Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Rebel Fire Audio

Rebel Fire Audio

Andrew Lane
For ages 12 and up
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Daniel Weyman
Macmillan Young Listeners, 2012   ISBN: 978-1427213600

Fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes relishes the hours that he spends with his American tutor, Amyus Crowe. He is also fascinated by Amyus’ past. Apparently, the man used to hunt people, individuals who had broken the law and who needed to be captured before they did anything else. Sherlock cannot help wanting to know more about his peculiar tutor.

Soon enough Sherlock begins to appreciate that Amyus Crowe is a man of many talents, and that he has his fingers in many pies. Without warning, Sherlock’s brother Mycroft turns up at Holmes Manor, and he hasn’t come to see Sherlock; he has come because he needs to consult Amyus about a very sensitive matter. Apparently, John Wilkes Booth, the assassin, did not die after he killed Abraham Lincoln. Instead, he survived and he is now in England. It is believed that the plan is to revive the cause of the American Confederacy, with Booth playing a role in this new effort. Mycroft, being a high ranking employee at the foreign office, is concerned about what is going on. His government does not want to see further instability in the United States, and Mycroft wants to work with Amyus (who has worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency) to help uncover the plot before things go too much further.

Being incurable curious, Sherlock finds out where the American conspirators are holding up, and he goes to the house in question to see what he can learn. He soon discovers that it is not wise to stir up a nest of dangerous men, and he barely escapes from the house with his life.

Though Mycroft is annoyed with Sherlock for interfering in a volatile matter, he cannot deny that he needs Sherlock and Sherlock’s friend Matty to find the conspirators. The boys are the only people who know what the men look like.

Sherlock and Matty travel to London with Amyus Crowe and his daughter Virginia, trying to figure out what the conspirators will do next. Unfortunately, their enemies are not the kind of men to turn tail and run. Feeling that they need something that they can hold over Amyus, the conspirators kidnap Matty. They threaten to kill the boy if Amyus pursues them further, not realizing that Amyus and Sherlock are not the kinds of people to give up. Especially if one of their friends is in danger.

In this, his second, tale about young Sherlock Holmes, Andrew Lane gives listeners a thrilling adventure that is full of action, unpredictability, and colorful personalities. Listeners will find out more about the characters, and they will start to see how Sherlock ends up becoming the remarkable person who appears in Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous stories.

Daniel Weyman’s narrative of this splendid story is spirited and exciting. He perfectly captures the tone of the characters.