Meet DC Peter Grant. He will show you his city. But it’s not the capital that you see as you make your way from tube to bus, from Elephant to Castle. It’s a city that under its dark surface is packed full of crime. And of magic. A city that you never suspected…
Grant’s story starts when he tries to take a witness statement from a man who was already dead. And take him down a twisting, turning centuries’ old mystery that reckons to set London on fire…
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You know when you get it into your head that you won’t like a book? And every time you see it, or someone recommends it you just think, “Really?” That was me with this series. I had no idea what it was about and no interest to find out, frankly. I don’t know what finally made me look into it, but since loving (but becoming a little bored with) The Dresden Files, a series of paranormal books centered around a London based Wizard come detective seemed like a good idea. Now, I’m going to try my hardest not to have this post turn into a compare and contrast between those two series, but we’ll see how I go.
The plot was brilliant. When Peter and his friends finally figure out what’s going on, I was impressed. I actually couldn’t wait to see how it was all going to play out, so needless to say, it’s one of the best paranormal mystery plots I’ve read. Things get a little mad in the end with the overarching storyline, but it stays grounded through the “rivers” subplot. I’m all for folklore, and it’s the pagan sounding stuff that keeps me most interested, so while some readers might become bored of this subplot, I was into it. Plus, it made a nice change from werewolves and vampires.
This book is a bit of a love letter to London. It showcases brilliantly the old and the new, the layers of history interwoven now with the lives of hundreds of thousands of tourists, and gives a good picture of what modern London is like. The characters are pretty diverse and for the most part likeable, but they all have a secret or two hidden up their sleeve to keep things interesting. There wasn’t a lot of info dumping, despite a novice magician main character, and I appreciated the humour. All in all, I really enjoyed myself.