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It’s only the second day of 1924, but Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, find themselves embroiled in intrigue. It starts with a New Year’s visit from Holmes’s brother Mycroft, who comes bearing a strange package containing the papers of an English spy named Kimball O’Hara—the same Kimball known to the world through Kipling’s famed Kim. Inexplicably, O’Hara wit It’s only the second day of 1924, but Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, find themselves embroiled in intrigue. It starts with a New Year’s visit from Holmes’s brother Mycroft, who comes bearing a strange package containing the papers of an English spy named Kimball O’Hara—the same Kimball known to the world through Kipling’s famed Kim. Inexplicably, O’Hara withdrew from the “Great Game” of espionage and now he has just as inexplicably disappeared.  When Russell discovers Holmes’s own secret friendship with the spy, she knows the die is cast: she will accompany her husband to India to search for the missing operative. But Russell soon learns that in this faraway and exotic land, it’s often impossible to tell friend from foe—and that some games aren’t played for fun but for the highest stakes of all…life and death.


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It’s only the second day of 1924, but Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, find themselves embroiled in intrigue. It starts with a New Year’s visit from Holmes’s brother Mycroft, who comes bearing a strange package containing the papers of an English spy named Kimball O’Hara—the same Kimball known to the world through Kipling’s famed Kim. Inexplicably, O’Hara wit It’s only the second day of 1924, but Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, find themselves embroiled in intrigue. It starts with a New Year’s visit from Holmes’s brother Mycroft, who comes bearing a strange package containing the papers of an English spy named Kimball O’Hara—the same Kimball known to the world through Kipling’s famed Kim. Inexplicably, O’Hara withdrew from the “Great Game” of espionage and now he has just as inexplicably disappeared.  When Russell discovers Holmes’s own secret friendship with the spy, she knows the die is cast: she will accompany her husband to India to search for the missing operative. But Russell soon learns that in this faraway and exotic land, it’s often impossible to tell friend from foe—and that some games aren’t played for fun but for the highest stakes of all…life and death.

30 review for The Game

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

    My journey to find a good British mystery series has led me to the stories of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, his student and wife, by Laurie R. King. I will not hide the fact that I was extremely sceptical at first. I mean, Sherlock having a wife other than The Woman a.k.a. Irene Adler? Preposterous! How could that have happened? I am not the most open-minded person when it comes to retellings of any kind. Especially when we're talking about Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Arthur Conan Doyle. Ye My journey to find a good British mystery series has led me to the stories of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, his student and wife, by Laurie R. King. I will not hide the fact that I was extremely sceptical at first. I mean, Sherlock having a wife other than The Woman a.k.a. Irene Adler? Preposterous! How could that have happened? I am not the most open-minded person when it comes to retellings of any kind. Especially when we're talking about Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Arthur Conan Doyle. Yes, I adore the BBC Sherlock, but it took me two seasons to be convinced. Dont't start me on Elementary though, because the rant button will be triggered to no end. So, taking all these prejudices of mine into consideration, I took my time and read as many reviews as I could about the series. Just to be on the safe side... I had a great difficulty in finding the previous installments, so I started with the only one that was available at the time, The Game. I enjoyed it very much, plain and simple. I will not bore you with plot details. However, I must stress that the setting of the story - India during the turbulent period of the 1920's- was a major plus. It made for an exotic read. The descriptions were vivid and rich. In fact, they were so detailed that they ended up becoming seriously tedious after a point, especially when I wanted the story to move forward. I don't need to know every single detail of decoration or dresses or plants. This was a major fault, in my opinion. A fault that continued all through the book. It was too wordy, too descriptive, and even the dialogue itself was tiring at times, although faithful to the era depicted. Mary Russell is a very interesting character. She is clever and kind, but not obnoxious, and patient enough to deal with her genius of a husband. She is a worthy companion to Sherlock who - I am glad to say- retains his familiar characteristics. Laurie R. King created a version of Sherlock Holmes that the lifelong reader of Arthur Conan Doyle can connect with. She didn't try to make Mary appear ''smarter'' than him, nor did she make a dogmatic, all-knowing Holmes. She created a worthy couple, equal in intelligence and respect, and that was refreshing. The mystery itself was innovative, although a bit predictable, blending Kipling's Kim in the narration, and finding an equal balance between a world full of superstitions and concepts written in stone and the people who desire their freedom. The Mary Russell series is nothing earth-shuttering or Booker Prize-worthy, but it is a quality light read with two superb characters. Thankfully, I've found the other books since I bought this one, and I intend to follow the couple's adventures. P.S. Hey, Elementary ''writers'', pay attention! This is how you create a female companion without making Sherlock appear an idiot!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    $1.99 on Amazon today! 1924. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes gets a New Year’s visit from Mycroft Holmes with a strange package from an English spy called Kimball O’Hara, more known as the Kim Kipling wrote about. He has withdrawn from the “Great Game” of espionage and disappeared. So Russell and Homes travels to India to search for the missing Kim. I like this book very much, a missing spy, India and Mary Russell that has to disguise herself to save Sherlock Holmes. It's a wonderful entertainin $1.99 on Amazon today! 1924. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes gets a New Year’s visit from Mycroft Holmes with a strange package from an English spy called Kimball O’Hara, more known as the Kim Kipling wrote about. He has withdrawn from the “Great Game” of espionage and disappeared. So Russell and Homes travels to India to search for the missing Kim. I like this book very much, a missing spy, India and Mary Russell that has to disguise herself to save Sherlock Holmes. It's a wonderful entertaining and engrossing book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This is the seventh novel in King’s Mary Russell series and one of my favourites so far. In this instalment, Sherlock Holmes and his wife and partner Mary Russell travel to India to look for Kimball O’Hara – the hero of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. There is concern from on high that Kim, who has been missing for some three years, has either been captured or has turned traitor in the Great Game. The conceit of the narrative is disarming. When Mary Russell, who only knows of Kim from reading Kipling, as This is the seventh novel in King’s Mary Russell series and one of my favourites so far. In this instalment, Sherlock Holmes and his wife and partner Mary Russell travel to India to look for Kimball O’Hara – the hero of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. There is concern from on high that Kim, who has been missing for some three years, has either been captured or has turned traitor in the Great Game. The conceit of the narrative is disarming. When Mary Russell, who only knows of Kim from reading Kipling, asks if he is a real person, Holmes responds “As real as I am”. With that, the adventure begins. There’s a rush to get away from England, an ocean voyage through the Suez Canal, an American flapper, her possibly sinister brother, disguise and magic in India, a Maharaja with secrets and a street urchin who may have secrets of his own. And then there’s Kim – the idea of him and, ultimately, the actuality of him – as believable as Kipling’s Kim, albeit some thirty years older. For all of my general resistance to the concept of a novelist writing books using characters created by other writers, I love this series. King knows her source material well and treats it with love and respect. Her plotting is excellent and her characters are credible and interesting. She can also evoke the time and place in which her novels are set without fussy period detail. Of course, like a lot of fiction of this genre, this is a highly implausible tale and when I finished reading the book the silliness of it all struck home. But while reading, I was completely in the narrative and totally prepared to suspend disbelief. Knowing that Kimball O’Hara was to make an appearance in this novel made me decide to read Kipling’s Kim for the first time. It’s a book I'd previously avoided because I’m not keen on boys’ own adventure stories and I felt a bit iffy about Kipling generally because of his reputation as a supporter of the British imperialist enterprise. However, I listened to an audiobook edition of Kim and it was wonderful. (My review, is here, should anyone be interested in reading it). My enjoyment of this novel was enhanced by the experience of listening to Kim and my experience of listening to Kim was enhanced by reading King’s homage to that work. Immersing myself in India under British rule for a few days has given me lots of reading and listening enjoyment.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Moonlight Reader

