's and Holmes's chapters, making for the most complex book in the series yet. Had this book come earlier in the series, I don't think it would have worked as well as it does now. Mary Russell has had time to learn from her husband and has matured as a character. She's ready to hold her own part of the novel.
Some day if the author tires of the series or wants to take a tangent, I would love to read a stand alone book with Robert Goodman as the protagonist. He's such an interesting character and he clearly has more of a back story than is covered in The God of the Hive.
There's a new book in the series coming out later in 2011 called The Pirate King. From the author's blog, it sounds like she's having fun writing it. I'm looking forward to reading it.