10 January 2011

Book of the Week (84): "Rivers of London" by Ben Aaronovitch

Peter Grant was just a cynical probationary constable in London’s Metropolitan Police Service until he was approached by a ghost with important information on a murder investigation. Now everything’s changed. Somehow he’s become an apprentice wizard, the first in fifty years, and has been charged with keeping the Queen’s peace.

Easier said than done when there are nests of vampires in Purley, the God and Goddess of the river Thames have started a turf war, and some supernatural force is twisting the good citizens of the city into violent mindless marionettes, intent on bashing each other’s heads in for its own amusement.

Now PC Grant and his boss have stumbled onto something big. Something’s very wrong at the heart of the city he loves, and it’s up to them to unravel the whole rotten mess before London tears itself apart.

With a laudable level of precision Aaronovitch paints a convincingly accurate depiction of London’s architecture and inhabitants. His use of language is impressive, capturing not only an authentic vernacular for the city, but also presenting a near flawless rendition of the Metropolitan Police Service’s vocabulary. All these elements come together to create an immersive and extremely funny fantasy that is as believable as it is entertaining.

Better known for adaptations like Doctor Who’s Remembrance of the Daleks, this is Ben Aaronovitch’s first step into an urban fantasy of his own creation. A wry witty blend of old folklore, London history, and magic, makes Rivers of London a worthy and unique read. With a distinctive voice and narrative style that is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman or China MiĆ©ville'
s Un Lun Dun this will appeal to fans of Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, and Mike Carey’s Felix Castor novels.

The first of a series, Rivers of London had me laughing within the first couple of pages, and promises to be the beginning of an entertaining journey for London’s very own Detective Constable Grant, copper-turned-trainee-wizard.

Recommended by Matthew Humpage

1 comment:

Nick Smale said...

Rememberance of the Daleks isn't just an adaptation - Ben Aaronovitch was the original author of the TV story.