Darlene Cypser's The Crack in the Lens, I can honestly say, is not a book I liked.
It is a book I LOVED.
(MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. READER BEWARE.)
Sherlock Holmes is seventeen in this novel and has just returned to Mycroft Manor after spending two years in France, recovering from an illness and building up his physical strength by learning fencing and boxing. When he is back at the manor, his father, Squire Holmes, doesn't let him dillydally for long, He gets him a math tutor, because he expects his youngest son to go to university and become an engineer. I should have seen it coming. I really should have. But I didn't until I read the father telling Young Sherlock Holmes (sorry, had to get that movie title in,) that his new tutor "wrote a treatise on the binomial theorum," and my mouth dropped open. Because who, as a Sherlock Holmes fan, doesn't know who wrote that treatise? Of course, it is the one and only Professor James Moriarty.
Holmes and Moriarty clash, but Moriarty wins over everyone else in the household and is able, throughout the novel, to completely discredit Sherlock to his father.
But that's only part of it. Sherlock, while riding on the moors, meets a young woman named Violet Rushdale, who works on the land that the squire has. They fall in love, but I won't give too much away about that.
I got a slightly earlier edition of this novel, straight from Ms Cypser, for which I'm very grateful. One thing I noticed with this edition, though, aside from the occasional missed quote at the beginning or end of a line, and (I admit, this is just what I'm used to, others may feel differently,) the non-italics French lines within the novel. It was just odd to see something in French not written like this. Anyway, I noticed not misspellings, but extra words added into the lines at times. This isn't a direct quote from the book, but an example would be something like as follows:
"Sherlock mounted his horse again and as he as galloped across the moor..."
That extra 'as.' There were quite a few examples of things like that throughout the book and as a reader, it threw me a bit.
Again, though, this is a slightly earlier edition, so perhaps Ms Cypser went through and checked/corrected these things.
Anyway, this novel, in anyone else's hands, probably would have been a horrible mess. But Ms Cypser handles it with care, knowledge, and excellence. It truly is a story about Holmes's character being forged through fire, so to speak. The kind of character Sherlock Holmes is is not created easily or pleasantly. And this book deals with those issues with absolute excellence.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in Sherlock Holmes, and anyone interested in quality literature. I, for one, can't wait for the trilogy sequel. :)