Hypocrite? Who me? Say it isn’t so!


Yesterday I posted a rambling review of The Girl in the Spider’s WebSharp readers no doubt noticed at the end of the post that I contradicted myself. I talked about avoiding the fourth installment of the Millenium series initially just because Stieg Larsson, the series’ creator, passed on and a new author picked up the thread of the story.

I mentioned a thing called author loyalty. Then I ended the post speaking about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Mycroft Holmes and my enthusiasm for reading it. That got me thinking about the whole issue. How long does an author have to be dead before author loyalty erodes and readers flock in comfort to a new author’s continuation of the saga?

Perhaps that’s the wrong question to ask. Is it the fact that a new author is taking a crack at characters we have loved, laughed with and cried for that puts us off? Or does the work need to pass into the public domain first?

Are we as readers (listeners) more comfortable with other authors playing with our favorite universes (in the case of Dune) or characters (in the case of the Millennium series) when the main character ends up being someone the new author invented? Are we less comfortable when a new author picks up our favorite characters and animates them in a way that is different than their originator? Or does it depend on the series/characters in question?

What do you think? Is author loyalty a thorn in your side or a feather in your cap?

For me it’s more comfortable to read a yarn like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Mycroft Holmes or Laurie R. King’s Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russel series. In both series, the main character is not Sherlock Holmes. If you’ve read Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales, then you know that Sherlock is usually not the protagonist, Watson is. So the choice of creating a new main character to lead the story is a must for all Sherlock Holmes tales.

Sherlock Holmes makes cameo appearances in both King’s series and Adbul-Jabbar’s offering allowing the other characters to take center stage. Mycroft Holmes has always been a fascinating character who popped up far too infrequently in Sherlock Holmes tales. So reading an adventure solely about him and his very intriguing friend, Douglas, was a real treat. Abdul-Jabbar and Anne Waterhouse paid careful attention to the details of that time period and Doyle’s style. I give it a five stars.

If you’re a fan of Holmesian fiction, Mycroft Holmes, is a must read. King’s Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russel series is also brilliantly written and very well researched. Each premise is intriguing in its own right. Mary Russel is fantastic leading lady who has earned her place beside Sherlock Holmes. She’s quite the detective.

4 thoughts on “Hypocrite? Who me? Say it isn’t so!

  1. I think, for me, it depends a lot on how the new author tackles the material and why they’re doing it. The various authors who have picked up the Holmesian mantle have done it best when they either create a new character or borrow a secondary character as their protag. I thoroughly enjoyed the Mary Russel books, at least in part because they were Holmes without being about Holmes, if that makes any sense.

    When Brandon Sanderson finished the Wheel of Time series, it was a series that had been left unfinished due to Jordan’s death, and he worked from the notes that Jordan had left behind. He was chosen by Jordan’s family. Knowing that the story would finally be finished, by an author I already liked, felt like a good thing.

    I’ve had more difficulty with the continuation of the Larson books. He didn’t leave a series behind that needed finishing. It was complete. And the continuation is being marketed as a Larson book by another author, which doesn’t sit right for me. I can’t put into words why this is different from the Jordan-Sanderson situation, but it niggles at me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you about the Larsson continuation. I disagree about Jordan’s series because I think it should have ended with book 4. That’s a discussion for another time though. I love the Mary Russel books and agree with you about all your other points. Thank you so much for putting your opinion out there. It gives me food for thought and I’m hungry for that!


      1. With Jordan, it felt like he got scared of the ending and Just Kept Going. He could easily have ended it much earlier and then it wouldn’t have needed finishing. That’s probably why Sanderson was able to finish the dratted thing in a couple of books. I strongly suspect that Jordan would have kept putting off the ending, pulling in more and more side-plots, if he’d lived longer. It would have been a thirty book series. I did want to know how it ended, though, which was why I was perfectly happy with Sanderson taking over and tying everything up!


        1. I give you serious props for reading the whole series through to the end. I stopped 3/4 of the way through book 8. Nothing had happened for a very long stretch in the book. It so angered me that I threw the book against my then boyfriend’s dorm room wall. I loved Rand. So when he was sidelined and his less interesting (and more annoying friends) took center stage, I couldn’t continue the series. Over the years I have toyed with the idea of buying the audio book versions especially since I like Kate Reading and Michael Kramer but the things that bugged me about the book will still be there in the audio edition. So I haven’t gone there yet. One day I will. It’s inevitable. Thank you replying! I love talking about books!


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