Today marks the ten-year anniversary of Ben Aaronovitch‘s RIVERS OF LONDON! Published by Gollancz in the UK, it is the first novel in the internationally best-selling and critically-acclaimed Peter Grant series, we wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate Ben and cheer this milestone.

In case you haven’t yet read the series, here’s the synopsis for the novel…

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 voluble, 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.

The novel (and series) has been published widely in other territories and in translation since 2010. Here is a selection of the various covers…

And finally, here are just a few of the great reviews the novel has received since it was published…

‘It is smart, funny and filled with oddness.’ — Terry Brooks

‘It turns out that the series hits so many of my favorite things that I read the extant three novels… in three days, one a day. It was like I fell into the world and couldn’t (and didn’t want to) climb out… I love this series because it works for me on every level.’ — Kate Elliott

‘… fresh and original and a wonderful read. I loved it.’ — Charlaine Harris

‘1. It’s witty. 2. It’s not cliché. 3. It’s smart. 4. It’s set in London, and written by someone who obviously knows London. 5. The main character has a great voice. 6. The language is great…  I don’t think I’ve ever read anything else published in the US that has as much legitimate British slang in it. It was lovely… For the rest of you who realize that one of the main joys of reading (if not life itself) is learning and broadening your experience of the world… well… this book is for you. Congrats. You win.’ — Patrick Rothfuss

‘A hilarious, keenly imagined caper.’ — Diana Gabaldon

‘Filled with detail and imagination, the quality of this achievement stands out…’ — Peter F. Hamilton

‘In this fast-paced paranormal police procedural, Aaronovitch introduces Peter Grant, a rookie cop who can see ghosts. This unusual talent saves him from a potential life of office work when Chief Insp. Thomas Nightingale sends him for wizard training. Britain’s police force has long known of the supernatural, and Grant is to assist Nightingale in solving many of London’s magical problems—most notably, the mysterious string of violent attacks that tend to end with the perpetrator’s face falling off. As the brutal epidemic spreads, Grant must race to finish his magic lessons and solve an ages-long dispute between the rivers of Britain. Though the novel sometimes feels just a little too jam-packed with plot points and adventures, it’s witty, fun, and full of vivid characters, and the plot twists will keep even seasoned mystery fans guessing.’ — Publishers Weekly

‘… thoroughly entertaining… An engaging (if occasionally violent) 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.’ — SFX

‘… sweet relief for readers allergic to cliché.’ — Locus

RIVERS OF LONDON is a classic British police procedural blended with a unique twist of urban fantasy in so far as it replaces the expected testosterone with intelligence and the angst with wit… Deep down, amidst the murder and the mayhem, the anarchy and the supernatural, Aaronovitch has written a love letter to the wonder of London, reminding us of the magic that lives there, all the while warning us to keep an eye out for its nasty side.’ — Fantasy Faction

‘Highly recommended… Very nicely done. The books are police procedurals set in a London where magical creatures exist and are known to the police but hidden from the public, with a wisecracking, apprentice magician police officer as the hero. But, of course, the trick in all these things is in the execution, and I found these to have been executed very well… I gave it a try, and I’m glad I did.’ — Washington Post

‘The quality of the prose is incredible and there is a very light, dry humour running throughout with makes the novel a joy to read, it’s delightfully clever and leaves the reader in a “feel good” mood, even in the darker moments of the story. The characters are also just spot on, from the enigmatic Nightingale to the imprudent Beverley everyone lives and breathes within the pages.’ — SF Book Reviews

‘… we can’t fault the pace, ingenuity and creativity of RIVERS OF LONDON.‘ — Londonist

‘… an impressive book… If you have not read MIDNIGHT RIOT, I recommend you do. Great characters, pacing and mystery. Even if you were to take the fantasy out of the book it would make for a great read. Highly recommended.’ — Speculative Book Review

‘From the very first page, Aaronovitch captures your imagination… This is one of the few books I have ever read that gripped me in the first two pages and would not let me go… MIDNIGHT RIOT is a superb paranormal fantasy that will charm both genre fans and mystery readers alike… He will be the next great paranormal urban fantasist, standing alongside such greats as Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn or Harry Connolly and superb British mystery writers like Elizabeth George or Caroline Graham.’ — Grasping for the Wind

‘[Aaronovitch] can really write, with a light touch to his humour and characters that really stand out. This novel is a pure delight and I can’t wait for the next in the series.’ — Morning Star

