Ben Aaronovitch – the Peter Grant Series

Now this is a prime example of my tuit shortage issue. I read a few reviews of Rivers of London,[1] when it came out a few years back and mentally filed it as something I’d probably enjoy. Ben’s name was familiar to me – he wrote a couple of Doctor Who stories that I’m rather fond of – Remembrance of the Daleks and Battlefield. Rivers of London had an interesting premise – young police officer falls down a metaphorical rabbit hole and finds that contrary to all reasonable expectations, magic is real, as are ghosts and all manner of odd entities. And he finds himself becoming apprentice to the Metropolitan Police’s sole remaining wizard. And all this done with a fair dollop of humour. Now anyone who pays any attention to the kind of books I mutter about here would think that this is a Les sort of thing, and they’d be quite right.

But somehow, I didn’t quite get around to reading the book. It was followed by a sequel, Moon Over Soho, and still I didn’t find a tuit. And that was followed by Whispers Underground and Broken Homes, when I finally did something. I got the audiobook of Rivers of London from Audible, which was read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith in a delightfully deadpan manner. And I loved it so much, that I followed it by listening to the sequels, which developed the story nicely.

And when the latest book, Foxglove Summer, came out late last year, I got that from Audible too. And then I bought the lot for my Kindle…

Rather than go into detail about plots[2], I’ll just mention some of the background…

We first meet Peter Grant as a just-qualified Constable in London’s Metropolitan Police, about to be assigned to his first posting. Hoping for something at least moderately interesting, he’s initially assigned to the Case Progression Unit – an admin job. This changes quite rapidly after he encounters a ghost, closely followed by an actual wizard, or “Practitioner”, Chief Inspector Nightingale, a man with an interesting past who’s older than he appears to be. How much older remains to be seen. Peter finds himself assigned to Nightingale’s department, which up to that point, under the terms of an old agreement consisted of Nightingale and nobody else. But times are changing, and more magic is manifesting, and the Folly, as Nightingale’s operation has been known for a very long time, has to respond.

And much follows, involving the personifications of London’s rivers[3], malevolent entities and deeply nasty consequences for Peter’s close friend and colleague Lesley May[4], consequences which influence events as the series develops.

Which leads to one of the interesting things about the series – doing magic has consequences. Do too much of it and your brain will degenerate. Do any of it and any nearby computers or smartphones will have their processors turned to sand.

In the most recent book, Peter’s taken outside his comfort zone (London) and into rural Herefordshire, where he encounters some quite different threats.

Good stuff, highly recommended. If you’d like to get a flavour of the books, there’s a short story available on Ben’s blog:  Temporarily Significant: The Home Crowd Advantage.

You might also want to check out the official website for the series: The Folly

For anyone not AdBlocking, Amazon links follow:

[1] For reasons of something or other, this was titled Midnight Riot in the US
[2] Which would rely on my memory more than seems sensible
[3] Including all the covered over and generally lost ones like the Fleet….
[4] For reasons of publishing, her name was given the spelling Leslie in the first book

2 thoughts on “Ben Aaronovitch – the Peter Grant Series

  1. Pingback: Rivers of London – the comic book | Losing it

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