Professor Steve Seifert - University of New Mexico
"This is a meticulously researched and expertly plotted Holmes & Watson tale. It takes place mostly in an exotic location but feels very familiar in the voice of Dr. Watson and the typical brilliance of Holmes' unraveling of a deep mystery, and one that may threaten them both. Tim Symonds has captured the authorial voice of Dr. Watson as well as the ambience and attitudes of the era. The descriptions of the arduous overland journey to China as well as the sights, sounds, rituals, and politics of Dynastic China are brilliantly rendered and left me feeling as though I knew a great deal more about that bygone time and place after finishing the story than when I began, something I suspect would apply to many, no matter where on Earth they live. Others have summarized the plot and I will not add to that here. However, at the end of the book is an Epilogue with much additional information on the historical events from which many characters and plot points are drawn, as well as a descriptive glossary, English idioms, obscure words and phrases, and background readings that provide added value to the experience and for which I was quite eager after finishing the tale. Bravo!"
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It's the year 1906. Rumours abound that a deadly plot is hatching - not in the fog-ridden back-alleys of London's Limehouse district or the sinister Devon moors of the Hound of the Baskervilles but in faraway Peking. Holmes's task - discover whether such a plot exists and if so, foil it. But are the assassins targeting the young and progressive Ch'ing Emperor or his imperious aunt, the fearsome Empress Dowager Cixi? The murder of either could spark a civil war. The fate of China and the interests of Britain's vast Empire in the Orient could be at stake. Holmes and Watson take up the mission with their customary confidence – until they find they are no longer in the familiar landscapes of Edwardian England. Instead, they tumble into the Alice In Wonderland world of the Forbidden City.