"It is the combination of style and scholarship...that gives this atmospheric yarn the heightened thrill of intellectual challenge."--The New York Times Book Review
"An intellectual treat and a downright guilty pleasure."
-The Washington Post Book World
"A satisfying Borgesian mix of library riddle, fact, and conjecture, which sidesteps the well-trodden route as a way of investigating Doyle's troubled beginnings."-The Guardian
"A witty elegant conceit...charged with full-blooded melodrama. Pirie creates a convincing Victorian world of eerie moors and fearless detectives, impenetrable ciphers, and strange hooded assassins. Even the novel's villain, the monstrous naturalist Charles Blythe, is a quintessentially Doylean creation.... This is a pacey, enjoyable yarn, with a surprising twist, that ranks with the best of the Doyle canon."-The Times Literary Supplement
"Truly frightening...David Pirie is delving into the `real' origins of the casebooks."-Time Out
"Read of the week. David Pirie has imagined a much closer association (between Doyle and Bell) of a Holmes-and-Watson kind though scarred with the unquestionably real tragedy of Doyle's alcoholic father and with imaginary melodramas... The idea is a better one than the innumerable...attempts by authors to capitalize on the Holmes name by putting him in concoctions of their own...If David Pirie ever writes a detective of his own I want to read him."-The Scotsman
"Not a novelization but a well-crafted and absorbing novel satisfying in its own right...far more entertaining and engrossing than so many Holmes pastiches that tread familiar paths...a recommended read."-Sherlock Holmes Magazine