Title: The Last Galley
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Page Count/Review Word Count: 263
No shit, Sherlock – this isn’t a Sherlock Holmes book, or even a Professor Challenger book – this is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle showing his spiritual, learned, historical side. This is a book that shows Conan Doyle’s imposing personality.
The Last Galley (and Other Stories) is a collection of eighteen short stories by the great Victorian wordsmith, a fascinating insight in to Conan Doyle’s prolific interests – stories like The Coming of the Huns and The Last of the Legions take you way back in time to the days when the Romans and their historical brethren ruled the earth.
History certainly left a mark on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his writing – the Romans even earn a passing mention in The Terror of Blue John Gap, the last story in the collection. In that, Conan Doyle tried his hand at horror-writing – it was a sinister story, playing on our innate fear of the darkness and the unknown. Like his tale of prehistoric life surviving unnoticed in The Lost World, the inevitable beast in the Gap is explained scientifically, despite being dreadfully alive.
The Last Galley is a book that’s worth reading, but there are better Arthur Conan Doyle works out there – if you haven’t already, read The Lost World and the Sherlock Holmes series first. Then, and only then, move on to his wider range of work, of which this is as good as any other. Eventually, you’ll want to read it all.