The Game Hardcover – Mar 2 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
The seventh Mary Russell adventure (after 2002's Justice Hall) may well be the best King has yet devised for her strong-willed heroine. It's 1924, and Kimball O'Hara, the "Kim" of the famous Rudyard Kipling novel, has disappeared. Fearing some kind of geopolitical crisis in the making, Mycroft Holmes sends his brother and Mary to India to uncover what happened. En route, they encounter the insufferable Tom Goodhearta wealthy young American who has embraced Communismtraveling with his mother and sister to visit his maharaja friend, Jumalpandra ("Jimmy"), an impossibly rich and charming ruler of the (fictional) Indian state of Khanpur. With some local intelligence supplied by Geoffrey Nesbit, an Englishman of the old school, and accompanied by Bindra, a resourceful orphan, the couple travel incognito as native magicians (Mary, it goes without saying, learns Hindi on the voyage out). Ultimately, their journey intersects with the paths of the Goodhearts and the mysterious Jimmy. At times, travelogue and cultural history trump plot, but the sights, smells and ideas of India make interesting, evocative reading (Mary's foray into the dangerous sport of pig-sticking is particularly fascinating). If for some Mary Russell is too perfect a character to be as enduringly compelling as Holmes, all readers will appreciate the grace and intelligence of King's writing in this exotic masala of a book.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School–Once apprentice, now investigator, Mary Russell travels to India in 1925 with her former mentor, now husband, Sherlock Holmes. In this seventh adventure, the duo is searching for Kimball O'Hara, the Kim of Rudyard Kipling's eponymous novel. On a mission from Sherlock's brother Mycroft, long involved in British espionage, they are tasked with finding Kim or evidence of his status as victim or traitor. Sailing to India on a luxury liner, they meet an American family with a debutante daughter, a social-climbing mother, and a left-leaning son, who of course reappear at a strategic moment. Upon their arrival, Mary and Sherlock disguise themselves as native traveling magicians and seek out an anti-English and very sadistic maharaja, "Jimmy." With her usual thorough research, King imbues the mystery with lots of historical detail and a real sense of time and place. This is one of the best in the series and can easily be read on its own, though readers will then want to go back and see how the strange, but surprisingly plausible, meeting and union between a young Mary and a considerably older Holmes actually occurs. Likewise, a previous reading of Kim is unnecessary, but teens will likely be intrigued enough to go on to read that as well. A sure bet for mystery lovers and historical fiction fans.–Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Top Customer Reviews
In the second part of the book, after Russell and Holmes meet up again in the context of the Maharajah's castle, plot details get neatly resolved with the same handiness and speediness with which the action suddenly moves along. Too many coincidences here, and too many telling details from earlier in the book unresolved. Do we suspect a rush job on the ending to meet a publication schedule?
I feel that I should also mention King's mastery of location. King has done her homework and gives riveting and exquisite detail to each setting in the series. Whether you find yourself nestled within a cozy cottage sipping tea; shivering from the chill tramping through the morning mist on the moor; struggling through a crowded bazaar assaulted by a cacophany of street vendor cries and the aromatic scents of spices for sale; awakening to the swish of camels' feet and the creak of leather against wood leaving the Bedouin camp; being charmed by the tingling of goat bells pulling carts down dusty lanes; or absorbed by the lushness and darkness of Kipling's India - you will never be disappointed or dismissive of each book's background.
In other words, King writes good solid entertaining literature. Not drivel.
It felt, to me, like it should have been longer by about 100 pages, most of that going into character development and the second half of the story that took place in India. The mystery seemed a little too simple. There were a lot of characters, which is not a bad thing, but a lot of them weren't fully developed and could have been used more successfully. There's also at least one unresolved plot element (those of you who've read it may have caught this-- the emeralds? Where did they go? We know from BEEK that they survived, yet there's no mention of sending luggage home or anything to explain where they went in between the time H & R leave the cruise ship and the beginning of BEEK.) Overall, it felt like the shadow of a greater work.
On the other hand, I really enjoyed the portion of the book dealing with Holmes' and Russell's time on the cruise ship. That was the best part of the book, definitely what I've come to expect. It just didn't go anywhere spectacular. The suspenseful action near the end was also good, and very entertaining. It would make a good general-audience movie, I think.
My main critique is that there seemed to me to be only one level to the story. In the past installments, there's been at least two, usually three or four levels to the story, creating an integrated whole, but in this one, the extra levels were fragmentary at best. This was a straightforward action-adventure, and there's nothing wrong with that, except in contrast with the more substantial novels in the series.
So, yes, this is an essential read if you're obsessed with the Mary Russell series, like me. But, no, this is not the best book you'll ever read.
Holmes is selected because he spent time in India during his own great disappearance, has met O'Hara, and, I suspect, because his wife is Mary Russell. Mary is every bit Holmes equal, and in some ways his better. First as a team, and then separately, they adventure to Northern India and the Principality of Khanpur, where they must face corruption, insanity, and sedition in an adventure that becomes quite a bit more than a rescue mission.
King does her usual best to mix plenty of fact into her fiction, so that 'The Game' becomes a travelogue and a sociological record in addition to an adventure. There is less deduction in this novel than in some of her other Russell/Holmes stories. Due mostly to the fact that the clues always lead in one direction and the real excitement becomes the tricks, feats, and disguises that enable the team to survive and conquer. King also excels at developing a supporting cast, and as one might expect from a book set in India, that cast is almost numberless.
My only real criticism is that the story is very slow paced. Indeed, it is timed more like a travel diary than an adventure novel.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The Game offers a new setting (India) with the typical well researched backdrop and fun, interesting new characters that characterize Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series. Read morePublished on July 12 2004
I liked this book very much. The details of life in a prince's palace were fascinating, particularly the pig sticking. The book moves right along for one so richly detailed. Read morePublished on May 29 2004 by Jessicathecat
While "A Beekeeper's Apprentice" remains my favorite of this series, this book is just a pleasure to read. History, adventure, mystery, and just plain fun.Published on May 25 2004 by Peter L. Swinford
Thank you Laurie King! I wish I could erase my memory and read it again immediately! Perhaps reading Kim instead will help me get by until the next installment. Read morePublished on May 17 2004 by Charles Olson
Laurie R. King's latest Mary Russell novel is marketed as " a novel of suspense," and that is a very accurate description. Read morePublished on April 17 2004 by Celia A. Sgroi
It would be easier to list what this book doesn't have than what it does. There's everything but the kitchen sink, and that's a good thing, for this stellar, atmospheric,... Read morePublished on April 6 2004
I picked up this series a few weeks ago and devoured it at a rate unhealthy to my education. The first is always special, but I have to say the last is the best (though that might... Read morePublished on April 3 2004 by Kristiana W
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