*** O Jerusalem, Laurie R King, 1999
I lost a lot of hours of sleep over this book, but the Mary Russell series has that effect on me. Just can't put it down. But one must do the day job occasionally, so it's not possible to read it straight through.
Although this is book five, the 425 pages of O Jerusalem take place in the time frame between pages 288 and 293 of book one, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. If I were coming to this series for the first time, I would read O Jerusalem second, not fifth.
Just like The Moor made me want to see Dartmoor, O Jerusalem made me want to explore the aqueducts of Jerusalem, although the 25 pages of their subterranean journey felt more like 50 pages to me.
The tension between Mahmoud, Ali, Holmes and Russell was brilliantly managed, and was maintained at various levels until the end. Once again, King weaves in actual historical figures with the fictional ones, which always amuses me, although the most clever one, Lieutenant-Colonel William Gillette was too obscure even for me.
I really wanted a little more time with the shadowy villain as compensation for the 400-page journey to uncover him, but alas, it was not to be.
So far, King is 5 for 5 with the Mary Russell books. I am confident of more good things to come.