What an action-packed adventure! I loved this new Sherlock Holmes story. Sherlock is fourteen, living with an aunt and uncle, being tutored by Amyus Crowe, and honing the skills he will have as an adult detective. The time is just after the American Civil War. Mycroft comes to Amyus to have him investigate the rumor that John Wilkes Booth didn't die shortly after Lincoln's assassination but rather escaped and is currently in England. Sherlock and his friend Matty go to investigate the house where Booth is supposed to be and run into a real nest of villains. This leads to Matty's kidnapping. In order to rescue him and track down Booth, Amyus, his daughter Virginia, and Sherlock need to go to America. The company travels on a paddle steamer owned by Cunard Lines. Sherlock is chased into the engine room by a villain and the description is so good that I could feel the heat and hear the thundering roar of the engines. His ocean voyage also introduces him to Rufus Stone, the violinist who introduces Holmes to the instrument. Holmes also meets Graf von Zeppelin on the ocean crossing. Once in America, Sherlock explores New York searching for Matty. He and Virginia end up on a train bound for Virginia when they finally manage to free Matty. However, this just throws all three of them into the hands of the creepiest villain I have read about for a long time. Duke Balthassar reminds me of the most over-the-top of the James Bond villains. He is extremely tall and thin, dresses in white, wears a porcelain mask, and lets leeches feed on him. He also collects rare animals and attempts to feed Sherlock, Virginia, and Matty to some monitor lizards. He also has a plan to restore the Confederacy by conquering Canada.The action is non-stop and Sherlock is a hero to admire. I can't wait for the next adventure in this series. I strongly recommend this book and the first book in the series - Death Cloud - to all adventure lovers.