‘What makes this tale so engaging is that he’s taken a London that many are familiar with, added a secretive branch of the London Met and backed it up with a cracking paced, action packed story arc with some magic, some ghosts and of course a villain of huge proportions. Back that up with a fairly unique voice as well as some great characters that you can’t help but care about and its going to be interesting to see what arrives from Ben’s imagination… All in a great start to a very promising series and one that will be popular with fans of Mike Carey’s Felix Castor alongside Suzanne McLeod’s Spellcracker series which makes this a British Institution in the making.’ — Falcata Times

‘This fast-paced debut has elements of urban fantasy overlaid on the more pedestrian police procedural. Peter is a likable protagonist and a somewhat unreliable narrator, and his slow, magical progress is a refreshing change from the usual mastery seen in books like this. It’s a tremendously fun read, in part due to its undeniably British flavor and also thanks to the unique narrative voice.’ — RT Book Reviews


This month marks quite the amazing milestone: Ian McDonald‘s NECROVILLE was first published 25 years ago! The novel was published in 1994 by Gollancz (UK), and by Spectra (US) as TERMINAL CAFÉ. Both of the first covers are above. Here’s the synopsis…

In the Los Angeles ghetto of Necroville, the yearly celebration of the Night of the Dead – where the dead are resurrected through the miracle of nanotechnology and live their second lives as non-citizens – becomes a journey of discovery and revelation for five individuals on the run from their pasts.

With his customary flair for making the bizarre both credible and fascinating, McDonald tosses aside the line of demarcation between living and dead in a story that confronts the central quandary of human existence: the essence of non-being.

The novel is still available in the UK, published by Gollancz.

The BSFA Award-nominated novel was met with some great reviews when it was first published. Unfortunately, because the internet wasn’t a thing, yet, it makes it a little difficult to find good pull-quotes. We do have a few, though…

‘McDonald’s lush prose paints a vivid and credible Armageddon. World-building SF that’s punk, funky, and frightening: a fantastic acid trip to the end of the world.’ — Kirkus

‘McDonald, who won the Philip K. Dick Award for KING OF THE MORNING QUEEN OF THE DAY, reveals the workings of his bizarre society through the exploits of five friends as they search for the meaning of life in the Necroville at Los Angeles on the Night of the Dead. Sorting through five points of view requires some patience, but it is well rewarded. In the best science fiction tradition, McDonald provokes reexamination of current societal standards through the prism of another time and place.’ — Publishers Weekly

‘McDonald revels in the creation of brilliantly described near-futures and lushly exotic settings, and has more ideas in a book than most writers dream up in a lifetime. Here death is no more: the dead are reborn thanks to nanotechnology in Jesus-tanks and decanted into “techtoplastic” bodies. Drug-designer Santiago Columbar invites his friends to join him in the Terminal café in the suburb of LA known as Necroville, and in the resulting free-wheeling, mind-spinning novel we follow the friends as they travel to meet him, encountering genetically engineered dinosaurs, undead prostitutes, werewolves and an invasion of Earth by resurrected space workers. In Necroville, decay sits next to fabulous invention, terrible privation next to limitless possibility. The book…offers a graphic dystopian vision.’Guardian

For those who prefer their books delivered as audiobooks, the novel is also available via Audible, narrated by Christopher Ragland.

The novel has also been published in translation in a number of territories, including Germany where it is published by Heyne.

KIRINYA turns 20!

This week marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of Ian McDonald‘s novel KIRINYA, which was described when released as ‘a huge and ambitious novel, the work of a supremely talented writer approaching the top of his game.’ (SFX) The second book in the author’s Chaga series, it was first published by Gollancz in the UK in 1998. Here’s the synopsis…

The end of the universe happened at around ten o’clock at night on 22 December 2032. It’s just that humanity hasn’t realized it yet. And the Chaga, the strange flora deposited from the stars, is still busy terraforming the tropics into someone else’s terra. Gaby McAslan was once a hungry news reporter who compromised her relationship with UNECTA researcher Dr. Shepard for the sake of her story…but Gaby is no longer a journalist and she doesn’t want to be a full-time mother, even though her child Serena is her last link with Shepard. Gaby’s fire has gone out; she’s gone soft. But the massive political and military upheavals that are rocking the world are about to drag her back into the action.

The release of KIRINYA inspired The Times to describe McDonald as an outstanding’ writer with such marvellous talent, so vivid an imagination’ whose prose sings and zings’.

KIRINYA, as well as the other two books in the Chaga series are available as an eBook via the JABberwocky eBook Program, and also via Audible. The first two books have been published in Germany by Heyne.

Ian’s latest series is the critically-acclaimed Luna, published by Gollancz in the UK and Tor Books in the US, as well as in a growing number of translated editions (more details on his author page).