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Publisher's Summary

The dark is rising....

Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect, Rob Toshack, is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal.

Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law - until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again.

As the group starts to see London’s sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment, and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game - and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it.

Paul Cornell has written some of Doctor Who's best-loved episodes for the BBC. He has also written on a number of comic book series for Marvel and DC, including X-Men and Batman and Robin. He has been Hugo Award nominated for his work in TV, comics, and prose, and won the BSFA award for his short fiction. London Falling is his first urban fantasy novel.

©2013 Paul Cornell (P)2014 Audible Studios

Critic Reviews

"He's gone and written a novel too! I suspect it will be just as good as everything else he's written, and that's not fair at all." (George R R Martin)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    166
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    77
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Team Quill

I was a little hesitant to pick up one more urban noir fantasy set in London having already read Peter Grant, Alex Verus, Felix Castor, and Courts of Feyre - all UNF series set in or around London. However, London is 2000 years old and packed with history so I finally decided the city could probably support one more. Good decision, me! After listening to London Falling, I decided that London actually could support several more UNF series if there are more writers like Paul Cornell.

The Publisher's Summary is quite sufficient to give you a flavor of this tale and get you started, however, I will note an explanation of one thing that confused me at the outset in case it might help someone else. The story begins with two detectives, Costain and Sefton, undercover attempting to bust a mob boss, Rob Toshack. DI James Quill (Costain's and Sefton's boss) has a brief meeting with Costain in a men's room to give him instructions. The very beginning of the book was a bit confusing to me because I didn't quite understand who were the bad guys, who were the police, and how they were interacting. Part of this is because Damian Lynch uses a very authentic accent for the seedier types of London, which nicely sets the tone of the book, but makes for a challenge for American ears. You have to get the rhythm of that accent before you can really understand what is being said and who is saying it. I would encourage you to stay with it, because once you get clear (it only takes about 15 minutes), this gritty, history-soaked tale really takes off.

There are several things in this series that make it unique and bear special mention:

1. I like urban noir fantasy, especially when the dark stories are offset a bit with humor and good characters. London Falling has both - no LOL, but lots of wry, ironic moments and believable, fleshed out characters.

2. Unlike most UNF, there is no one central wizard, mage, or necromancer. If fact, in the beginning, there are no magic-wielders on the protagonist side at all. Each of the four central protagonists has a backstory that draws him/her into the mystery and each has certain talents that are enhanced and informed by one moment that the four share while trying to solve the case. From that point, although Quill is "in charge", the four members of the team are equal and essential to the resolution of the mystery. So, this is a "team" series rather than another "lone wolf" escapade.

3. London Falling is very dark and truly gritty. Unlike several authors I have read recently, Cornell seems to understand that gritty and vulgar are not synonyms. There isn't much coarse language or lewdness in London Falling, but there is a deep creepiness that makes London Falling read more like some horror mysteries than like other UNF novels.

I have continued this series with the next book, The Severed Streets, and there were lots more surprises and another story utilizing the loooooong, crazy history of London. And, once you adjust your ears to Damian Lynch, I think you'll enjoy this narrator, too.

56 of 66 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Nothing Special

So I guess there are couple of these series out now, with London Police dealing with the supernatural. Among this group London Falling had little to separate it from the crowd. None of the characters are especially likeable, and I found several just plain annoying and/or condescending. Nothing about the plot was particularly clever and, as far as magic systems and the supernatural goes, this was pretty poorly developed. There's some potential for this to improve in future books in the series, but I'm not sure I want to spend another credit on any more books in this series to find out.

I was also not a fan of Damian Lynch's narration. His voice was fine, and while the range between characters wasn't great, it was adequate. However, he continually has these long pauses between phrases and sentences. It's incredibly annoying to the point where I wanted to shout at him, "Get on with it!" It would go something like this: brief phrase, pause... end of phrase. Long pause... (like he's finding his spot in the text), Next sentence. Another pause, and so on. This book would probably be several hours shorter if that stuff was edited out. There were also several other parts where the narrator repeats himself because he lost his place so editing overall was pretty shoddy.

As for this London supernatural police sub-genre, I much preferred Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best books I've heard!

What did you love best about London Falling?

The character development of our four "heroes" was just wonderful. I felt like I really understood what made them tick, even in the bizarre supernatural world that they discovered. In the middle of incredible and incomprehensible events, I cared and cheered for these people.

What did you like best about this story?

