“Good afternoon. My name’s Peter Grant, I’m from the police and this is my colleague Beverley Brook, who’s a river in south London.”
Rivers of London, p146
In the world of libraries April means City Read, London’s biggest book club, and this year’s book is the aptly named ‘Rivers of London.’ Part police procedural, part high fantasy complete with wizards, ghosts and vampires, Rivers of London is above all grounded in its setting – the grand, gritty, sprawling mass of London.
On Wednesday 22nd, author Ben Aaronovitch is visiting Hammersmith library as part of his heroic tour of 33 London boroughs. You can read more about this epic feat in his highly entertaining blog. Hammersmith and Fulham libraries are hosting a range of other events – including a quiz night and Rivers of London reading groups – throughout April.
It’s not too late to take part in the biggest book group in London: you can pick up a copy of the book at your local library (we will be giving away free copies during Ben’s visit to Hammersmith Library) and if you’ve missed your local reading group, you can tell us what you think in the comments below.
Peter Grant – newly minted police constable and apprentice wizard – is the charming hero of Rivers of London, and we meet him on the night he encounters his first ghost, at the scene of a particularly grisly murder:
“If you’ve witnessed something,” I said, “perhaps you’d better come and give a statement.”
“That would be a bit of a problem,” said Nicholas, “Seeing as I’m dead.”
I thought I hadn’t heard him correctly. “If you’re worried about your safety…”
“I ain’t worried about anything anymore, squire,” said Nicholas. “On account of being dead these last hundred and twenty years.”
“If you’re dead,” I said before I could stop myself, “how come we’re talking?”
Rivers of London, p6
I canvassed the library staff at Hammersmith and Fulham – many of whom read and loved Rivers of London – for their quick reviews and thoughts.
Zedh, at Askew Road library wrote:
Rivers of London for me was like marmite….
I loved it. A mix of Harry Potter and Rick Riordan for adults. I love reading fiction with interesting facts about the past.
Mike, Director of Libraries, wrote:
Harry Potter grows up and joins The Bill. Subterranean excitement, with murder and supernatural goings on along London’s lost rivers… whilst Rivers of London isn’t something I’d have chosen for myself I was very glad I read it and can also see exactly why it works so well as a Cityread title
Maarya, Stock team, said:
I enjoyed Rivers of London for its clever juxtaposition of the mundane and the supernatural, held together by Peter’s very funny, very dry narration.
Community Development manager Chris, said:
It’s the best fiction book I have read in a long time. Ben’s love of the West End, where a lot of the book is set, and of London generally underpins the book and sets the scene, but the main joy of the story is the fascinating characters he has created and who develop as the books progress through a series of supernatural mysteries. When I first heard of the books I was doubtful I would enjoy them (I never liked Harry Potter for instance) but once you try them you are hooked!
We’d love to hear your reviews of Rivers of London – tell us what you thought in the comments below!
You can find out more about CityRead London, including what’s going on across London, here.