Firstly, this is not a Sherlock Holmes novel in the Conan Doyle sense. It could be argued to be a Challenger novel just the same – either way, it is a homage to the literary characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle. The only contention I have it is simply not very good.
The basic premise is to take Wells’ War of the Worlds and to fuse the Holmes and Challenger (and of course, Watson) characters into the book, and its style. To their credit, the Wellmans don’t take the lazy route of putting Doyle’s creations in on top of Wells’ yarn – no, they actually take the time to refute some of the narration in the original and make out that Challenger and Holmes were unsung heroes in the whole debacle.
But, and this is where the book fails, it is pretty turgid at times and even at only c. 220 pages long it was a slog to get through. Some of scenes are pointless and it is clear that the authors are trying to capture the essence of the period and the original authors, as a consequence there were times it felt as if I was learning more about Victorian gastronomy than there was action.
The love interest between Holmes and Hudson was overly clumsy and there is no way that Watson would miss this connection despite his perceived observational ineptitude. In many ways the authors do Watson a grave disservice here. And, the sheer amount of coincidences and chance meetings was beyond the pale giving the plot a rather obnoxious feel to it. The closing scene with Morgan, Challenger and Holmes was like an afterthought as well.
All in all, I would rate this as the poorest Holmes pastiche I have read. 3/10