    Book 7 in my continuing Mary Russell audio project. I really like this installment - one of my favorite things that Laurie King does is bring in other literary characters. We've previously briefly met Lord Peter Wimsey, and now Kimball O'Hara of Rudyard Kipling fame becomes a central character in The Game. I'm also a huge fan of books set during the colonial England era, when the sun never set on the British empire. I feel a bit bad for liking these books as much as I do, because, of course, impe Book 7 in my continuing Mary Russell audio project. I really like this installment - one of my favorite things that Laurie King does is bring in other literary characters. We've previously briefly met Lord Peter Wimsey, and now Kimball O'Hara of Rudyard Kipling fame becomes a central character in The Game. I'm also a huge fan of books set during the colonial England era, when the sun never set on the British empire. I feel a bit bad for liking these books as much as I do, because, of course, imperial Britain was utterly abominable. Oppressive, overbearing and abusive to the native people, who did not need nor want their so-called "civilizing," thank you very much. But, to my shame, I do love reading these books. This isn't my favorite of the series - Justice Hall still remains the high water mark for me. And it lacks the atmospheric deliciousness of The Moor. But, I prefer it to A Letter of Mary and O Jerusalem. If my recollection serves me correctly, Locked Rooms - coming up next - is a favorite.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    This is the seventh book in the Mary Russell series, which involve partnering Sherlock Holmes, professionally and romantically, with an unlikely female counterpart: and I love them--ever since I discovered one of the middle books in the series, A Letter of Mary. Well, this particular book is a twofer. As King states in her Author's Thanks, "The Game may be read as a humble and profoundly felt homage to Rudyard Kipling's Kim, one of the great novels of the English language. If you, the reader, do This is the seventh book in the Mary Russell series, which involve partnering Sherlock Holmes, professionally and romantically, with an unlikely female counterpart: and I love them--ever since I discovered one of the middle books in the series, A Letter of Mary. Well, this particular book is a twofer. As King states in her Author's Thanks, "The Game may be read as a humble and profoundly felt homage to Rudyard Kipling's Kim, one of the great novels of the English language. If you, the reader, do not know the book, please do not delay that acquaintance." I hadn't read the book, and it's probably not necessary, but once I realized that The Game was based on that novel, I put this book down for a little detour to read Kim. I'm glad I did, not only because it was a great read in its own right, but I think doing so made this only more fun. And it seems a natural combination--Kipling's Kimball O'Hara and Doyle's Sherlock Holmes--two immortal characters of the British Empire, both with links to the "Great Game" of espionage. A friend who also loves the Russell series says one thing she appreciates is how each book is so different, in theme and setting, so the books don't get stale. The last one, Justice Hall, was set in England, this one certainly developed a very rich and different setting--that of India during the British Raj. I didn't perhaps love this quite as much as Justice Hall, but then so far that's my favorite of the lot. This one was certainly entertaining from beginning to end--a gripping and suspenseful read. And as my friend also pointed out in her own review, I think the Holmes/Russell relationship is even more to the fore here than usual--I love the chemistry between them--and yet Holmes never seemed to me out of the bounds of the character Conan Doyle created. Now the only thing I have to decide is whether or not to go on to the next in this series immediately or begin to space them out. At this rate I'll run out of the books soon, and sadly go into withdrawal until King writes the next one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Madhulika Liddle

