My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly valuable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden... and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair. The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos - or die trying.
©2011 Ben Aaronovitch (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited
Entertaining, British, DWJish
In tone, no, but many of the concepts in this story reminded me of Diana Wynne Jones. The details are just a touch too bloody for me to give this a five, but that probably says more about me than about the book. I did enjoy the story a lot, and have bought the sequel. I give full marks to the narrator who goes with apparent ease between Peter's accent (which sounds like the Jasmine Allen Estaters from "The Bill" to me), Dr Walid's Scottish and Nightingale's uppercrust Brit. He also makes a lovely job of the other accents Nigerian and whatever Oxley is... Irish? As far as I can tell,* he's pitch perfect. *I'm Australian, so my knowledge of accents isn't 100%.
Nicely tall and intelligently open-minded
Surely everyone waits for the twist in the story and hopes to get that fuzzy warm feeling of satisfaction. I was a slight bit disappointed with the unfolding of that twist but that's only my opinion.
A little bit of magic, a bit of history, a few drops of gore, a pinch of over-the-top and a few scratches of British humour, all in all I had fun listening to this book.
I've added the follow-up book to my wish-list already.
I congratulate Mr Holdbrook-Smith on his excellent performance, it was a pleasure listening to him. I especially loved Mama Thames.
I liked how the world of magic and inner London policing were very realistically entwined, and how Harry Potter films still exist.
The narrator is stunning, equally at home with English and Scottish accents from every social milieu and is one of very few male narrators I have come across who could do a believable female chav!
I listened to this book and its two sequels on a road trip through headphones and my family were amused by my frequent guffaws and snorts of delight.
This is a great series with gritty realism in its descriptions of inner city policing, while successfully introducing a believable fantasy worls, apparently on our very doorsteps! Highly recommended.
Hi I am a geologist that now lives in South Australia I work in remote locations and find audiobooks essential for my sanity.
I came across this author and his work by accident,but now I have downloaded all three of the books of which this is the first. Brilliant combination of wit, history and fantasy concerning a subculture of magic underneath that of modern London. the characters from Nightingale through Peter Grant and the ever ominous Molly are wonderfully drawn. Equally crucially is the narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith whose narration gives depth and texture to the work. It is an excellent work of imagination suspend critical analysis and nitpicking and I am sure you will enjoy the work(s).
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
This book is a delight from start to finish (and it didn't take long to finish - I consumed the whole thing in two compulsion-driven days).
The book is deeply rooted in contemporary, multicultural, London, with a strong sense of place and of history that is polished and intensified through the lens of the tongue-in-cheek political correctness of the Metropolitan Police, and garlanded with figures from London myth who are at once as modern and as ancient as the city itself.
Wit is sprinkled like hotsauce throughout this books with references to contemporary fiction (Black Adder, Twilight, Harry Potter, Coronation Street), colourful similies, clever word play and a well-developed sense of the absurdity of daily life.
The mixed race background of the main character is used to draw out the multi-cultural nature of London and its long history of taking people from around the world and making them into Londoners within one generation.
The plot is driven by the main character's insatiable curiosity to know how things work (I'm easily distracted) and his need to do whatever is necessary to preserve the Queen's Peace (we're the ones who run towards the screams) and powered by magic and evil.
The book lays a glamour on a place I know well and turns it into somewhere I would like to know better.
It is, at heart, an optimistic, civilized, book, filled with chaos and compromise and unspoken agreements and recognition of subtle affiliations. Our hero does the right thing by being himself, taking care of his friends, showing pride but being respectful and muddling through until the job is done. I found the whole thing wonderfully British, or at least, how I would like being British to be.
I've already downloaded the next two in the series.
I loved this book! This is a clever and fast-paced mix of London Police and magic. Great characters and story. The reader does an amazing job of all the different voices and accents. I could hardly bear to pause the book and go into work! Well worth buying.
I don't really know if this qualifies as 'urban fantasy' as such. It is a fantasy in an urban setting, but the tone is light and engaging, not dark and mysterious. I prefer light and engaging, and this delivers. I love the main character protagonist and most of the minor or secondary characters too. I found this funny, smart, imaginative and really interesting.
the voice narration is good too. Really, a winner and strongly recommended.
This is my favourite so far.
Peter Grant of course but the description of Father Thames was just fantastic.
Although not what I would normally expect from a fantasy novel in general, this book is a brilliant and deliciously different fantasy-folly. It introduces us to a young London copper who discovers he has magical powers. Shortly after this, the reader realises that he is by no means alone. The London police force is evidently riddled with wizards, and it’s just as well. They have a lot to contend with. London has become a boiling turmoil of incredible violence and bloodshed (what’s new?). From visiting the spirits of the Thames, we follow the quick eradication of a few errant vampires, discover a few lost rivers barely heard of since the medieval, and a whole lot more. The plot weaves, interweaves and generally confuses us with continuous unexpected twists and turns. This is intensely clever and, as far as my past reading is concerned, unique.
Above all, the humour is completely adorable. I confess that there were moments when the whimsy wais so unrelenting that I needed a rest to put my brain back into focus – but I am not complaining. I soon missed my fix and returned to the magical city.
The plot itself is actually nonsense but that doesn’t matter either. Though goodness knows if anyone not accustomed to life, habits, slang and the basic language of modern Londoners would actually understand half of it.
And so to Londoners and anyone else with a spirit of literary adventure, I strongly recommend this as a few days of complete enjoyment, endless smiles and frequent laughs out loud. Even the constant and outstanding brutality remains good humoured. Now – that’s clever!
I bought the audio edition and having listened to a great stream of other audio books, this is most definitely the first one where I have fallen in love with the narrator! Brilliantly read with just the right touches, accents and inferences. A perfect narration and beautifully apt for the book itself.
Quite a joy in all aspects.
Yes, see my review. Pure unchallenging entertainment
Listen to this now! Meet Peter Grant and modern London have a hidden side
the plot is clear enough, but the relationships between the main players makes this feel cohesive
Kobna Holbrook-Smith is a genius. I have sought out other books where he is the narrator. Great range and humour
I purposely limited my reading, didn't want to get to the end
Love the whole series
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