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The God of the Hive is the long-awaited (by me at least) sequel to The Language of Bees which I reviewed here last year. Having to wait 12 months to find out what happens next has been a tiny wee bit frustrating. But it has been worth the wait.

Again it’s difficult to talk about the plot of this novel because it runs on immediately from the events of its predecessor, and by that I mean within minutes of the end rather than weeks or months afterwards. And I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice to say that Sherlock and Russell are separated for much of the book, on the run, hiding from the powerful and menacing group who have killed several people already, trying to get to the bottom of what was going on.

So all I can say is that it’s pacy and exciting and all the great characters appear and some new ones are introduced and all the disguises and skulking about and action is all included, so thoroughly enjoyable and devoured in a couple of days. The only downside was that the Book God had read this first and kept on offering to give me pointers to the way the plot would develop in an annoying fashion which has been noted in the future. He won’t get the chance to do that to me next time.

So if you are already a fan of the Russell novels you will find a lot to enjoy here, but you really need to read The Language of Bees first as otherwise it just won’t make sense.

TheLanguageofBeesLaurie54241_fThe Language of Bees is the latest instalment in the tales of Mary Russell, wife to Sherlock Holmes, and starts off from the end of the last story (Locked Rooms) with Russell and Holmes arriving back to their home in Sussex to find one of the bee colonies deceased (if that’s what happens to hives) and a figure from Holmes’ past (and I’m not going to say who it is) looking for help. This starts a murder mystery which involves Mycroft (one of my favourite characters from the canon) and his extensive resources assisting Russell and Holmes in travelling up and down the UK to visit some of the most ancient sites in the country, seeking a dangerous and influential man. I think. It’s quite hard to write about this without giving away too much of the plot, which is something I really don’t want to do as the intricacies of the story is what makes the series so successful, alongside as the lead characters of course.

I will put my cards on the table and say that years ago, when King first started writing this series I was sceptical; I loved Sherlock Holmes and couldn’t see him ever getting married, especially to a much younger woman. But I picked up The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and gave it a go, and was instantly hooked. The books are written with such affection for Holmes, Watson et al, Russell herself is a distinctive character, and the events of each (while often harking back on occasions to the past) are all set after Holmes has retired, so don’t really tinker with the mythology at all.

The only disappointment in relation to The Language of Bees is the phrase “to be continued” which appears at the end, and the knowledge that I have to wait untill sometime in 2010 to find out how this particular story develops.

Well worth reading, snatched out of my hands by the Book God as soon as I had finished it, and if you haven’t read any of the Russell stories, then you really should. Excellent.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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June 2023