    It is 1924, and in England, Mycroft Holmes summons his brother Sherlock and Sherlock's wife, Mary Russell, to a meeting. Mycroft has a request on behalf of the government: go to India to find Kimball O'Hara, the Kim of Rudyard Kipling's book. No, not a fictional character, but a flesh-and-blood man who was part of British Intelligence in India for many years, and has been missing for three years. With a Bolshevik Russia making restless noises to the north and Indian hill rajas ever susceptible t It is 1924, and in England, Mycroft Holmes summons his brother Sherlock and Sherlock's wife, Mary Russell, to a meeting. Mycroft has a request on behalf of the government: go to India to find Kimball O'Hara, the Kim of Rudyard Kipling's book. No, not a fictional character, but a flesh-and-blood man who was part of British Intelligence in India for many years, and has been missing for three years. With a Bolshevik Russia making restless noises to the north and Indian hill rajas ever susceptible to turning their coats and going over to the Reds to help them oust the British, Kim is needed. So Holmes and Russell go off to India, where they receive yet another assignment: to go to the hill state of Khanpur, whose maharaja, Jumalpandra 'Jimmy', seems to be up to something sneaky. Therefore, disguised as itinerant magicians and assisted by a cheeky little imp named Bindra, the couple set off from Delhi... I've read a few Holmes tributes over the past few years, and I approach each new one I come across with some hesitation. Laurie R King's book (this is the first I've read, though it is the seventh in the series) is not exactly a homage to Holmes, because its central character is the narrator Mary Russell. And she is no Watson. She is Russ, equal (or so it would seem) in every way to Holmes himself. In dexterity, deftness, resourcefulness, everything. But then, why bung in Holmes, anyway? If you're writing about the greatest fictional detective, why relegate him to an adventure which doesn't require him to do any sleuthing? Because that's what The Game is: an adventure story, not a detective story. And an adventure story that jars at every twist and turn. As an Indian, reading badly-researched books set in India can be thoroughly off putting, and this one was right there at the top. As soon as I saw that 'Jumalpandra' (which, if you know Hindi, sounds like a cross between the Hindi words for a laxative and 'to break wind'), I knew this was not going to be an easy ride. And it wasn't. Not with someone called Rambachadur. Not with descriptions of saris worn tucked into little more than a string, and with a scarf draped over the head and shoulders. Not with the awful Hindi mentioned (thankfully only occasionally) as being spoken by supposed natives. Not with the many other errors relating to food, geography, costume, local tradition, etc. (And the tone of the narrator, while possibly true to the period, struck me as offensive and patronising by turn). My cribs with the book didn't stop there. The maharajas, true, did lead lives of debauchery more fantastic than fiction can probably make it, but the description of the maharaja's excesses in The Game are just too over the top to be believable. It's almost as if Laurie King decided that if she were going to set a book in the exotic East, it had to be as exotic as she could make it. Leave no stone unturned, so to say. Plus, I found something very icky about a 24-year old woman married to a 63-year old man. Even if the man is Sherlock Holmes. A domesticated Holmes, perhaps, though, who seems singularly adept at combing Mary Russell's long hair and pinning it up. If you like the Holmes canon, give this as wide a berth as you possibly can. And if you're Indian, the same applies. Avoid.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    How audacious of Laurie R. King - to reason that if Sherlock Holmes was actually a real person, then why couldn't Kim (of Kipling's book) also be a real person! Hence, the "Game" of this title refers to the "Great Game" of Victorian times. This book was a lot of fun.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. We'd talked on a prior entry on my journal about how the entire Mary Russell series can be easily argued to be one of the most successful and longest-running Mary Sue storylines ever. This is not to say that the storyline and concept suck--just that the notion of sticking a new character into the established canon of a popular set of stories, having her be every bit as brilliant as the main character, having her be the main driving force behind the resolution of a lot of the storylines, and wind We'd talked on a prior entry on my journal about how the entire Mary Russell series can be easily argued to be one of the most successful and longest-running Mary Sue storylines ever. This is not to say that the storyline and concept suck--just that the notion of sticking a new character into the established canon of a popular set of stories, having her be every bit as brilliant as the main character, having her be the main driving force behind the resolution of a lot of the storylines, and winding up as the wife of the aforementioned main character is, well, rife with Sue-ishness. And unfortunately, that kept lingering in the back of my mind as I was reading The Game. Another Mary Sue symptom is how the "new character" is (to borrow a word from LJ user waysofseeing) omni-competent, able to do everything that the canon characters do and oftentimes better. Russell does a lot of this in The Game. She slurps up Hindustani in the course of several days' hardcore studying, and while she claims to the reader that she gets to the point of being able to sound like an "amiable idiot", her presumed lack of true facility with the language does not seem to impact her ability to communicate later on through the book. She takes a scant nineteen hours to practice passing herself off as a male British officer, despite her assertion that to do it properly would take longer. And naturally, despite her lack of experience with the entire concept of an Indian pig hunt, she manages to achieve the honor of a first blood on an animal--and then later actually kills it when she and the maharaja go back out to take care of it. A Mary Sue can also frequently be identified by how often everyone around her likes her. In this plot, we got a young woman (Sunny Goodheart--and what a name, I might