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Rivers of London: 1 [Paperback]

Ben Aaronovitch
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (583 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 7.27 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

25 Aug 2011 Rivers of London 1 (Book 1)
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 (and 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 voluable, 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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (25 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575097582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575097582
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (583 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world's cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin's New Adventures until they pulped all his books.

Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake's 7 Audio dramas.

Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller. Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).

Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.

Product Description

Review

Witty, well plotted, vividly written and addictively readable. (Lisa Tuttle THE TIMES)

An engaging mix of magic and police procedural, this is a great kick off to a very promising series as well as the most satisfying fantasy thriller to hit bookshelves in quite some time. Witty, imaginative and gripping. (Saxon Bullock SFX)

Rivers of London is highly recommended for anyone looking for some urban fantasy fun with a real life spin, the sights and smells of London just ooze out from between the pages. This book should be essential reading for anyone who has ever seen anything inexplicable or strange on the streets of London - which would be just about everybody who's ever been there, really. (LOVEVAMPIRES.COM)

Anyone who has enjoyed Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift novels, Mike Carey's Felix Castor series - anyone in those shoes will adore Rivers of London. Assured, witty and great fun to read. (Amanda Rutter FLOOR TO CEILING BOOKS)

Rivers of London comfortably fills out its engaging premise. (Sophia McDougall)

Ben Aaronovitch has put together an enjoyable and exciting story that is easy to read. (BOOK MONKEYS)

This is a terrific urban fantasy police procedural in which the two cops make the unbelievable believable; especially the inexperienced Grant. The fast-paced yet meandering story line is loaded with action from the onset as the mentor and mentee work a challenging investigation in which an ancient has arisen to stir the troubled waters. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Ben Aaronovitch's view of London in this witty well written riot. (ALTERNATIVE-WORLDS)

Aaronovitch gives us a glimpse of a fascinating and fantastical underbelly to the capital that feels entirely believable. Those familiar with the city will enjoy picturing the chaotic events unfold, while those less familiar will receive an accurate and entertaining geography lesson. Magical, mysterious and mesmerising, Rivers of London will have you spellbound. (Alice Wybrew TOTAL SCI FI)

This is a fun book, with enough wry humour without descending into slapstick. Recommended. (British Fantasy Society) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

CSI London, Urban Fantasy-style! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly excellent 6 May 2012
Format:Paperback
I was given this for Christmas, and only just got around to reading it 5 months later. The back sleeve blurb put me off and I had no idea how good this was going to be. I was hooked by the end of the second page.
It reminds me of the very best Doctor Who episodes of the current writing team. Totally fantastic and improbable and even ridiculous in places, and yet mesmerising in it's telling. I think that the fantasy works so well because of the bits in between that are so believably placed in reality. In fact, the humdrum and very humourous descriptions of day to day police work are actually what make the book so entertaining in the end. (I haven't been so entertained and delighted by a book since I reread The Hobbit).
I will most definitely be buying the next book in the series.
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103 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Combine science and magic? Sure, why not? 15 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover
It is always such a pleasure for me to find an author who manages to write a book that piques my interest and holds my attention. Both are true here because Ben Aaronovitch created something new for me. Normally when I read an urban fantasy book the plot requires that all those involved in that world are aware of the magic components active all around them. In this book that is not the case. Probationary PC Peter Grant had been left to guard a crime scene when he met a ghost. Not just any ghost either, no, this one was a witness to the crime. In very short order PC Grant finds himself assigned to a unit of the Metropolitan Police which up until he joined it had only one other member, a wizard. Peter is now on his way to becoming an apprentice wizard, learning magic and trying to help solve the crimes of completely unexplained violence which are breaking out all over London. Peter's best answer is to use his interest in scientific knowledge and experimentation in conjunction with the magic to explain some of the things that are happening.

I really enjoyed this book for its humor and the unusual combination of scientific investigation paired with utilizing magic. It put a different spin on the plot for me by having the entire London scene be so solidly in the present time, with the citizens of that great city completely unaware of the magic or the horrors within their city. I also enjoyed the great amount of research this author has obviously done regarding the many rivers around London. And to have each of them portrayed as an individual character was quite a successful undertaking. I also want to compliment those responsible for the artwork map on the cover of this book. No matter how many times I look at it I keep finding names of areas or a street that I recognize.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging start to a new urban fantasy series 27 Jun 2011
By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Ben Aaronovitch is a successful screenwriter who has worked mainly in the fantasy and science fiction genres. 'Rivers of London' is the first novel in the series of the same name. It's probably best described as urban fantasy.