Somehow this impossible world became plausible. I think it's very, very difficult for an author to maintain any credibility while writing about the supernatural - but this book does it. The plot held water in a way that built suspense and was immensely satisfying at the end.

What about Damian Lynch’s performance did you like?

He has a sort of halting style that was a little distracting at first, but quickly it became just right for the story because it gave me a bit of time to think between phrases. This can be a tough story to follow but the narrator helped make it work. Plus, of course, his accent is brilliant!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Its British-ness was wonderful to hear! I am one of the countless American anglo-philes out there; this book was written for Brits alone so I had to work to understand some of the language that was used. A labor of love!

Any additional comments?

Can't WAIT to listen to the sequel.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Took a while to get going but was worth the wait.

Very reminiscent of the River books written by Ben Aaronovich and it would be interesting if the two authors collaborated on one together. The narration was good but it was sometimes difficult to catch who was speaking as the variation between characters was not very pronounced. Still a great listen and I'll be downloading the next book in the series shortly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

creative urban fantasy

I love this series, interesting take on magic, good characters and surprising twists. The narrator makes the characters distinct and compelling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story, poor performance

Like many other people I too was confused by the beginning. I found it difficult to follow. Once we got past the first 20 minutes or so the story unfolded a bit and I understood better what was going on. The story was interesting, would probably have been a good read. I was put off by the performance of the guy narrating. There were many long pauses between sentences, a few places where he re-read the sentences like he forgot what he was reading. He didn't have good range as far as voices so it was often hard to tell what character he was reading. I do have the volume fairly loud as I listen while I'm doing housework so I need to be able to hear it from across the room and there were a couple of places where I could even hear background noise (like a tv or something in the background) I don't know if the pauses and the background noise were the readers fault or something that happened when the recording was edited? Either way it was annoying and really made it hard to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting and well narrated

A great example of the hidden London genre with an excellent juxtaposition of solid police mythology with the supernatural world. The narration is immersive with Damian Lynch presenting a whole cast of voices, all with authentic but very understandable local accents.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • Everett, WA, United States
  • 02-06-15

English horror mystery

This is a very good book to listen to however I will say due to the english accent you might find yourself listening to it more than once. It has a Stephen King feel to it so it does hurry to develop the story. But once your into this book I believe you will really love this story.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Coopers meets the occult; interesting clash

Couldn't stop listening. As a fan of the Dresden Files and Iron Druid and the like this was different in a good way, being more serious and a tad darker.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

a darker British cop version of the dresden files

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

i have wanted to read this since it was released in the uk. Now i have and love it's dark yet funny tone .

Who was your favorite character and why?

the cat i don't really have a reason

Any additional comments?

where is the second book

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Beccameriel
  • 07-07-15

Starts slow and a bit confusing but stick with it!

I wasn't sure at first. The first chapter dumps you straight in the middle of an undercover police operation which is about to get chaotic and there is no exposition to help you understand what is going on. But then the magical stuff starts to happen and it turns out the protagonists have no idea what is going on either. I read a review that said if Rivers of London is The Bill, then London Falling is The Sweeney; darker and more violent. Like Ben Aaronovitch's London, it's authentically multi-cultural and all kinds of magic grows from the city's lengthy history and complex mythology. I LIVE for this stuff :)

There's one amazing reveal that is brilliantly handled. Really did not see it coming and it's perfect - I genuinely gasped out loud when I realized.

It's the start of a series and whilst the main storyline is resolved there is lots of setup for the next book(s). From initially thinking it wasn't for me (NB Wolves of London which I really couldn't get on with) I ended up binge listening and getting the sequel straight away to binge listen to that too.

Damian Lynch does a great job; well pace, all the characters clearly differentiated and believable.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ieva
  • 06-02-14

Too much of everything..

I can only agree to some of other reviews - the story line sounds too familiar and it is quite hard to get in to the story at first. If you are a fan of Ben Aaronovitch and expect something like Rivers of London there might be a disappointment. For my taste there is too much of everything - witch sanctifying children according the football scores, talking cats and time travel, even a hint of free masonry... If with Aaronovitch`s books one actually starts to believe the story and it positively drags you in, then with this story you just do not believe. I had to force to listen until the end, just out of curiosity how it shall end.
The performance though is very impressive.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 05-04-14

A cracking book

If you liked Rivers of London, London Revenant or the Jack Nightingale books you will like this one, its a new slant on the urban supernatural thriller with elements of a police Procedural and who done it, with realistic flawed characters.
Damian Lynch gives a really good performance.

