Tuesday, June 29, 2021

False Value, by Ben Aaronovitch

What a delight to be back in the world of Rivers of London, two years after I read the novella October Man and little more than that since the last novel, Lies Sleeping. This new one starts with the dread prospect that our hero Peter Grant has left the police force and gone into IT - but inevitably things aren't quite what they seem.

The plot involves the threat posed by 3D printing when baddies can make their own guns, and the threat of drones. This is all about IT getting out of hand and taking us into uncharted waters. On top of that, it looks like Peter's new bosses are developing some kind of artificial intelligence...

As usual, what follows is a fast-paced, engaging thriller full of quick wit and telling detail. Peter is surrounded by an ever-growing coterie, as more and more people are brought in on the secret that there is magic in the world. It's a considerable skill to make so many characters distinct and memorable, and despite it being two years since I was last in this story, it's like picking up with good friends - as if no time has passed at all. 

Many of the previous books have been part of a larger story which reached something of a conclusion in the last one, so False Value feels refreshingly new and standalone - for all there are threads to be picked up down the line. And how satisfying to finally learn what happened to Nightingale and the other British wizards during the war. Yes, that's the very word right there. The book is exciting, smart and fun, perfectly executed to leave the reader sated.

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