The Sherlock Holmes Society of London
“In The Secret Journal of Dr Watson Phil Growick tells of Holmes and Watson’s most dangerous mission. In 1918, at the personal request of King George, they risk their lives to save those of the King’s cousins, the deposed Tsar Nicholas II and his family. On their journey deep into a Russia torn by violent revolution, they discover that friend and foe alike have their own agendas; even their most trustworthy helper, a Colonel in the secret police, is not what he seems. More dangerous even than the Reds and the Whites are the unknowns who want the Romanovs and their rescuers dead. The drama is exotic but the characters and events exude authenticity (and) the narrative carries you along like an express train."
"The Secret Journal of Dr. Watson takes Sherlock Holmes and his Boswell on an adventure to Russia during the Bolshevik revolution, putting them in contact with historical and fictional figures alike as they pursue the rescue of the Romanovs. Danger stalks them at every turn, and they are constantly confronted with their own mortality and the need for the detective’s mind to be at its most keen.
Growick takes the traditional approach of using Watson’s voice, conveyed in daily journal entries. This technique is effective, and the Holmes and Watson encountered by the reader are canonical and engaging. The book bears the official Conan Doyle estate seal with good reason; the quality of its research and writing are impressive.
History buffs will be particularly intrigued by the layered and fascinating explanation of the complexities of the Russian revolutionary situation, but those just looking for an enjoyable read will find themselves far from bored. Growick strikes an enjoyable balance between historical believability and fast-paced action.
Most of the Doylean stories keep Holmes and Watson close to home, putting them in London-based contexts or in the surrounding English countryside. Growick’s novel, with its more exotic and high-stakes setting, fits neatly with the later stories, those that place Holmes in retirement and beyond.
The Secret Journal of Dr. Watson is mysterious, intriguing, and fun, a chilling and thought-provoking exploration of a period of Russian history that engenders a great deal of speculation. Of course, we know that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson never actually went to Ekaterinburg to find the Romanovs. Or do we? Phil Growick’s excellent novel will make you believe they did."
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On the most secret and dangerous assignment of their lives, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are sent into the newborn Soviet Union to rescue The Romanovs: Nicholas and Alexandra and their innocent children. Will Holmes and Watson be able to change history? Will they even be able to survive?