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In this, the first published novel by Ben Aaronovitch, we meet Peter Grant, Police Constable of the London Metropolitan Police: easily distracted by his own admission and on track to making a valuable contribution in the Case Progression Unit (CPU). Peter introduces us to PC Leslie May, good friend of aforementioned Grant, future bed partner he hopes, and proper copper on track for the murder team and then tells us of his first spiritual encounter and of coming to the attention of the last classically trained practicing wizard in Britain, Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale. In this urban fantasy Russell Square is the home of British wizardry with Isaac Newton its founding father.

From here things get really interesting for Peter as he becomes the first apprentice wizard in 50 years, meets the goddesses of the Rivers of London and tries to solve a series of vicious crimes. But how do you catch the spirit of riot and rebellion?

This is a difficult book to categorise (a good thing in my opinion) it is urban fantasy; it is police procedural – you will learn more than you knew you didn’t know about the workings of the Met; it is a cleverly thought out and revealed crime fiction; it is humorous and it is an ode to London. Aaronovitch combines all these aspects into a compelling and enjoyable story with a diverse set of well-crafted characters.

Aaronovitch’s passion and affection for London is clear on every page and this only added to my enjoyment.

This is a great read and I look forward to the rest of the series.

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