I will certainly be looking forward to the next book in this series "the Severed Streets"

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • P. C. Smith
  • 03-17-17

SPELLBINDING

I absolutely loved this book. A bit gruesome in parts but riveting story, beautifully read.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jane
  • 12-03-16

LOVED IT💜

Wasn't sure at first, but then suddenly it just clicks. Love the way it sets up for the series to follow, am looking forward to it

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Martin
  • 05-12-14

Good listen.

Was a good listen and I liked the story,. I have listened to Rivers of London and a couple that came after and this seemed very similar - perhaps its a Genre thing. It is a good and well written story and is enjoyable, but it was so close to Rivers of London themes for me I couldn't quite get into it as much as I would have liked.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kitty
  • 07-27-14

I can't wait for book 2

Any additional comments?

I found this quite difficult to get into at first but I'm glad I stuck with it. The tension is on from the first chapter and I listened to the whole thing over a weekend. The book is both a satisfying crime thiller and a thouroughly enjoyable fantasy adventure.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Phil
  • 12-30-16

Reasonablish plot, awful writing style

The plot's ok, if a bit daft in places. That kept me going until the end of the book. The main problem is the one dimensional characters and the terrible clunky writing style. This is made worse by the narrator who leaves long pause between sentances. I won't be reading any more of the series.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Matt Sapsford
  • 05-18-14

Good story but seemed very familiar....

Not sure if it's the style of Dr Who writers but this very much in the same vein as Ben Aaronovitch albeit in the third person as opposed to first; rozzers with particular skills. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh but my overall opinion is "good story but seemed very familiar". If it wasn't for this it would be a five star story. The performance is let down, not by Damian Lynch, who did very well, but the editing which produced lots of repeats.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr P Carty
  • 02-13-17

A good yarn

Loved it from start to finish very good story well told enjoyable to listen tom

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tara
  • 02-12-15

Loved it!

It took a while to understand the roles of the team as I was only half paying attention at the start and the names were so confusing... Costan, Sefton, toshack, quill... I couldn't work out who was the main character... Soon I realised there wasn't one, but four!

I loved the depth that added to the story. However sometimes it was easy to get lost as to what character he was talking about as the narrator sometimes as it changes quickly between the four characters.

Overall I loved it though!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bernadette Aitken
  • 07-20-18

Evil in London

I wasn’t sure what to make of this story when it began, it took a while to get into the book, but I liked it when I did. I’ve not long gotten into urban fantasy and I like the London police theme.
I enjoyed the way the story swapped from character to character as it unfolded. You found out about the back story of each character when a significant event occurred. Viewing events from the eyes of everyone’s who experienced it was unique.
The story had a satisfying ending and also left an opening for the next story in the series.
The reader had a pleasant voice and made good use of his voice. I would have liked him to follow the punctuation closely and taken a break when a full stop appeared. Sometimes it took a few seconds to recognise a change of sentence or paragraph.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kerry
  • 06-19-18

Great story, but requires concentration

It took me a while to get used to the story swapping across the main characters. There needs to be a distinct pause when the book switches characters, or a change to accent, or something to signify a change of character perspective. Once I got used to this I loved the story line!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Patricia Collins
  • 06-10-18

Engrossing

Slow for the first few chapters. I wasn't sure if it was my kind of book for a while. Then everything changed and I was hooked. "London Falling" reminded me of "The Rivers of London", which I loved, but it is much grittier. The characters were realistic and the storyline was brilliant. I can hardly wait for Book 2.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Boat
  • 12-06-17

Fantastic

Was referred this series by Rivers of London fans , it’s as good if not better...

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-30-17

Don't bother

Really enjoyed the Aaronovitch series, so was looking for something to fill the hole, something in the same genre. London Falling was confusing, long winded and quite boring. Not worth the money.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • DarkFish
  • 03-09-17

a well crafted police drama with supernatural ties

This is the first book in a series about a small unit of London metropolitan police who become unwillingly involved in a supernatural side of London. This book is nothing like the Rivers of London series. It is dark and gritty, and although there is magic, it is not under their control and they have no guide or teacher to aid them in understanding. I found the first chapter a little difficult to follow as an audio book - a combination of the London slang and the accents, but my ear attuned and then I found it easier. I'm glad that I persisted, because by the end of the book I didn't want to get out of the car and stop listening. A well crafted police drama with a very creepy villain and a nice touch of the supernatural.