add) who more than once gushingly admired how Mary was, well, omni-competent--and it is further hinted that the young woman's brother Thomas is attracted to her. Nor is he the only one--the aforementioned maharaja, nicknamed Jimmy, is clearly also drawn to Russell and wants to keep her around. While he shows no sign of actual attraction, the British agent Russell and Holmes meet up with, Nesbit, certainly seems to exude masculine respect for Russell's competence. So does Kimball O'Hara, once he finally comes on camera (and I'll get back to him in a minute). And even aside from all the major characters in the plot, none of the minor ones present Russell with any real difficulty. No one hinders her in any interesting fashion or even takes ill to her in any way. All of this combined to pretty much make me really wish that Russell had run into more challenges in this book. The previous entries in the series did not seem to come across to me as having this problem so much, but in this one, I fear I kept mentally rolling my eyes and thinking, "yeah yeah yeah, of course she's going to kill the pig" and other similar thoughts. I was actively disappointed when she started telling the reader about how she'd pissed off the maharaja by stating her intention to leave--and how she then lobbed the red herring of starting to talk about how she didn't hear the men sneaking in to lock her into her rooms, making you think "oh, finally, things are getting interesting." Except that the reason that she didn't hear them coming was of course because she wasn't there, because of course she already knew that they were on to her and she'd escaped already. Sigh. Aside from all of the Mary Sue issues, the plot struck me as shaky as well--mostly due to the whole idea of Russell and Holmes going to India to look for O'Hara, except oh look, here's this potential Russian spy wandering around, and he's got connections to this maharaja, so let's send Russell over to check the maharaja out instead. Except oh look! Of course this maharaja's had O'Hara locked up for the last three years! And oh yeah, did we mention that the mysterious smart kid (see previous comments I have made about how an Uncannily Smart Kid is a sign that a plot is going to suck) who's attached himself to Holmes and Russell is of course O'Hara's son? Way, way, way too much convenience all around. Last but not least we have O'Hara himself. Now, I'm already well aware that it's very gimmicky to have Russell, King's protagonist, running around in the Sherlock Holmes universe to begin with--King is already invoking the gimmick of using someone else's long-established and by now public-domain characters in her work. So one could argue that for her to also pull in O'Hara from the work of Rudyard Kipling is hardly unexpected. But the problem is, for me that crossed a line somewhere and made his presence feel almost "gimmicky" to me. I've had a similar feeling from oh, say, episodes of the Young Indiana Jones TV series, where Young Indiana Jones had a pile of adventures meeting all sorts of Famous Historical Persons and as I recall, some Famous Actually Fictional But Real In the Series Persons as well. Handled well, it can be entertaining--and from what little we saw of O'Hara, he seemed like an interesting character. But I also suffered from never actually having read Kim in the first place, and I can't help but think that The Game might have been way more interesting to someone who's read that book. Which leads me also into thinking that it may well have relied too heavily upon a reader's previous familiarity with Kim to evoke interest in this new plot. A good bit of O'Hara's backstory was given, except that it went into the territory of "too much tell and not enough show". O'Hara is on camera for so little a portion of the book that I felt kind of cheated, given all this buildup and hardly any payoff. So overall, not terribly satisfying. King has done better--and in fact did do better with Locked Rooms.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Laurie King's The Game is a pleasure for the senses and mind. The Gameis chock full of interesting and beloved characters: Sherlock Holmes; his equally smart, competent, and courageous wife; and the grown-up version of Rudyard Kipling's Kim (and, perhaps, his reincarnation). King both writes and thinks beautifully. And, like other Holmes novels – King's and Doyle's – The Game is both cerebral and adventurous. The Game is the seventh book in King's Mary Russell series. This book largely takes plac Laurie King's The Game is a pleasure for the senses and mind. The Gameis chock full of interesting and beloved characters: Sherlock Holmes; his equally smart, competent, and courageous wife; and the grown-up version of Rudyard Kipling's Kim (and, perhaps, his reincarnation). King both writes and thinks beautifully. And, like other Holmes novels – King's and Doyle's – The Game is both cerebral and adventurous. The Game is the seventh book in King's Mary Russell series. This book largely takes place in India, a land that is fertile ground for the novelist: This is a land that gives one little of what is expected or desired, but an abundance of what proves later to have been needed. The process proves hugely disorientating, with the result that even the most stable of individuals rather go to pieces. (p. 73)Like some other books from this series, Ms. Russell goes undercover as a man. I wouldn't be able to pull off this gender-bendering – even with my hair cut and a change in clothing; nonetheless, I enjoy reading about characters who convince me that they can do this successfully (this is at least the third book that I've read this year with characters successfully passing). I enjoy it both for the unexpected twist, but also for the opportunities it allows the novelist – and us – to consider the meaning of gender (and in the case of this book, to a lesser extent race and religion): the male’s passion for games often led him to become frivolous towards those things requiring serious thought, and to be serious about the essentially frivolous (p. 151). Unlike some series, King's Russell series works both when read in order, but also out of order (which I think I've done). Finally, I enjoyed King's allusions to Kim and have started reading and enjoying Kipling's book. A good recommendation is always appreciated.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kribu

