Where the Marble Arch stands today in London was once the Tyburn gallows - also known as The Hanging Tree. The walk toward those gallows along Oxford Street and past the Mayfair mansions has a bloody and haunted history as the last trip of the condemned. Some things never change. For both blood and ghosts have returned to those mansions of the super-rich. And it's up to Peter Grant - England's last wizard and the Metropolitan Police's reluctant investigator of all things supernatural - to get to the bottom of the sinister doings.
©2017 Ben Aaronovitch (P)2017 Penguin Audio
If you are a fan of the Peter Grant books you have likely been tapping your toes and pacing back and forth waiting for the powers that be to release the latest book in this terrific series. Wait no longer…it’s finally out, buy it and enjoy. If you aren’t already a follower you would be better to start with Midnight Riot and work forwards…rather than start here. This book does stand-alone…but if you have followed the threads developed in the earlier books you will get more out of this one. Hanging Tree is the usual mixture of “Magic as Science” plot brilliance and some pretty sharp social commentary. It's a very UK book. I’m a native Brit and even I find myself caught on some of the London vernacular and UK police procedural language…I’m still not 100% clear on what a “caution plus two” is.
Each of the earlier books in this series develops a separate plot line with some over lapping characters in common. In this book Aaronovitch has taken the greatest hits/characters of the first five novels and woven them into this new book. That can be a little confusing especially if you haven’t followed the earlier books. In addition to Peter and the usual suspects on the London police force Leslie is back (face restored) as is Mr. Punch, the Faceless Man, the FBI and of course as many of the various river gods as you have an appetite for. I won’t spoil the plot, there’s lots going on, some terrific action sequences and as much wry humor as usual. Perhaps there’s a little too much going on in some spots…but it’s all such terrific fun it’s a good problem to have. I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to the brilliant performance Holdbrook-Smith delivers. His voices and accents are the perfect complement to this terrific listen. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait quite as long for the next episode.
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
I gave this five stars because I love this series set in a London where magic works and the mundane police are reluctantly coming to accept that it is coming back into prominence. Because I am writing this a fan, you have to accept that there are things I like about this book which may make a non-fan think it is four stars or below. Because this is the 6th book in the series it is loaded with references to previous books. Be warned. I would suggest listening the first books before tackling this one.
I listened to the book twice after it turned up in my library. The first time was for the story and the fabulous narration by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Peter is back in London and pursuing the Faceless Man, helped and hampered by new and old friends and enemies. A lot of characters from earlier books in the series make appearances, some brief, others more substantial. It may be ok as a stand alone novel, but I'm a bit dubious.
The second time I listened to it was to catch any pop references that I might have missed. Aaronovitch has written for the Doctor Who franchise, so those references are no surprise, but there are a whole lot more, including a nod to Phil Rickman.
Recommended for those who like this sort of fiction.
1 Star -- Terrible 2 Stars -- Bad 3 Stars -- Mediocre 4 Stars -- Great to the right person. 5 Stars -- Superb, you must pick this up.
I don't know how, but I keep forgetting just how amazing an exceptionally good book is. Good thing The Hanging Tree is around to remind me.
You heard me right, this book is good, as in best in the series good. There was a lull where the series got too serious and emo. After that Aaronovitch took book 5 to kind of step away and get back on track. So, this book is that back on track that we all wanted.
Grant is back with his snarky mouth that would make Deadpool green with envy. Seriously, I think every character in the series has to remind him that his mouth keeps getting him in trouble. Grant is also back with pop and nerd culture references, the humor (I guess it should be humour for this Brit book), and applying science to magic to the eternal chagrin of Nightingale.
Also in this book is two or three good steps forward in the overall plot. And that's all you get, any more and I will surely spoil something.
So, if you are reading review, it probably means you've read some of the rest of the series. Pick up this book - right now - I strongly recommend it. Of special note, this series as a whole has become one that I just blanket recommend to everyone.
Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)
This is my favorite series on Audible because the author has dimensional characters, interesting plot lines, and vivid sensory and action descriptions. The narrator has a large range of character voices that are easily recognizable and doesn't just "read" the lines in front of him but gives thoughtful and meaningful inflections.
I am baffled why I don't see Holdbrook-Smith doing more narration work, but hope Ben Aaronovitch will be doing books 7,8, 9, 10 and more so quickly that Holdbrook-Smith will be too busy to make other authors' work shine too.
The production must have been outstanding on this audio book because I wasn't distracted at all by any flaws.
It is so wonderful to see Peter growing in his abilities and becoming a thorough professional. His dry observational humor is bitingly funny and spot-on. The travelog of London's architectural and historic sites is more than a slice of life, it makes one long for the city like an old friend. Bright, funny and no extraneous scenes, this book is a prime example of why if you're not a fan yet, you will be.
I'm in the process of redoing all my reviews.
Okay, I get it. I'm going to have to get the graphic novels to fill in the blanks between Foxglove Summer and The Hanging Tree. I know because I got one out of curiosity having outgrown comic books decades ago. *ducks incoming squawks of outrage* so I guess "graphic novels" are for grown-ups who can't read above comic book level? So with that caveat, I have to say The Hanging Tree was as excellent as its predecessors and Holdbrook-Smith was his usual brilliant narrating self. I applaud his increasing mastery of the American accent. An aside -- I thought I was going to have to resort to subterfuge to acquire the Audible edition. I'm happy to report we were able to do an end run around the freaking unnecessarily convoluted publishing oligarchs' to get it.
A fantasy geek through and through, I enjoy listening to books as I do house/yard work and during the drives to and from any destination.
I'm re-listening to the series before each comes out. And while the last one was great, this is the best yet.
This and the previous book could have been combined into one. The stories are becoming shallower with very little to no plot development. After waiting so long for the Hanging Tree I must express disappointment. Only redeeming feature is the brilliant narration
The reader is so fantastically talented that he brings this world alive and elevates the text.
I don't think I'd like this nearly as much in the visual form. Holdbrook-Smith's brilliant accents, characterization, and timing enhance everything that is good about this book and distract from its weaker points.
Avid book reader, returning to audio books for bedtime stories. Into horror, sci-fi and thrillers. Love multi narrator stories!
The voices are perfect & the characters are mesmerizing! I only wish quicker series writing.
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