"Has Laurie King followed in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's footsteps and killed off her protagonist? Sherlock Holmes is back in the latest in the New York Times bestselling series that Lee Child has hailed as "the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today"--but is Mary Russell? When the novel opens, the shabby carpet of 221B Baker Street is drenched in blood--and no one knows the fate of Mary Russell. Could this be the final performance for the world's best-known Holmesian author?"-- Provided by publisher. "Laurie R. King's bestselling Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series weaves rich historical detail and provocative themes with intriguing characters and enthralling suspense. Russell and Holmes have become one of modern literature's most beloved teams. But does this adventure end it all? Mary Russell is used to dark secrets--her own, and those of her famous partner and husband, Sherlock Holmes. Trust is a thing slowly given, but over the course of a decade together, the two have forged an indissoluble bond. And what of the other person to whom Mary Russell has opened her heart: the couple's longtime housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson? Russell's faith and affection are suddenly shattered when a man arrives on the doorstep claiming to be Mrs. Hudson's son. What Samuel Hudson tells Russell cannot possibly be true, yet she believes him--as surely as she believes the threat of the gun in his hand. In a devastating instant, everything changes. And when the scene is discovered--a pool of blood on the floor, the smell of gunpowder in the air--the most shocking revelation of all is that the grim clues point directly to Clara Hudson. Or rather to Clarissa, the woman she was before Baker Street. The key to Russell's sacrifice lies in Mrs. Hudson's past. To uncover the truth, a frantic Sherlock Holmes must put aside his anguish and push deep into his housekeeper's secrets--to a time before her disguise was assumed, before her crimes were buried away. There is death here, and murder, and trust betrayed. And nothing will ever be the same. Praise for the award-winning novels of Laurie R. King "The great marvel of King's series is that she's managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes's character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart."--The Washington Post Book World "The most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today."--Lee Child "A lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company."--The New York Times "Erudite, fascinating. by all odds the most successful re-creation of the famous inhabitant of 221B Baker Street ever attempted."--Houston Chronicle "Intricate clockworks, wheels within wheels."--Booklist (starred review) "Imaginative and subtle."--The Seattle Times "Impossible to put down."--Romantic Times "Remarkably beguiling."--The Boston Globe"-- Provided by publisher.