    I'm trying so hard to pace myself with these books, because I just don't want to risk getting tired before getting done, or exhausting the series too quickly, but, well, best laid plans and all that. Anyway, this was another very enjoyable read. It did take me a bit to get into the right mindset this time - I'm not really sure why - and certain things, while absolutely understandable and reasonable in context of time period, class, necessity and so on and so forth do require a conscious decision I'm trying so hard to pace myself with these books, because I just don't want to risk getting tired before getting done, or exhausting the series too quickly, but, well, best laid plans and all that. Anyway, this was another very enjoyable read. It did take me a bit to get into the right mindset this time - I'm not really sure why - and certain things, while absolutely understandable and reasonable in context of time period, class, necessity and so on and so forth do require a conscious decision to accept and/or ignore. On the plus side, while Russell and Holmes spend a considerable amount of time separated, as usual, I almost found their relationship stronger than in some of the previous books, perhaps because the affection they have for each other was a little more obvious this time. I love them as partners in crime (or in the solving of crime, as it may be), but while I don't require a lot of overt romance, it is good to see a glimpse of these two being more than merely two people working together.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ❂ Jennifer

    An excellent, brilliantly written adventure story that starts off slow and picks up speed as it goes, but Big Trigger warning: animal cruelty/harm is a big part of this story. Had I known, I would have passed this book completely. If that doesn't bother you, there's not much else not to like about this book. Full review: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/106426... An excellent, brilliantly written adventure story that starts off slow and picks up speed as it goes, but Big Trigger warning: animal cruelty/harm is a big part of this story. Had I known, I would have passed this book completely. If that doesn't bother you, there's not much else not to like about this book. Full review: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/106426...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    A birthday dinner with Mycroft on Mary's twenty-fourth birthday in January, 1924, sends Holmes and Russell to India to search for Kimball O'Hara who hasn't been seen for three years. Tensions are rising in India. The nationalist uprising under Ghandi is gaining momentum and the rivalry between Russia and the British is also fierce. The change from a Tsar to the Bolsheviks didn't really change the desire to gain control of India. Neither did the newly elected Socialist Party change Britain's. The A birthday dinner with Mycroft on Mary's twenty-fourth birthday in January, 1924, sends Holmes and Russell to India to search for Kimball O'Hara who hasn't been seen for three years. Tensions are rising in India. The nationalist uprising under Ghandi is gaining momentum and the rivalry between Russia and the British is also fierce. The change from a Tsar to the Bolsheviks didn't really change the desire to gain control of India. Neither did the newly elected Socialist Party change Britain's. The story begins with the ocean voyage to India where Mary undergoes a crash course in Hindustani and immersion in the Mahabharata to gain an understanding of the culture. She also meets Sunny Goodheart, her mother who is inspired by an Indian Teacher, and her brother who is a budding Communist. Repeated run-ins with the Goodhearts raise suspicions in both Mary and Sherlock. The suspicions reach their peak when the Goodhearts are found to be visitors to the Maharajah of Khanpur. The Maharajah is supposed to be a staunch ally of Britain but there are some questions since his country is near where O'Hara was last seen. Holmes and Russell begin their investigation by taking on the personas of traveling magicians. They gather a young donkey boy named Bindra along with his donkey and cart and begin to make their way across India. I loved the descriptions of the land and people as seen through Mary's eyes. Mary becomes herself again when she meets the Goodhearts and has a chance to enter Khanpur as their guest. However, Holmes and Bindra are keeping their personas and will meet her later in Khanpur. Mary gets a chance to get to know the Maharajah and finds him to be a volatile personality with a secret political agenda. He seems fascinated by Mary especially after she joined him on a hunt for feral hogs and did well. When she wants to leave, he tries to keep her there. Fortunately, she managed to resume her identity as a traveling magician and slip away from him for a while leaving him in a rage. She and Sherlock are traveling to get out of Khanpur when the Maharajah catches up to them. He captures Sherlock but Mary is able to make her escape out of Khanpur and to a trusted British agent. Then the two of them need to find a way back in to confirm suspicions about the Maharajah's goals and, more importantly to Mary, to rescue Holmes. This story was filled with adventure and danger and political intrigue. I loved the mystery and Mary's world. I enjoyed the ties to Rudyard Kipling's KIM and the look at India through Mary's eyes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    RWBresearch

