Angela and Vince are a content and loving couple living in present-day London. When Vince goes missing, Angela sets out in search of him, only to find herself in the dark underbelly of the city. As it transpires that Vince works for crime lord Frederick Meloy, Angela finds herself facing threats from beings of myth and legends; Meloy isn’t just a normal gangster, he collects arcane ‘things’, relics from an age when such creatures roamed our planet freely.
This is the first book in Tim Lebbon’s Relics trilogy, and it’s a great start that introduces characters and setting, while providing a cracking plot. Although we’re offered various points of view, it is Angela who is the book’s primary protagonist; we enter this strange world with her, sharing her pre-conceptions, prejudices and concern for her lover. It’s that relationship that drives the book, Angela proving to have depth, while being resourceful and strong, making her a solid female lead, a normal person in extraordinary circumstances, finding her world turned upside down, who will do whatever is necessary to get to Vince.
Lebbon incorporates the weird into our own world with ease, having it lurk in the shadows just out of sight, or around one corner more than we’d usually walk; that person catching our eye, or another that we choose to ignore, either could be one of the mythical Kin. He makes these wondrous creatures believable, giving them personalities, motivations and flaws along with their strange powers. They’re people in their own right – who they are, not what they are – as much as our protagonists, and Lebbon’s skill with their creation is such that they never fall into cliché; Meloy, for instance, is portrayed brilliantly when he could have descended into the usual tropes of London gangster.
Lebbon has created a fascinating world and characters that the reader easily falls into and cares about, making Relics an entertaining and gripping read. Violent and visceral, it’s the dark and brutal side of the urban fantasy genre, a plot that is never dull, with a final third that will keep the reader’s attention all the way to the final page. With an ending that promises more to come, it leaves readers hungry for the next instalment in what is sure to be an excellent trilogy.
RELICS / AUTHOR: TIM LEBBON / PUBLISHER: TITAN / RELEASE DATE: 21ST MARCH