Friday, 1 July 2016

Preview: The Sign of Fear by Robert Ryan, 2016

The Sign of Fear (2016) by Robert Ryan, the London-based author, journalist, travel writer and screenwriter, is the fourth book in the Dr. John Watson at War series, where Sherlock Holmes' friend and sounding board plays detective. The previous three novels are A Study in Murder (2015), The Dead Can Wait (2014) and Dead Man's Land (2013). Many of his novels are set in World War I & II. I haven't read any of his books but every one of them sounds interesting.

© Simon & Schuster UK
Here is a synopsis of The Sign of Fear.

The skies above London hum with danger. And in the Channel enemies lie in wait...
 

Autumn, 1917. London is not the city that Dr John Watson and Sherlock Holmes once bestrode like giants. Terror has come from the sky and Londoners are scurrying underground in fear.

Then a twin tragedy strikes Watson. An old friend, Staff Nurse Jennings, is on a boat-ambulance torpedoed in the Channel with no survivors. And his concert-going companion, Sir Gilbert Hardy, is kidnapped.

Then comes the gruesome ransom demand, for Sir Gilbert and four others, which will involve terrible mutilation unless the demands are met.

Help comes from an unlikely source when Watson finds himself face-to-face with his old ruthless adversary, the "She Wolf" Miss Pillbody. She makes him a remarkable offer and so an unlikely partnership is formed - the enemy spy and Sherlock Holmes's faithful companion, a detective duo which will eventually uncover a shocking case of state-sponsored murder and find Watson on board a German bomber, with a crew intent on setting London ablaze. 


The book has received good ratings. Reader Keith Currie had this to say about the book at Goodreads:

© Goodreads
"This is the fourth in the Doctor Watson series and maintains the very high standard of the earlier novels. The bombing of London is the focus here, as well as a train load of migrant Chinese workers who appear to have contracted a mysterious disease. This is a much darker novel than the others, which did have their own harrowing moments. Be aware also that there are about three or four plot lines going on at the same time. I did wonder if the momentum could be maintained throughout, but the author succeeded admirably, if rather depressingly too."

6 comments:

  1. Might have to read this one if I can ever get the time for my TBR stack.

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    1. Same here, Oscar. I like the premise of all four novels. Besides, Robert Ryan has written other interesting historical fiction too.

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  2. I had heard of this series, Prashant, but never found any of his books. I keep looking for them at the book sale this year.

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    1. Tracy, I'm intrigued by the works of Robert Ryan. He has authored some great historical fiction. Even though I seldom read pastiches, I'm keen to read the Dr Watson series.

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  3. Sounds good, but too many others already on the pile! I have 9 MIL by Rob Ryan - same guy?

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    1. I think so, Col. He has been a prolific writer. I'm more keen on reading his historical fiction set during the wars.

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