Underground in a magical London

Amongst Our Weapons (2022) is the ninth novel in the paranormal police procedural Rivers of London. It begins as we’ve come to expect — a crime has been committed somewhere in London, there are some oddities about the crime scene, and the Special Assessments Unit of the Metropolitan Police (which is to say, the chaps who suss out magical criming) are called in to investigate.

It’s soon clear to Constable Peter Grant, his mentor Thomas Nightingale, and apprentice Danni Wickford, that there’s something larger going on, involving a weird quasi-religious cult two founded decades ago at Manchester University, a set of magical puzzle rings, and an avenging angel who seems to possess much more magical ability than can be accounted for. And since she’s wandering around England to find the former members of the cult and kill them, figuring out from where — or when — she’s drawing her magical skills is priority one.

“It’s hardly likely to be an actual biblical angel,” he said when I’d finished.
“Why not?”
“In a world chock-full of murderous blaspheming bastards,” he said, “why would an omnipotent and omniscient deity pick a couple of obscure Brits to do away with in such a public manner?”
“Maybe they did something particularly bad?”
“Have you looked at the news recently?” said Postmartin. “It would have to have been something truly magnificent to get that manner of personal attention.”

Ben Aaronovitch, Amongst Our Weapons

Along with the main crime plot, we’ve got Peter preparing for the birth of his twins by his partner, the river goddess Beverley Brook, and trying once again to capture rogue cop Lesley May.

I’ve been struggling with an intermittent reading slump, so I decided not to attempt to re-read any of the previous books before tackling this one, and it turned out to be fine. The important plot points are signposted and were readily recalled to mind when I encountered them. This series has a cast of thousands, but Aaronovitch does a fine job of subtly reminding readers who they are without getting bogged down in a bunch of exposition.

About the time this new book was being published in April, a collection of short stories (Tales From the Folly) set in the same universe was put on e-sale and I picked it up. I think it will tide me over nicely until the next full-length novel comes out.

Published by Julia

I learned to read before I started kindergarten, and I haven't stopped yet.

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