Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Incident of the Harrowmoor Dogs - Daniel Abraham

THE INCIDENT OF THE HARROWMOOR DOGS is the first thing I've read by Daniel Abraham, who's becoming well-known as an author of science fiction and fantasy under his own name and a couple of pseudonyms. This is a novella featuring a couple of characters who have appeared previously in some of Abraham's short stories. Balfour and Meriwether (we don't find out their first names) are a pair of tough Englishmen in the 1880s who carry out dangerous assignments for a secret intelligence agency headed by a nobleman who reports directly to the Queen.

This time they're asked to track down a fellow agent who has disappeared while investigating the case of an explorer and war hero who is locked up in a sinister sanitorium after suffering a breakdown of some sort. It seems that this unfortunate patient has been having nightmares that somehow reveal information the British government would prefer to keep secret.

Balfour—whose weapon of choice is knives—and Meriwether—who carries a brace of pistols and is good with them—pursue different lines of investigation that ultimately lead them to the same place, a warren of tunnels under the English countryside that contain a horrifying secret.

THE INCIDENT OF THE HARROWMOOR DOGS is a well-written, very entertaining blend of mystery, espionage, adventure, and horror. There's a little Conan Doyle, a little Robert E. Howard, even a little Robert Louis Stevenson. There's a late twist in the plot that seems a little forced to me, but hey, it's Abraham's story, not mine. And overall I had a fine time reading it.

The earlier Balfour and Meriwether adventures are available here. I liked this one enough that I've already bought them and look forward to reading them.


Scott Parker said...

I've not read anything by Abraham, per se, but his novels with Ty Franck under the James S. A. Corey pen name are fantastic. Space opera but with a real hard-science pedigree. Leviathan Wakes is the first and Caliban's War the second. I've not read the third yet...and there's a fourth coming out this year. By far my favorite SF/opera series.

Now I want to read the Abraham stories.

James Reasoner said...

Yeah, I've looked at those James S.A. Corey books and want to read them, but they're so looooong...I don't know if I have the patience anymore.

Scott Parker said...

Well, I'll give you my means of consumption: audiobook. The reader is good and easily carried me along. A Natural History of Dragons is my current audiobook and it is quite nice to have a British lady narrate a story to me.

James Reasoner said...

Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of audiobooks. I'm not sure why not. The few I've listened to have been well-done. If I was in the car a lot, on a regular basis, I'm sure I'd listen to them.