An enjoyable take on how a young Sherlock Holmes may have grown up. However I personally have a very different idea about what a young Sherlock Holmes would have been like. As such I found myself a little under-awed by the work in this novel. It still is a fine example of story-telling aimed at children that can be enjoyed by adults however.
I feel that perhaps personally one of the great things about Sherlock Holmes is his mysterious past. No one truly knows who the man is or where he came from. He simply is. To have such a mystery turned into a mundane school boy experience in England reduces some of that allure. I did appreciate the words of the author at the end though which echo one of my sentiments about great characters in fiction. The comment is that there are more Sherlock Holmes books not by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle than by him.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the few organic characters that has a life of his own outside fiction. Where Doyle wished to slay him the public demanded he be brought to life again. In the end he actually hated the character believing that Holmes was somehow causing his other work to become less renowned.
The truly great characters are those that write themselves and so even if one author makes a novel like this. Another may make the same one. And so grows the legend of Sherlock Holmes until we understand the myth more than the legend. Is that perhaps why Doyle hated him truly? Because he more than anyone understood his creation and saw beyond the mythology?