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Summary

"...rich with period detail and clever invention!" (Wall Street Journal)

This program is read by Downton Abbey actor David Robb, and includes a bonus conversation with the author. 

With the international best seller The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Nicholas Meyer brought to light a previously unpublished case of Sherlock Holmes, as recorded by Dr. John H. Watson. Now, Meyer returns with a shocking discovery - an unknown case drawn from a recently unearthed Watson journal.  

January 1905: Holmes and Watson are summoned by Holmes' brother Mycroft to undertake a clandestine investigation. An agent of the British Secret Service has been found floating in the Thames, carrying a manuscript smuggled into England at the cost of her life. The pages purport to be the minutes of a meeting of a secret group intent on nothing less than taking over the world.

Based on real events, the adventure takes the famed duo - in the company of a bewitching woman - aboard the Orient Express from Paris into the heart of Tsarist Russia, Holmes and Watson attempt to trace the origins of this explosive document. On their heels are desperate men of unknown allegiance, determined to prevent them achieving their task.  

And what they uncover is a conspiracy so vast as to challenge Sherlock Holmes as never before. 

©2019 Nicholas Meyer (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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The Return Of Nicholas Meyer!

Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure Of The Peculiar Protocols by Nicholas Meyer Hello again to my readers! So things have gone back to normal for the end of the year. The Halloween celebrations are over, bonfires have yet to be lit and the sky is getting darker earlier in the evening. I thought it might be fun to take a small trip back to 221B Baker Street and Holmes and Watson but something a bit different this time. Unlike last time when I relished the official Holmes canon in the company of Stephen Fry I will discuss two separate original creations. The first discussed in this article is a story by Nicholas Meyer, author of the famous Holmes pastiche The Seven Percent Solution (1974) which was adapted into a film in 1976 by Meyer himself and its resultant sequels of sorts. Meyer is also famous outside of the world of Holmes for being the director and screenwriter of several films in the Star Trek series namely The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country, all of which are considered among the best works of Star Trek to date. Although personally I also have to mention his involvement with the animated musical The Prince of Egypt which I have to confess I am quite the fan of. The story of the Peculiar Protocols is as follows: The time is January 1905. Holmes and Watson are summoned just as Holmes begins to tire of London’s current criminal element by Holmes’s brother Mycroft. Their services are required by ‘the establishment’ for an unofficial investigation. An agent of the Secret Service has been found floating in the Thames with the minutes of a certain meeting on her person. A secret group claims to be planning nothing less than the complete takeover of the modern world. Holmes is deservedly skeptical of such a notion but nonetheless has been tasked with one simple problem: Find out if these documents are authentic and if at all possible prevent their further spread throughout the world. As you may have noticed, I haven’t named the documents. That is because...although I greatly enjoyed the story itself and thought it well written I don’t know how to feel about the focus of the story. To put it mildly Holmes and his Boswell are out of their depth and they will have to face the realities of the 20th (and 21st) Century in this particular case. When the ‘reveal’ of the documents first occurs the reader or listener may well find themselves caught in the flow and desperate to turn the page. On a lighter note, Meyer’s writing style does feel appropriately Holmesian. There are some elements that seem ‘off’ here and there but on the whole he catches you in the rhythm of the tale and Watson as the storyteller does sound appropriately like the Watson of Doyle’s original stories with some character additions here and there. Meyer also has a Holmes who is particularly incensed and rightly so. Some readers may complain but I feel that in this ‘newly discovered’ case the tone is appropriately suitable. Meyer also includes some footnotes throughout the text regarding references to either previous Meyer cases or certain individuals involved who had quite the impact in our history. Changing the topic of discussion to the narration the story has two narrators throughout. The main narrator who admirably takes the parts of Homes, Watson and our other principal players and performs them with appropriate skill and enthusiasm is Downton Abbey actor David Robb. His Watson is better than several narrators I’ve heard over the years. Some attempts at accents across the story can be questionable however this is due to plot related reasoning rather than a failed accent on the narrator’s part. I would be keen to hear him again in some other audios Holmes related or otherwise. The second narrator? Meyer himself who acts as the voice of the footnotes as well as the beginning explanation for how the manuscript was discovered. He also narrates a history of sorts at the end of the novel as well as taking part in an interview after the story is complete. Overall I must say I find the story worth the read. It is very much an engaging story, well written, with the best of intentions. However despite this it can be a hard read or listen depending on the person. As I say the realities of the documents could make their inclusion somewhat tasteless in a Holmes story depending on individual viewpoints. Give Meyer’s fourth Holmes escapade a chance and you just might find a new favourite author. If an audio version of The Seven Percent Solution or a fifth Holmes story by Meyer were to appear, I would happily give both a listen. My next review will be the second Holmesian adventure I mentioned earlier. In this case...further adventures by the pen of Bert Coules and the BBC’s radio dramatisation division. After all, The Game’s Afoot! Nephrite

3 people found this helpful

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An average story with interesting historical detail

I found this story explored aspects of history i was not familiar with and which interested me however as a novel I just found it a bit bland re characterisations and the sense of adventure slightly lacking - it will not stick with me longterm as one of my top reads. Perhaps if you like me half dabble in extra canonical Holmes stories it might be worth reading to see if you get on with the series: if yes then great you have more to read - i don’t think i will bother with the rest of the series given my massive to read list.

