The God of the Hive
King’s tenth Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes novel starts where the previous entry, The Language of Bees, leaves off. It is 1924, and Sherlock and Russell are being pursued by an enemy who is not merely invisible; he seems invincible. This enemy appears to have unlimited resources; his agents know Holmes’ and Russell’s next moves before they even contemplate them. Their decision to split up to accomplish a mutual goal is likely not the best solution, but it is what they decide must be done for the good of all.
While Sherlock ensures that his son, Damian, is out of harm’s way (he thinks), Russell’s role is to protect Damian’s daughter, Estelle, but they are targets as well. Even though Holmes and Russell are almost a continent away from each other, they still communicate in ways only they understand, sharing a mutual goal – to discover who is behind the effort to destroy the very underpinnings of the government and to take over its intelligence forces. Even Sherlock’s brother, the indomitable Mycroft who is, himself, the most high-ranking intelligence officer in the land, is entangled in this web, taken prisoner and targeted for death. This is a dangerous, ubiquitous foe who will, clearly, stop at nothing.
Fascinating third parties are brought into this complex story, a spy thriller at its best. A young hermit saves Mary and her granddaughter when their plane crashes in the woods; his story, as it evolves, is mysterious yet heart-breaking. Holmes kidnaps a young woman doctor to care for Damian’s wounds, but she has much to hide and asks few questions. Everyone has secrets and nothing is as it seems.
My personal opinion, though, is that this installment should be read after The Language of Bees. That’s not a bad thing! Highly recommended.