Home > Mitch's Musings > Peregrine Harker & The Black Death by Luke Hollands

Peregrine Harker & The Black Death by Luke Hollands

Peregrine Harker & The Black Death by Luke Hollands

Peregrine Harker & The Black Death

By: Luke Hollands

Release Date: June 3, 2013

Rating: 3 Stars

Summary: MURDER SPIES EXPLOSIONS REVENGEPeregrine Harker is about to learn you’re never too young to die.London 1908: A secret society stalks the murky streets, a deadly assassin lurks in the shadows and a series of unexplained deaths are linked by a mystery symbol…

When boy-detective Peregrine Harker stumbles across a gruesome murder he sparks a chain of events that drag him on a rip-roaring journey through a world of spluttering gas lamps, thick fog, deadly secrets and dastardly villains.

Every step of Peregrine’s white-knuckle adventure brings him closer to the vile heart of a terrifying mystery – the true story behind the Brotherhood of the Black Death.


Luke Hollands obviously knows it’s every guy’s secret fantasy to be a suave secret agent, saving the world from evil criminal masterminds and getting the spunky damsel in distress. His character, Peregrine Harker, gets to do it all, uncover dastardly plots, fight for his life – multiple times, and yep, get the girl. So I have to say, even thoughPeregrine Harker and the Black Death is kind of silly and doesn’t offer much in the way of character or plot development, I still enjoyed it as a fast paced, breezy read that’s quite a bit of fun.

I do wish this book had a little bit more of substance to it though. For one, Peregrine Harker is just your average nosy journalist who dreams of becoming a spy until he quite conveniently gets himself involved in a dangerous conspiracy within the first three (quite short) chapters – beyond that there’s really no character development at all. I guess he’s cheeky and an entertaining enough narrator, but the frenetic pacing means the story is action packed to the point I really didn’t get much of a sense of him as a character – it’s just him going from one escapade to the next, always with one foot in the door of danger. So while it’s nice his childhood has prepared him for the challenges of his mission, that and the fact he’s an orphan didn’t help diferentiate him much from the average, generic male protagonist that populates these types of book. Except somehow, he sounds more like a forty year old guy than an fifteen year old boy, particularly with his descriptions and how he recounts certain events, though I just imagined he was eighteen instead and it really didn’t bother me that much.

The supporting characters too, they all feel really generic because I never felt like I got enough of them. Lousia Clayton is your average spunky heroine that I can favorably compare to any of the better Bond girls, but at the same time, she has as much character development as the average Bond girl too, which is kind of lacking for a book. Harker’s cousin Lt. Dearlove comes in and saves the day once or twice, but is more like that friendly guy you appreciate for save your ass out of the blue because of the way he’s incorporated into the story. I really liked Mr. Woofle as the tough as nails butler, but like every other character, he just does (some really cool) stuff without actually being fully fleshed out – his decision to help Harker for example could’ve really used a few more sentences of dialogue by way of explanation.

As for the plot itself, I would describe it as really simple – Harker stumbles on the conspiracy he’s always dreamed of and jumps through various fun but expected hoops on his way to defeating the villain behind the scheme. Though all the promised elements, murders, spies, explosions, and revenge, are here, I can’t help but feel that something’s missing – maybe the plot is so fast paced that one event’s over before it fully registers and Harker’s doing something else. Like there’s a scene where Harker’s ambushed in a hotel – he’s being shot at – and a few paragraphs later he’s racing away in a high speed chase through the streets of London. Especially with the sparse dialogue, focus on action sequences for much of the book, and the expected long monologue describing the point of the entire plot at the climax of the book, I guess the book has more of the feel of watching a thirty minute cartoon or a seventy minute action movie that, while fun, isn’t exactly the same experience as reading a fully fleshed out book.

If my review seems short, it’s because the book is really short, coming in at a mere hundred and fifty pages. And most of that again is the lightning fast paced plot. It’s enjoyable, but feels a bit thin now that I’ve finished.

Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

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  1. deniz
    May 28, 2013 at 11:29 am

    have to say this wasnt really my kinda book- i think it might be more a book for guys?

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