Wednesday, February 26, 2014

To Kingdom Come: Review

To Kingdom Come is the second book in Will Thomas's Barker and Llewellyn historical mystery series set in Victorian England. Thomas Llewellyn has been in the employ of enquiry agent Cyrus Barker for a mere two and a half months--only one month has passed since the events in their debut novel, Some Danger Involved, and already the stakes have gone up dramatically.

Two bombs have gone off in London--destroying a portion of Scotland Yard and the Junior Carlton Club. Members of the Irish Republic Brotherhood claim responsibility and threaten more attacks to come if Parliament does not grant Ireland liberation from English rule within a month. Barker offers his service to the Home Office and comes up with a plan to discover and infiltrate the cell of the IRB responsible for the bombings. He and Llewellyn pose as explosive experts in order to win the group's confidence. But will they be able to maintain their cover long enough to allow Scotland Yard to arrest the dissidents without actually blowing up Parliament and the Prince of Wales?

Once again Thomas gives us an interesting, believable historical mystery set in the Holmsian period with far more action than most of the Holmes stories. The writing and description are up to par, but I have to say that I did not find the mystery or the story overall to be nearly as captivating as the debut.  I still enjoy the interactions between Barker and well as with the other supporting characters and Thomas portrays the Irish resistance with just as much flair. But the first story was a more authentic mystery--the hunt for the killer of a young Jewish scholar with all the suspects and clues to follow of a standard detective novel.  That is far more to my taste than the cloak of espionage that covers our heroes. Infiltrating the IRB and spending time manufacturing bombs just really didn't interest me as much. It also didn't help that the mastermind behind the group was obvious from about the midpoint of the book

However, slight misgivings about the topic aside, Thomas has produced a lively second novel--one that is a quick read and full of atmosphere and historical detail. I will definitely continue the series.  Three and a half stars.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Another one the hubby would like more than me I think. :-)