    Recently I've been rereading all of King's Mary Russell series of adventure mysteries, which are based on the premise that Sherlock Holmes was a real person, who took up with a young woman, Mary Russell, as a partner and (spoiler alert) eventually a spouse. They are as good the second time around. If you haven't read these, you should start with The Beekeeper's Apprentice, in which Holmes and Mary and Mary learns about detection from him. The first ones in the series are mostly based in Britain, Recently I've been rereading all of King's Mary Russell series of adventure mysteries, which are based on the premise that Sherlock Holmes was a real person, who took up with a young woman, Mary Russell, as a partner and (spoiler alert) eventually a spouse. They are as good the second time around. If you haven't read these, you should start with The Beekeeper's Apprentice, in which Holmes and Mary and Mary learns about detection from him. The first ones in the series are mostly based in Britain, but in the later books in the series the settings move to more exotic territories. This most recent one, The Game, takes place in early twentieth-century India. I really enjoy these novels for a couple of reasons. First, Mary Russell is a engaging feminist protagonist: she's an Oxford scholar of theology but also strong and resilient (and very handy with any sort of weapon you might have to give her). In many ways, the books are really about her as much about Holmes (although he is drawn very well). Second, King is very good at evoking a sense of place: in this book, the depictions of travel and of India are rich and detailed. In all of the books the action moves very slowly, as King unfolds characters and settings, and this one moves a bit too slowly even for my taste (which accounts for the loss of one star on this one). But it was still satisfying.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

    I’m so glad I put Mary and SH on pause while I finally read Kipling’s Kim. It made the game just that much more satisfying. I had intended to read the classic story for years. I really enjoy how the author wove the characters together. It made a very exciting mystery. Strange that the story line summary indicates that the mystery starts with a visit "from" Mycroft. Mary and Sherlock actually went to visit him.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series, Book #7 January 1924 In response to a request from Holme's brother Mycroft, Mary and Holmes are off tho India to solve their latest mystery. This story is a total homage to the book Kim by Rudyard Kipling. Holmes and Mary are tasked with finding Kimball O'Hara who is now 37 years old and still working as a spy for the British Crown. Kim has not been seen or heard from in 3 years, and Mary and Holmes are to find out if he is still alive, or if he has betraye Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series, Book #7 January 1924 In response to a request from Holme's brother Mycroft, Mary and Holmes are off tho India to solve their latest mystery. This story is a total homage to the book Kim by Rudyard Kipling. Holmes and Mary are tasked with finding Kimball O'Hara who is now 37 years old and still working as a spy for the British Crown. Kim has not been seen or heard from in 3 years, and Mary and Holmes are to find out if he is still alive, or if he has betrayed Britain and is now working for the "other side". What do the Russians have to do with it, if anything? Does the Maharajah of the Kampair region, where he was last headed, know anything? I enjoyed this book very much. The sights and sounds of India come through beautifully in Laurie R. King's written words. The massive size of the country, the density of the population, and the incredible disparagement of the wealth in India are portrayed honestly. As an American the idea that a population is so dense that it is difficult to ever be alone, is not easy to comprehend. I actually felt crowded and penned in by people as I read about Mary and Holme's journey through India. Also the native Indian's resentment at the British hold on their country comes through clearly. I recommend this book to all Sherlock fans. I marked it down a half star because although I enjoyed the book very much, the mystery was more obvious than I would have liked. 3.5 stars!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    A fascinating and fun entry to the series. Holmes and Russell get to do good old fashioned sleuthing but there's the added fun of looking for the missing Kim of Kipling fame. Besides an enjoyable story, I found the background on the politics of the area to be as thought provoking as her earlier delve into Palestine. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    Again, a brilliant idea, beautifully executed. To repeat myself yet again, I am generally disapproving when a writer plucks up another writer's characters and makes use of them. But that's largely because it's usually done so horribly badly, and is so rarely done with any respect for the original author, the characters, or the reader. Laurie R. King can do whatever she wants, take whatever characters or historical figures she likes, and bring them into her books in whatever manner she likes, bec Again, a brilliant idea, beautifully executed. To repeat myself yet again, I am generally disapproving when a writer plucks up another writer's characters and makes use of them. But that's largely because it's usually done so horribly badly, and is so rarely done with any respect for the original author, the characters, or the reader. Laurie R. King can do whatever she wants, take whatever characters or historical figures she likes, and bring them into her books in whatever manner she likes, because she has earned my trust. She does her homework, she knows what she's doing, and she has complete respect for the original material or real person, as the case may be. If anyone from Tom Sawyer to Bilbo Baggins to Harrison Ford appears in a Holmes/Russell novel, I will have faith that she has her reasons and can pull it off. (Maybe Indiana Jones, when Russell is in her 40's …that would be awesome.) The idea behind The Game was to me at first as wild as bringing Bilbo Baggins into the storyline, but only because I don't know the Kipling novel. (Note to self …) In any event, it's wonderful. Kimball O’Hara here is a legend among those in the know (which Holmes, of course, is, and Mycroft moreseo), and it is to find out what has become of him that Holmes and Russell make their way to India. There they face danger and adventure of quantity and quality to please even Doyle – tigers, and madmen, and those who are not what they seem, spies and daredevil pilots and a rajah who collects the unusual, be it an artifact or a human being (and Holmes is unusual). A new story arc begins with The Game, wherein a new enemy is introduced – perhaps – and Homes and Russell become aware of a new threat trailing them. Meanwhile, the story takes them in and out of various deep disguises and personas, and separates and reunites them, and causes Mary to make a change which will cause untold anguish in Holmes … It's a great yarn, and, more than that, an excellent book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Thomas

