Book Review: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

‘Rivers of London’ is the first of two books (currently available) detailing the adventures of Detective Constable Peter Grant of the Met, and last Apprentice Wizard in Britain.

In ‘Rivers of London’ we are introduced to Peter Grant, a probationary constable in the Metropolitan Police. At the scene of a murder he tries to take a witness statement from a ghost and thus comes to the attention of the last official Wizard in Britian, Nightingale. Nightingale is the head, and only member,  of a specialist crime unit known as ‘the Folly’, about whom most police officers have no knowledge, and the ones who do know about it don’t like talking about the Folly. Constable Grant becomes the second member of the Folly and an apprentice wizard. Between solving a series of supernatural murders and settling a territorial debate between the genii loca of the Thames and the Thames  valley/London rivers, the Folly are stretched to capactity. Covent Garden gets set on fire and flooded, Punch causes a riot in the Royal Opera House and eventually a sacrifice has to be made.

With a cast of well written, funny and occaisionally creepy characters this novel races around London giving a new twist to old tales. The central character is well drawn, heavily embedded in the location and very ‘real’. Constable Grant’s struggle’s to learn a vast body of arcane knowledge and match his scientific understanding of the world to that of magic is entertaining. Especially the exploding apples.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next one, ‘Moon over Soho’.

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