The city in question is London, and the fantasy element arises in the intersection of the modern, gritty London we all know and another, more shadowy city in which magic is an alternative form of knowledge and the contemporary streets overlie deep strata of history, legend and myth and hidden circuits of power. Aaronovitch brings these threads together in the story of a young mixed-race constable in the Metropolitan Police who must somehow operate in both worlds to solve mysteries and crimes with a supernatural element.

Aaronovitch's style will be immediately familiar to anyone who has followed British fantasy writing over the last decade. More sophisticated in the writing than J. K. Rowling, 'Rivers of London' still has a rather young-adult feel when compared to the best writers who have taken London as a rich hunting ground - I'm thinking here of Iain Sinclair and Peter Ackroyd in particular. Perhaps more pertinently, I also found it less interesting than the work of China Miéville and Neil Gaiman.

As one might expect from a novelist with Aaronovitch's professional pedigree, there are few of the typical first-novel problems. The book is carefully plotted and maintains interest throughout. Given the nature of the story, which moves fluidly between the late eighteenth century and the present day, there is a lot of research-based detail. This is woven into the texture of the narrative in a reasonably unobtrusive manner, but it's fair to say that it's Aaronovitch's fellow Londoners who are most likely to appreciate it.
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81 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
For once an urban fantasy that actually is an urban fantasy, with not a poxy Doc Martened elf in sight, thank god: part very well researched police procedural, part Sorcerer's Apprentice - and this is a real apprenticeship, where results come from sheer slog and perseverance, not from waving a magic wand - part gruesome murder hunt, part otherworldly politicking, and part - and this is my favourite part by far - a carefully detailed map of Central London, written by one who knows and loves the place as it should be loved, all of it narrated by likeable Everyman Peter Grant, an adequate enough probationary constable who's just a bit too curious for his own good (while his colleagues are breaking up a riot in Trafalgar Square, he stops to check what's written on the lions' bums). Peter crosses the line between one world and another and, in the process, is saved from a future of data entry in the Case Progression Unit, one cold morning in Covent Garden, when he's left guarding a crime scene and a witness steps forward from St Paul's Church - a witness who has been dead for considerably longer than the body under investigation.

Rivers of London isn't perfect - there are a lot of open questions left hanging, and some of the plot resolutions don't entirely make sense - but it is bloody good, and one of the best things I've read in many years. Good enough that I went straight out and bought the sequel. In hardback.

Ignore Diana Gabaldon's stupid cover blurb, by the way. I'll do her the credit of believing she was misquoted.

Don't expect to learn too much about the actual lost rivers of London, though. That's a fascinating topic in itself, but one for another book entirely.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A good copper at last!
This series is so good read the all
Fantasy , but is it ?
Modern Sherlock with magic
Published 10 hours ago by wheddo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Swimmingly good
Published 10 hours ago by Monica
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read
A good read. I don't normally read this category of books, but I still enjoyed it. Not enough to carry on with the rest of the series, but definitely had a good time while reading... Read more
Published 14 hours ago by iCat
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Most unusual book, if its true, be very afraid. Only joking!!
Published 18 hours ago by Brenda C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read
Published 2 days ago by MR C J M Hannick
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising
I loved this book. There were sections of it that had me creased up with laughter. The story was gripping with a magic element and eerie ghosts. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Amanda Richell
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous series
What a great premise for a series and SUCH good writing - am downloading others as I write!
Published 3 days ago by K Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars An alternative view of London
"Rivers of London" is not my usual type of reading. I am strictly a SiFi buff but I do branch out into fantasy from time-to-time. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Mr. R. F. Harvey
4.0 out of 5 stars Something a bit different
Really enjoyed this book. I had it finished in a couple of days. This story is like nothing I have ever read before and I loved the style in which Aaronovitch wrote it. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Katie
5.0 out of 5 stars different
Interesting idea for a crime s/f book. Will read next book to see if the characters personalities are broadened out
Published 8 days ago by Chris94
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