Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Adventure of Discussion: Week 6----- The First Half of His Last Bow


So this week we began reading His Last Bow (if you'll remember, we agreed to read up until the discussion of a man named Hollis). Here are some thoughts and questions to help spark discussion:

1. The first two characters we meet are two German spy-barons: Von Bork and Von Herling.....What are your impressions of each? How do they go about mingling with British society and gathering information?

2. About a 1/4 of the way through the book (16% on Kindle), Von Herling says, "Honour is a mediaeval conception". What do you think about this quote, specifically in today's society? Is honor still a valued concept or are the times of chivalry and gentility gone?

3. Altamont is an Irish-American who has a hatred for Britain....any creative thoughts or stories as to why he has such a strong dislike? (don't spoil anything)

I have a feeling that Altamont means something in some language, but for some reason, Google Translate is blocked on my computer and I can't turn it off. If one of you wants to look it up and see if it means something (this would be good for the connector's job) that would be awesome.

Von Bork keeps all of his super top secret documents in a double coded safe, whereas BBC's version of Mycroft Holmes (who essentially runs the British Government), keeps his super secret documents on a laptop, on which his mother places a bowl of potatoes:

I downloaded this off of my Pinterest, so we're all good re. copyrights

Hope you enjoyed the reading!


  1. 1. I definitely was wary of anyone who wasn't Watson telling our story. This only became more pointed as I read on- criminals don't agree with me. The criminals in question infiltrate society through social connections and through observance.
    2. Honor is still a thing, no matter how we want it to not be. It's something people believe in, it's something found in foxholes and in hospitals and on sports teams and everywhere, even if it's evolved to accommodate its surroundings. We want to be honorable and just people. It's part of human nature.
    3. Irish and British relations have never been good. The British have been very controlling of the rebellious Irish and the Irish have been very violent in return. In response, people born in Ireland usually have been taught that the English were bad , controlling people, and the English are taught to believe that the Irish are an uncivil and violent peoples.

  2. 1.) The spy-barons seem quite intelligent and cunning to me, they say that they knew when the war would start four year before it did down to the month, which would take some incredible deductive skills I would think. They gather their information through social connections they have formed over the years, as they have integrated themselves into the British society, and somewhere along the way, met Altamont, who shares their dislike for Britain, and was willing to commit espionage to assist them, for a fee.
    2.) I believe honor is still a valued concept in our society, as well as chivalry. They may not be as valued as they once were, but people today still want to be considered to be good people, which is attained by being honorable.
    3.) Altamont's dislike for Britain could really come from anywhere, however, because it is specifically explained that he is Irish-American, it may be as Katie mentioned - bad relations between Britain and Ireland, it may be that he is a very patriotic American who never got over how America was treated by the British in its early years (yes, I know its not as likely, but I know some people who don't like Britain solely for that reason), a combination of the two, or he may just have had his own personal experiences with British people or the country as a whole that has cause hes dislike.