Garment of Shadows: 06/26/13
Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King is the twelfth of the Mary Russell / Sherlock Holmes mystery series. It continues the plot left off at the close of The Pirate King.
It marks a return to the themes and characters of some of her earliest books — A Letter of Mary, The Moor, and O Jerusalem — namely British colonialism, Islam, and political uprising. The problem is that so much effort is always spent on how different Muslims are that there's very little time left for a plot or character development.
Here, the setting is Morocco so there's political unrest between Spain and France. The place is about to split apart at the seems and yet the emphasis is once again on the odd customs and language. Yes—it's a different place. Yes—there's aspects of the culture that might seem bizarre. Gotcha. Can we move on now?
That said, Garment of Shadows is less serious than its predecessors. It opens with a rather ridiculous situation — namely Mary with full on amnesia. If we take that some of the off the cuff silliness of the The Pirate King, has rubbed off on this book, then it's perfectly acceptable for Mary to have forgotten who she is, right?
Thankfully the amnesia is just the introduction. It's an excuse to separate Mary and Sherlock and give him a reason to be concerned about her. It also gives both of them (and us, the reader) a chance to re-examine their relationship and marriage.
Although the book is flawed and it did bring back characters / themes I had been glad to leave behind, I did enjoy the book once it got started.