The Game

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Series: Russell & Holmes #7
Published by: Bantam Books
Release Date: 2010
Pages: 400


It’s only the second day of 1924, but Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, find themselves embroiled in intrigue. It starts with a New Year’s visit from Holmes’s brother Mycroft, who comes bearing a strange package containing the papers of an English spy named Kimball O’Hara—the same Kimball known to the world through Kipling’s famed Kim. Inexplicably, O’Hara withdrew from the “Great Game” of espionage and now he has just as inexplicably disappeared.

When Russell discovers Holmes’s own secret friendship with the spy, she knows the die is cast: she will accompany her husband to India to search for the missing operative. But Russell soon learns that in this faraway and exotic land, it’s often impossible to tell friend from foe—and that some games aren’t played for fun but for the highest stakes of all…life and death.


"Lush, colorful and utterly compelling, this is a superbly wrought novel of suspense that evokes its period with enviable panache. FOUR STARS out of four stars."
Detroit Free Press

"King [develops] a series of voluptuous set pieces: about the learning of language, prestidigitation, and disguise; about shipboard mores among the upper classes; about the daily habits of a maharaja’s many-splendored guests and how they are housed, fed, and entertained. All the while and underneath these musings develops a wondrously taut mystery, ticking away like a malevolent clock…. Fabulous reading, breathless excitement, and the myriad pleasures of watching great minds at work."
—Booklist, starred review


Read Laurie’s thoughts on writing The Game on her blog, Mutterings.

Visit the Pinterest page to see images from The Game.


This was a birth certificate, for a child born in some place called Ferozepore in the year 1875.  His father’s name clarified the difficulties of the K—something from the other forms: Kimball.

I looked up, hoping for an explanation, only to find both sets of grey Holmes locked expectantly onto me.  How long, I wondered, before I stopped feeling like some slow student facing her disappointed headmistress?  “I’m sorry,” I began, and then I paused, my mind catching at last on a faint sense of familiarity: Kimball.  And O’Hara.  Add to that a town that could only be in India…. No; oh, no—the book was just a children’s adventure tale. “I’m sorry,” I repeated, only where before it had connoted apology, this time it was tinged with outrage.  “This doesn’t have anything to do with Kim, does it? The Kipling book?”

“You’ve read it?” Mycroft asked.

“Of course I’ve read it.”

“Good, that saves some explaining. I believe this to be his amulet case.”

“He’s real, then? Kipling’s boy?”

“As real as I am,” said Sherlock Holmes.