    This seventh book of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series ranks as my second favorite so far (after the first of the series,The Beekeeper's Apprentice). This time around sees the couple off to British India in 1924 in search of the missing Kimball O’Hara. This is a very intriguing concept since Kimball O’Hara is better known to us as the fictional character “Kim” from Rudyard Kipling’s masterwork. To combine such prominent fictional British characters as Sherlock Holmes and Kim is ingenious a This seventh book of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series ranks as my second favorite so far (after the first of the series,The Beekeeper's Apprentice). This time around sees the couple off to British India in 1924 in search of the missing Kimball O’Hara. This is a very intriguing concept since Kimball O’Hara is better known to us as the fictional character “Kim” from Rudyard Kipling’s masterwork. To combine such prominent fictional British characters as Sherlock Holmes and Kim is ingenious and when you throw in the incredibly original character of Mary Russell as Sherlock’s young but equally brilliant wife, we get the foundation for a great story. The subcontinent of India, especially at the time in which this novel takes place has always fascinated me. It’s just crying out for adventure and this novel doesn’t disappoint. It’s really more of an international espionage novel than a traditional Sherlock Holmes detective novel, something that can be said about all of the novels in this series. Kim is a trained British spy but has disappeared and so Mary and Sherlock act as spies themselves, going undercover as native travelling magicians to gather clues. The title, “The Game” refers to the Great Game of espionage. This was the time of Gandhi; political strife between Britain and Russia was prominent with India caught in between. It’s a lush landscape and to watch the characters play out the plot is a lot of fun.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Excellent! A good mixture of mystery, adventure, and history all rolled into a yarn that's hard to put down. But, as usual in her books, Ms King challenges me to go off and expand my horizons. For "The Game" of course I had to go read Kipling's "Kim". (Can't imagine why I'd never read it before, and I really wish I had!) With Justice Hall I learned about the "Shot at Dawn Memorial" (http://www.flickr.com/search/?ss=2&am...), and as "Locked Rooms" is next up for me, obviously I'm off to brush up o Excellent! A good mixture of mystery, adventure, and history all rolled into a yarn that's hard to put down. But, as usual in her books, Ms King challenges me to go off and expand my horizons. For "The Game" of course I had to go read Kipling's "Kim". (Can't imagine why I'd never read it before, and I really wish I had!) With Justice Hall I learned about the "Shot at Dawn Memorial" (http://www.flickr.com/search/?ss=2&am...), and as "Locked Rooms" is next up for me, obviously I'm off to brush up on Hammett's Sam Spade, Nick and Nora Charles, etc., before tackling it. A "Good Read"!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Jensen

    Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes travel to the interior of India in search of someone who inspired Kipling's "Kim." I'm always surprised at the lengths that Miss Russell and Holmes will go to in order to solve a mystery. This borrows a bit from "The Most Dangerous Game" but adds its own twist on the genre. And just when I think I have it all figured out, King surprises me again and again! Great read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    BJ Rose

    Loved the emphasis on Rudyard Kipling's Kim, all grown up and now missing. So Mycroft sends Sherlock and Mary to India to find him. A big enjoyment is reading about their travels, and the very fortuitously discovered young man who guides them along the byways.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    "Another woman might have been cowed, but another woman was not Mary Russell" I love this series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebeccah

    Although the last couple in the series haven't come close to "O Jerusalem" levels of magnificence, any chance to hang out with Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes is a treat. The plot took a while to kick into high gear, but the twists and turns in the action of the final chapters more than made up for it. This one is definitely solid spy-thriller rather than detective novel, but I didn't mind the change of pace, even if Sherlock felt a little less relevant here. And where "O Jerusalem" had me long Although the last couple in the series haven't come close to "O Jerusalem" levels of magnificence, any chance to hang out with Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes is a treat. The plot took a while to kick into high gear, but the twists and turns in the action of the final chapters more than made up for it. This one is definitely solid spy-thriller rather than detective novel, but I didn't mind the change of pace, even if Sherlock felt a little less relevant here. And where "O Jerusalem" had me longing to trek the deserts of Palestine, the Indian setting here was interesting, but nowhere near as evocative. All in all a very enjoyable read which has me eager to continue the series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Judie

    It was January 1, 1924, when Mycroft Holmes, recovering from an illness, called his brother Sherlock and his wife, Mary Russell, to London. The government had recently changed and it wanted to investigate the disappearance of Kimball O’Mara, (famous as the title character in Rudyard Kipling’s book KIM. When last heard of, he had been in India. Some British agents had been eliminated and there was also concern about the rising influence of the Communists. Mycroft asked Shelock and Mary to travel It was January 1, 1924, when Mycroft Holmes, recovering from an illness, called his brother Sherlock and his wife, Mary Russell, to London. The government had recently changed and it wanted to investigate the disappearance of Kimball O’Mara, (famous as the title character in Rudyard Kipling’s book KIM. When last heard of, he had been in India. Some British agents had been eliminated and there was also concern about the rising influence of the Communists. Mycroft asked Shelock and Mary to travel to India to learn what they could. Mary is the narrator of the story and describes not only of the characters, scenery, and buildings but also of the food and clothing. In some cases, she contrasts it with what they had seen on previous adventures. For example: “It was...both like our wandering time in Palestine and yet very different. Most of the difference lay in the population density.” THE GAME refers not only to the intelligence community but also to the role of sporting events, particularly between the British and the Indians. Among the people they meet are a family from the United States and a Maharaja in India, with whom she spent several days in his magnificent home. Among the activities he offered to his guests was pig sticking. When one member of the American trio suggested having a world cup for pig sticking, the maharaja replied, “The British do not need to train for sticking pig. They simply arrange the rules to their satisfaction.” Laurie King has excellent command of language and presents wonderful oral visions descriptions: “My sacrifice was to be the climax of the evening’s events, and he had worked the crowd into a near frenzy, playing on their rustic gullibility as on a fine instrument.” The book is adventure with some history thrown in to put it into context. As always, Laurie King’s writing is very detailed though, at times, seemed to drag. It is, however, an excellent addition to the series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    K.A. Wiggins

