Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Doctor Moreau

Release Date: 
August 7, 2012
Titan Books
Reviewed by: 

“Invariably, when the author has this much fun, the reader benefits.”

Bodies, seemingly killed by wild animals, have been showing up in Sherlock Holmes’ London.

When Mycroft Holmes slogs to brother Sherlock’s door, it’s clear there’s more behind these killings. The corpulent Mycroft, the power behind the British Empire, doesn’t move unless the situation is calamitous.

Mycroft thinks the killings look to be the work of a Dr. Moreau, who is using vivisection and genetic engineering to create (but not control) animal hybrids. We are indeed referring to H. G. Wells’ character Moreau in The Island of Dr. Moreau, first published in 1896.

Mycroft confesses that Moreau was under the watch of the government (just in case he came up with something useful), but these half man half animals are beyond the pale, and the government cut all ties to this scientist—one who merely wants to carry Darwin’s evolutionary theories to their natural conclusion. By using his army of beast men as a force to gain control of the government that washed its hands of him, Moreau is now insisting the world pay attention.

To be effective, the horror genre takes an idea and twists it just enough to make it plausible. The government championing, yes even funding scientific work so it can retain control over it has long been a source of concern to the general populace. This novel takes that concern and spins it into a dark tale of doom.

What more can you want in a pulp novel? Guy Adams creates a world of danger: mysterious forces, and science run amok into a perfect brew for mayhem.

The best scene is where Holmes and Watson go to the British Museum to question the best scientific minds in the world. All are arguing over their contributions to science, and Guy Adams names these men after characters from the masters of “scientific romance.” Professor Lindenbrook is from Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth; Abner Perry is from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ At the Earth’s Core.

Invariably, when the author has this much fun, the reader benefits.