Young Sherlock Holmes: Red Leech

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Young Sherlock Holmes: Red Leech
MacMillan Books 2010 paperback edition
Author Andrew Lane
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Young Sherlock Holmes
Genre Detective novel
Published 2010 (Macmillan Books)
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 352 pages
Preceded by Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud
Followed by Young Sherlock Holmes: Black Ice

Young Sherlock Holmes: Red Leech (U.S. edition title: Rebel Fire[1]) is the second novel in the Young Sherlock Holmes series that depicts Arthur Conan Doyle's detective Sherlock Holmes as a teenager in the 1860s. It was written by Andrew Lane and released in the United Kingdom on 5 November 2010 by Macmillan Books. It is a sequel to Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud and was followed by Young Sherlock Holmes: Black Ice which was released on 26 May 2011.

Plot summary[edit]

A few months following the events of Death Cloud, Sherlock Holmes is pleased when Mycroft comes to visit him at Holmes Manor in Hampshire, but Mycroft's visit has a serious purpose, he has come to let Amyus Crowe know that British Intelligence suspect that John Wilkes Booth has come to England under the alias to John St. Helen. Without any encouragement from Mycroft or Amyus, Sherlock sets off to Godalming where Booth is suspected of hiding out, enlisting Matty Arnatt's help along the way.

Sherlock enters the grounds of the house in Godalming that he suspects Booth is staying in, there he is kidnapped for a brief period of time by a man whose face is scarred by fire on one side, this man may be Booth and is being aided and guarded by three fellow conspirators. Sherlock escapes with Matty's help and immediately returns to Holmes Manor and lets Mycroft and Amyus know what happened. They are somewhat disappointed that Sherlock has let the conspirators know that they are under investigation.

The next morning, the Holmes brothers visit Amyus who concludes that the conspirators will have taken flight and will be heading to America, so he needs to follow them. When they discover that the conspirators have kidnapped Matty, Amyus, Sherlock and Virginia chase them on horseback, but are unsuccessful in rescuing Matty. Given the new turn of events, it is decided that Sherlock will accompany Amyus and Virginia to America as he is the only one who knows what all the conspirators look like.

Once they reach America, Sherlock locates where Matty is being held and he and Virginia follow the conspirators (and Matty) on board a train. The conspirators find Sherlock and Virginia, and after a perilous fight on the roof of the train, Sherlock is captured and the train is diverted to the headquarters of the organizer of the conspiracy, Duke Balthassar. In conversation with Balthassar, it becomes clear that the conspirators plan to invade Canada and have it become the Confederate stronghold—a plan which Sherlock is determined to foil.


Sherlock Holmes[edit]

Sherlock Holmes has grown since the events of Death Cloud and is not afraid to do things on his own initiative. He has formed close friendships with Amyus, Matty and Virginia, and his admiration for his older brother Mycroft continues to increase. While traveling to America he meets an Irish violin player and tutor named Rufus Stone who begins to teach him how to play the violin, and although it seems Amyus disapproves of this relationship and finds music unimportant and wasteful, Sherlock seems by the end of the book to be fast friends with Rufus. He is fourteen years old.

Mycroft Holmes[edit]

Sherlock's older brother, who works in the innermost workings of the British government, comes to visit Sherlock and Amyus at Holmes Manor but says that he could not picture the idea of going to America, that he has a fixed orbit that he like to stick to it.

Matty Arnatt[edit]

His friendship with Sherlock and his sense of adventure means that he helps Sherlock in his attempts to locate and identify John Wilkes Booth, which results in Matty's kidnapping to America. He is almost the exact opposite of Sherlock; ex: He is instinctive while Sherlock is calculating.

Amyus Crowe[edit]

His role with the Pinkertons is revealed in the course of this adventure as well as his skills as a tracker and a hunter.

Virginia Crowe[edit]

Amyus Crowe's daughter. She is very headstrong and hates being inside. Likes to ride her horse, Sandia. She also seems to have emotions towards Sherlock that boggle his mind.

Rufus Stone[edit]

A violin player and tutor from Ireland who seems to be on the run from trouble in his home country. He travels to America to find a new life, and spends the majority of the eight-day journey tutoring Sherlock on the violin. Unfortunately when he reaches America his past life catches up with him and he is forced to return to England where he meets Sherlock again.

Mrs. Eglantine[edit]

Mrs. Eglantine is seen to have real power in Holmes Manor and appears to have some hold over her employers.

Duke Balthassar[edit]

Duke Balthassar is the mastermind behind the conspiracy, and because of a medical condition that runs in his family, he has developed a bizarre symbiotic relationship with leeches. They help clot his blood and, for the most part, keep him alive.


The Red Leech was mentioned in "The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez", Watson is reviewing his journals of Sherlock's adventures and says "As I turn over the pages I see my notes upon the repulsive story of the red leech."

This novel introduces the character of Rufus Stone (originally Jared Stone[2]) who provides a counterpoint to Aymus Crowe, and helps to explain Holmes' violin playing and melancholy.

The US edition of Red Leech is being published during 2011 under the title Rebel Fire.[1]


External links[edit]