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A Monstrous Regiment of Women Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1 1996

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A Monstrous Regiment of Women + The Beekeeper's Apprentice: or, On the Segregation of the Queen + O Jerusalem
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (Dec 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553574566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553574562
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.5 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #190,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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In The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R. King came up with a completely original story that had Sherlock Holmes as one of its principal characters but was in no way part of the Holmes canon. The focus of that book was a young woman, Mary Russell. Now in A Monstrous Regiment of Women, Mary Russell's adventures as a student of the famous detective continue. A series of murders claims members of a strange suffrage organization's wealthy young female volunteers, and Mary, with Holmes in the background, investigates, little knowing what danger she personally faces.

Laurie R. King is also the author of the Edgar Award-winning novel A Grave Talent. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

King's second mystery tale of a young woman who's a protege of Sherlock Holmes.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I recently reread King's Mary Russell series after reading the newest edition, "The Game," and I think "A Monstrous Regiment of Women" is still my favorite, though I'd recommend the whole series to anyone who's interested in an intelligent turn-of-the-century mystery starring an acerbic, intelligent woman who is more than the equal of the famous Sherlock Holmes.
I think "A Monstrous Regiment of Women" is the book I most enjoyed because it shows Russell pursuing a case that is entirely her own -- mysterious deaths among the followers of a charismatic feminist preacher -- and coming into her own as a woman in every sense of the word. Sherlock Holmes is very much present, but this is Russell's story and Russell is one of the most interesting characters I've encountered in mysteries.
I also enjoy the book because of the developing romantic relationship between Holmes and Russell. I've read the howls of protest from fans of Sherlock Holmes over this series, but I find King's books more enjoyable than Arthur Conan Doyle's. I took a course in college on Holmes and always viewed the stories as a rather quaint, stodgy, stilted picture of the Victorian era. By giving him Russell as a partner, King gave him a much needed shot in the arm and human vulnerabilities. Why wouldn't this Holmes fall in love with his best friend and partner? They're clearly soul mates. King makes the 39-year age difference insignificant.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"A Monstrous Regiment of Women," the sequel to "The Beekeeper's Apprentice," is a great book on its own, but is simply not the same as the first book. The charm is still there, but there's simply not the same spark.
Not to deter you, of course. It's a great story with a magnificent plot, the lovely story and plot line still there. It's simply the romantic undertones that are rather odd for my own feelings...
It is also extremely feministic. My father was...shall we say, adverse to the story...when he read it. He is not in favour of feminism, which drives all the women of the family insane. If you're anti-feministic, this movie will do the same to you as it has done to my father. The story, however, would make for an interesting movie. Many of these books would make for an interesting movie, actually, but this one would be very good for the modern day woman. That and "O Jerusalem," but the setting would be a little controversial for the times...
But back to the story: it is a wonderfully crafted story, but it simply isn't the same as the first book. You cannot help but be amazed at the ending, when you really learn about Mary like you never could have before. Enjoy the reading, and have fun!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
WARNING: about half of the other reviews here spoil a major plot point in this book!
Safe reviews to read (as of this date):
(4 stars) Not Beekeeper, But Entertaining & a Little Thought Provoking, August 16, 2002
(4 stars) Not As Good As Beekeeper, But a Good Transition Book, July 30, 2002
(4 stars) Uneven, but still quite good, March 20, 2002
(4 stars) I like this series!, December 3, 2001
(5 stars) Amazing! Breathtaking!, November 4, 2001
(3 stars) Good story ruined by obssession, August 26, 2001
I can sympathise with reviewers who miss the deliciously temperamental 15-year old Mary Russel from the first book in this series. The Beekeeper's Apprentice remains one of my all-time favorite works of fiction, certainly mystery fiction. Mary Russel, in this book, is a step up in maturity, and (unfortunately?) a step down in the know-it-all confidence that was so appropriate to her youthful self. But for those reviewers who ditch the book entirely based on the matured Mary Russel, and all that comes with it, I heartily dissagree!
I loved this book enough to read it twice, and I've only done that with about 5 books in my life! The characters are still solid, the relationship between Russel and Holmes sparse but satisfying, and the plot, although esoteric, is energized and wonderfully mysterious. And the ending (be careful not to have it spoiled for you!) all time favorite of any book!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Laurie King's preface explains that this "anonymous manuscript" was a difficult one to write for its author - filled with corrections and scratchings-out - and well it might be. Writing a novel featuring a combination of Sherlock Holmes, turn-of-the-century academia, feminism, theology (both Christian and Jewish) and a young woman is never going to be an easy task. King makes life significantly harder for herself by marrying Holmes and his partner Mary Russell at the end - a revelation which does not spoil the plot.
"A Monstrous Regiment Of Women" is still an engaging read. Holmes and Russell are as acerbic towards each other as they were in "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" and the plot takes its customary twists and turns. Where King falls down somewhat is in her attempts at infusing this second offering of the Mary Russell series with more overt feminism - in this case, via the charismatic preaching of the mysterious Margery Childe. The plot revolves around the mysterious deaths of women associated with Childe's organisation, and naturally the simplest way to solve it seems to be to infiltrate Russell into the organisation.
As a plot itself, "Monstrous Regiment" is entertaining. Childe's refusal to explain some of the more miraculous events connected to her works from both a mystery standpoint and the standpoint of Russell's theological studies, and the two women engage in some interesting Biblical analysis. It is King's constant bludgeoning of the reader with the feminist doctrines which Childe and Russell have adopted which halts the progress of the plot. From a sociological perspective, such work may be of interest, however it has no need to become the focal point of so much of this novel.
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