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  • James E. Carr
  • 05-12-19

Just Kinda Sorta Okay

I was certainly interested to receive a fact based education on the Protocols, having only a vague knowledge of their origins. But I found this Sherlock Holmes redux a bit slow paced, and at times sputtering if not downright dithering. You had to bring your own memories of the original author's character development of Holmes and Watson because there wasn't much in this book. There was little real tension in the plot, the only action was low grade and contrived, and while the nouveau Holmes struggled mightily to look sharp this was not a very complicated situation for him to face. The ending was consistent with the rest of the story. There are legions of Sherlock Holmes takeoffs which you should find more engaging than this one.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew McDiarmid
  • 12-02-20

The genuine article

This new Sherlock adventure is superbly written! The wording is exquisite and the unfolding plot unmistakably Holmes. The narration was also a delight. David Robb deftly moves between characters and brings them to life admirably. Bravo!

2 people found this helpful

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  • H. Roberson
  • 31-01-20

A nice and enjoyable Holmes adventure

The story is good with sufficient intrigue and opportunities for Homes to be Holmes. Watson is more developed here which is a good thing. The premise is that the story is from a diary which has some missing pages and an inserted page. The missing pages are a nice technique at avoiding for days of train ride and provides an opportunity to suggest a Homes liaison. The cameos help make the story interesting. I haven't read other books by this author but this book will cause me to look for those. Recommended.

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  • Bronx Guy
  • 10-01-20

DISAPPOINTED

Warning: plot disclosures herein: This should have been entitled "The Adventures of John H. Watson, MD With Occasional Assistance by one S. Holmes." The pastiche is centered on Watson and the faux literary device what may be an authentic recently discovered diary with tantalizing omissions (did Holes really have an affair with the femme fatale?). Holmes' almost seems a second banana here. His personal life and his interaction with Mycroft is touched upon while Watson's married life is gone into ad nauseam with little advancement of the plot and little listener satisfaction to show for it. And I think Meyer must have thought his trope of constantly interrupting narrative with expository "footnotes" a cute device. If so, he failed. The shift from English with an English accent to English with an American accent, without prior notice, is annoying. It ruins the narrative flow. With fewer literary bells and whistles, years ago, the 7-1/2% Solution was a more enjoyable read.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Eye 4 One Think
  • 09-11-19

Excellent Read!

All Sherlocians will devouer this one. Please note that it has relevance to our era; read/listen entently to the Prologue. Enjoy!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Southern reader
  • 10-05-20

Very complex story. Totally surprise ending

No spoilers here! This was a really great listen. The narrator did a great job and I really enjoyed the interview with the author afterwords. Listen to the end about the history back and forward about the protocols.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marily
  • 21-04-20

Another, I'm not a purist, enjoyed the story!

Enjoy an interesting story not only with Sherlock Holmes but on the Orient Express. It wasn't difficult falling into the story nor connecting with the reader. Will definitely look into Meyer's other " Sherlockian book"s.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kazren
  • 27-01-20

A must read for fans of Sherlock & Watson

Nicholas Meyer has never let me down. He always hits the mark. I read his 7% Solution before the film was made, and the details and obvious research caused me to call Mr. Meyer a genius. This book is compelling, plotted to my content, and performed very well. If you miss the residents of 221B Baker Street, this is a must read (or listen). This book welcome's you into Holme's parlor and once again, you're buy the side of Holmes and Watson as they journey across the continent in search of the truth.

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  • achu
  • 29-09-20

A Book that Touches Upon Good Points, but Not Quite the Fun Story I Was Looking For

It’s a good book that touches on a lot of heavy material and touches on important political matters. If you are in the mood for a story that is heavier this might be for you. However, it was not quite the type of story I was looking for. It didn’t contain a lot of investigative deduction on Sherlock’s part. The story kind of reads like my grandpa telling his war story to a stranger, complete with author interjection that feels like footnotes.

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  • DDC
  • 17-09-20

Interesting fiction based on real issue

This was well written and well performed. I enjoy a mystery based on a real (though fake) document. The interaction of science, history and politics was intriguing.