    An excellent, entertaining read as always. Set in the late colonial occupation of India; seems to be an ongoing trend with the series, taking Sherlock beyond the borders of Britain. King's descriptive prose brings immersive colour and texture to this spy-travel-adventure.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Great adventure in India, where Sherlock becomes the most dangerous prey.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Berjerac

    I enjoyed the Mary Russell Sherlock Holmes stories; a good light detective mystery and similar in some ways to Agatha Christie. I started reading these to get back into reading (couldn’t concentrate) and it worked. I like the different journeys and lands that these stories take you to ( in this case, India after WWI). It has inspired me to research the history of the country during that period

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Raye Harris

    I so enjoy this series!

  29. 4 out of 5

    colleen the convivial curmudgeon

    2.5 I was recently talking about this series with a friend of mine, and I told her how I have a sort of love/hate relationship with this series. Or, at least, love/ambivalence. Because I really like the idea of the stories, and I love the characters and their interactions... but they actual plots/mysteries have often been the weaker aspects of the books. I can deal with so-so plots, though, as long as I'm loving the characters. Of course, after saying that, I was reading this book and couldn't hel 2.5 I was recently talking about this series with a friend of mine, and I told her how I have a sort of love/hate relationship with this series. Or, at least, love/ambivalence. Because I really like the idea of the stories, and I love the characters and their interactions... but they actual plots/mysteries have often been the weaker aspects of the books. I can deal with so-so plots, though, as long as I'm loving the characters. Of course, after saying that, I was reading this book and couldn't help but notice that even the character interactions were a bit sparse and lackluster. There were a few really good moments, mind you... but... And this was followed by the realization that, at a little more than half-way through, I didn't feel like much had actually happened (unless you count Mary's remarkable ability to learn new languages and juggling and all sorts of nifty things in a couple of weeks, while travelling and doing a million other things... ) It did pick up after that, and things were pretty interesting for awhile, but while I thought the ending was decent enough, it was not enough of a pay-off for the really slow build up - especially since, as I said, even the character stuff was lacking. I felt like this one had so much travelogue and descriptions. I mean, I like to feel immersed in the world and all, but I sort of started zoning at all the political stuff. Maybe we can blame Mycroft... I had been warned when I started this series that the books started going downhill after the 5th, or so. I was sort of hoping that my experience would be different, but I'm sad to think that this installment is an example of what's to come... because it was definitely the weakest of the lot so far. (I mean, I thought 'Letter of Mary' had a really slow and meandering build-up, but at least the ending mostly made up for it...) Anyway - I haven't written off the series yet. Hope springs eternal and all that... and I guess we'll see what the next installment brings - when I get around to reading it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Funnily enough, last time I read a Mary Russell book set outside of England, I remarked that I preferred those that were set in England – I may have to eat my words. This is a rollicking caper set primarily in India that becomes more like a modern day thriller than a novel that contains Sherlock Holmes- yet this didn’t detract from my enjoyment. The search for a missing spy is the tenuous starting point but the journey by boat to India, the learning of magician’s skills, the new friends and the Funnily enough, last time I read a Mary Russell book set outside of England, I remarked that I preferred those that were set in England – I may have to eat my words. This is a rollicking caper set primarily in India that becomes more like a modern day thriller than a novel that contains Sherlock Holmes- yet this didn’t detract from my enjoyment. The search for a missing spy is the tenuous starting point but the journey by boat to India, the learning of magician’s skills, the new friends and the maharaja and his kingdom are all of interest and sometimes make us forget what the actual premise of the mission was! Holmes appearances are a little sparser than usual as Mary takes center stage showcasing every one of her myriad abilities but there are plenty of other notable characters to take some of the limelight- although I would like to have seen more of the enigmatic ‘Kim’. ‘The Game’ doesn’t contain a great deal of detection with far more focus on disguises and subterfuge but that didn’t take away from how exciting the scenes such as the pig sticking and escape scenes were. Liberties were no doubt taken with the description of the extent of the maharaja’s excesses –or maybe not - but the picture Laurie King painted of the kingdom of Khanpur and the discussion of the political situation at the time with the British, Ghandi, the native rulers and the Bolsheviks was all enlightening for me. These novels don’t purport to be histories but Laurie King always succeeds in creating a plausible and rich background for her characters. My interest in these novels was beginning to wane a little but ‘The Game’ has put them firmly back on my radar!

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